Monday, April 19, 2010

The Other Shoe Drops

When Pat Bond told her lover Henry Willenborg, a Franciscan priest, that she was pregnant, he urged her to have an abortion.

Bond, who was 28, had a miscarriage and then became pregnant again.
This time Willenborg’s superiors urged her to give up the child for adoption.
Bond, from Missouri, kept the child but agreed to a vow of silence.

In a signed contract with the Catholic Church, she undertook to keep the priest’s identity secret in exchange for financial support for her son, Nathan.

In America, Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy and Austria,women made pregnant by priests have signed such pledges in exchange for hush money from the church.
Pope Benedict XVI refused to comment on the scandals on his flight to Malta for a weekend visit yesterday, saying only that the church had been “wounded by our sins”. But he faces a new battle over the children of priests. Many former lovers and their offspring are preparing to mount lawsuits.

Bond was 25 when she started a five-year relationship with Willenborg in 1983, after going to him for marriage counselling. He kissed her passionately as she left his parlour, then she left her husband.

After Bond became pregnant by him for the second time in 1986, Willenborg’s order, the Order of Friars Minor, offered her $50,000 and a confidentiality contract. “They said: ‘Here, take this money, sign this contract and you’ll have support for your child’. I was very naive and I signed,” said Bond.

She broke her promise of silence last year after the Franciscans refused to meet part of the cost of treatment for her son Nathan, then 22, who died in November from a brain tumour.

When Willenborg’s liaisons with Bond, now 53, and another woman became public, the priest was suspended from his parish in Ashland, Wisconsin. He was treated for sex addiction, then returned to his pastoral duties. Catherine Schroeder, a St Louis lawyer for the Order of Friars Minor, declined to comment. Willenborg and the order failed to return calls and emails.

Other cases are reaching the US courts. In Maryland, two children of the late Father Francis Ryan are suing their local archdiocese and a religious order for $10m after discovering through DNA tests that he was their father.

Carla Latty, 58, and Adrian Senna, 65, say Ryan never admitted he was their father or made any payments to their late mother. Senna was sent to an orphanage, while Latty was put up for adoption.

Cait Finnegan, of the Good Tidings association, an American charity for priests and their lovers, has been contacted by nearly 2,000 women who had relationships with priests. She said one pregnant friend had been told by a bishop to “get rid of the child” — a comment she took to mean she should have an abortion. The woman kept the baby.

Thousands of priests in German-speaking countries are believed to have fathered children. Paul Zuhlener, an Austrian theologian, has estimated that up to 22% of Austrian priests have sexual relationships.

Sabine Bauer of the Austrian branch of We Are Church, a reform group, predicted a spate of lawsuits. “The children of priests, and their mothers, are the next ones who will take legal action against the church. Their numbers are large and they have been denied basic rights,” she said.

In Britain, Adrianna Alsworth, who has two children by a priest and runs the Sonflowers helpline for those who have had relationships with priests, said she knew of several women who had been offered confidentiality contracts in return for child support.

“The children aren’t given an opportunity to have a normal family life, and they suffer,” she said.
In Ireland, bishop Pat Buckley, who runs Bethany, a support group for women in relationships with priests, said he had dealt with two whose abortions had been paid for by priest lovers. In one case, the priest had accompanied the woman to England for the abortion.

In central Italy, Luisa, a psychologist who has an 18-month-old son by a priest, was told by her bishop: “If you give up the baby for adoption, you can stay with the priest and I’ll pretend there’s nothing wrong.” She refused but the couple have since broken up and the priest refuses to recognise the child.

Lorenzo Maestri, a former priest and member of Vocatio, an association for married priests in Italy, accused the Pope of leading a cover-up. “Benedict is responsible for the secrecy, because in 2001, as head of the Vatican office which dealt with all sexual problems involving priests, he ordered the bishops to send these cases to him in Rome,” Maestri said.

Benedict, whose fifth anniversary of his election is tomorrow, may acknowledge the child-abuse cases by agreeing to meet seven victims on his Malta visit. There is no such prospect for the children of priests.

When asked what she would like the pontiff to do, Bond quoted her late son: “Nathan told me, ‘I want the Pope to tell me he’s sorry. The church abandons us, it calls us legal obligations. It doesn’t even call us by our names’.”


I have maintained that the emphasis on gay ephebophilia in Europe and North America was a purposeful strategy to deflect attention away from the truth about heterosexual abuse. It is heterosexual abuse the results in abandoning children or abortion. Like in pedophilia these very real children become "legal obligations" or "evidence of the violation of celibacy". It does not surprise me in the least that abortion or abandonment would be a management strategy, and one suggested by bishops. Removing or hiding evidence is a very common strategy of the guilty. So is deflection, so is scapegoating, so are lies and denial.

How many children are we talking about? Probably millions. It is estimated that 50% or better of the African clergy are involved with women and have families. It is the same in Latin America, and in the US Richard Sipe has estimated at any given time 50% of American clergy are in an active sexual relationship. All of these priests are not gay men attracted to teen age boys as the apologists would have us believe. The vast majority are heterosexuals and way too many of them are abandoning their partners and their children when they are not advocating their abortion or adoption. I guess it's better to be a hypocritical priest for life, than a belatedly responsible adult male and stand by your children.

I wondered why Cardinal Bertone resurrected the gay/pedophile link while he was in Chile. I subsequently learned that the abuse case exploding in Chile at the time involved a priest in a long standing heterosexual relationship who is credibly accused of abusing his own daughter at five years of age, producing heterosexual pornography and using teen age prostitutes his 'partner' procurred for him. But clerical abuse is entirely a gay problem according to Bertone.

Of all the lies and exagerations which have come from the Vatican, the gay lie is the one that most closely approximates Goebell's strategy of fomenting moral panic. As Dr. Porch mentions in a comment for a previous article on this blog, this is classic institutional projection and it's effective with the true believers as can be seen from the most recent comments for John Allen's original article at the National Catholic Reporter.

Today marks Benedict's fifth anniversary in the papacy. If he thinks he's had problems defending his office and the Vatican Church previously, just wait. The march of women and their abandoned priestly offspring is just beginning. The depth of this filth could very well bury his fantastical notions of the all male celibate priesthood.


  1. Here's another laugh for you TheraP:

    "A Roman Catholic Bishop in Mexico has suggested that television and the Internet are responsible for abuse carried out by priests.

    Bishop Felipe Arizmendi, a prominent member of the Catholic Church from San Cristobal de las Casas, southern Mexico, was at a meeting with other bishops when he is reported to have said the following-

    With so much invasion of eroticism, sometimes it's not easy to stay celibate or to respect children. If on television and on the Internet and in so many media outlets there is pornography, it is very difficult to stay pure and chaste. Obviously when there is generalised sexual freedom it's more likely there could be cases of paedophilia.

    Arizmendi also suggested that sex education in schools makes it more difficult for priests to maintain their vows, prompting the Mexican Association for Sexual Health to respond with the following statement-

    Those of good conscience in the church should stop this absurdity and find good help. Blaming the problems that the Roman Catholic Church has had with priests' sexually abusing minors on sex education makes no sense."

    Apparently the good bishop thinks sex education is a 'how to' class like shop or home ec.

  2. Hmmmm.... I wonder what they blamed it on in the 4th century then. Or the 11th. Likely in the '60's and '70's it was Playboy.

    Then again I wonder if "celibacy education" is a "how to" (get away with it!).

    "Hands on" education - taking on a whole new meaning! ;)

  3. Well, I can only say...It looks like the wheels are finally, falling off the wagon.

  4. Ok, everybody, the RCC has no corner on crazy logic. Here's a headline from the Guardian:

    Women to blame for earthquakes, says Iran cleric Women behaving promiscuously are causing the earth to shake, according to cleric, as Ahmadinejad predicts Tehran quake

    If women can make the earth shake, how come we can't affect the RCC? ;)

  5. Isn't it rather peculiar that the institutional church, particularly in the United States, has been fighting tooth & nail to make abortion illegal, yet not a few priests asked the women or girls they impregnated to get an abortion? In addition, if a Catholic woman gets an abortion, she incurs a penalty of excommunication latae sententiae, but clerics who commit sexual abuse don't, and the institutional church didn't even remove them from ministry until the public scandal became too great to ignore.

    We Catholics have a rich tradition of reverence for the female in Mary, the mother of Jesus, but the hierarchy tends to classify women as either madonnas or sluts, and the hierarchical fraternity finds it impossible to stop blaming the woman for the priests who get involved with women or girls.

  6. @khughes1963,

    Peculiar? Interesting choice of words. I've been trying to find the right words to address this myself. I've been unsuccessful. Horrifying to think these priests were so hypocritical. That the Church hierarchy couldn't even convince their own priests of its teaching on abortion is astounding.

    In recent years I thought that the USCCB was playing politics in an effort to be more politically influential than the Southern Baptist Conference preachers by supporting right wing politicians, especially Republicans.

    Here's a fabulous article by Malcolm Gladwell on the origin of the birth control pill. It was invented by a devout Catholic who expected the pill would be approved by the Vatican. "John Rock's Error"

    One day the church will have to apologize to Dr. Rock as they have to Galileo.

    When I was young I took a course with Dr. Marion Powell (mother of birth control in Canada)

    At the same time I took a course on medicine, morality and the law offered at the Catholic St. Michael's College, part of the University of Toronto. (I can't remember if the professor was primarily in the religion department or the philosophy department but the course was considered interdisciplinary at the time.

    Both "sides", if you will, agreed that abortion should be rare.

    When all kinds of sexuality are considered seriously immoral and the consequence is hell then this is the behavior you encourage in priests. If a person's libido could be satisfied morally by masturbation then other expressions of sexuality could be better evaluated in stages of morality. Obviously the acts and the consequences vary. How can it be moral to abandon one's child to the orphanage, Father?

    The patriarchy is so misogynistic it cannot even conceive the problems, the crimes and the sins we see here.


    Ha ha! word verification: re flog

    Want to buy a penitent? Try the Cardinal!

  7. ""Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes..." "

    ## If adultery increases earthquakes - what does being gay in Iran cause (apart from being hanged from a crane ?)

    From an article:

    "Consensual gay sex in any form is punishable by death in the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to the website Age of Consent, which monitors such laws around the world, in Iran “Homosexuality is illegal, those charged with love-making are given a choice of four deathstyles: being hanged, stoned, halved by a sword, or dropped from the highest perch."

    The report includes a photo in colour of the teenagers being hanged - a reminder that these are real individual human beings; "the gays" are not anonymous abstractions, but people's brothers, sons, fathers, sisters, daughters, mothers.

    It's very good that the Vatican
    "opposes the use of the death penalty and other...violations of the human rights of gay people...", but it could do better, by encouraging preachers to warn against gay-bashing of every kind.

  8. The depths of this hypocrisy recall the depths of Dante's Inferno, which was a public condemnation of his evil contemporaries and other historical figures. According to Wikipedia, on the eighth circle, blogia 6, "Dante speaks with Catalano and Loderingo, two members of the Jovial Friars, an order which had acquired a reputation for not living up to its vows". Has anything changed?

  9. TheraP -

    "If clerical sexual abuse is a gay problem only, then these are Virgin births! ;0"

    That is priceless...and I am stealing it:)

    In my university studies of Medieval history, I recall reading account of clerics sent out to investigate the various local parish priests (many reports for many lands):

    "this one is famous with women.....this one keeps a woman.....this one frequents whores/a brother.....this one has a son......this one has children by different women...."

    And so forth. Young boys (and girls) have in reality been the victims of clerical sex abuse for centuries. Fact.

    It is also just as much of a fact that many women (willingly or as a result of rape and/or seduction) have been made pregnant. Including nuns. We all have heard of the dark tales of nuns made pregnant by priests & bishops....and instructed to 'get rid of it'.

    We also know of the (many...) illegitmate offspring of priest, bishops, cardinals and some popes, historically. Fact!

    The attitude of that bishop is typical: the pregnant woman is a problem to be dismissed with a wave of the hand. One begins to wonder if some of the women in former centuries who were accused of 'consorting with the Devil' (and thus pregnant) were actually carried the spawn of His Lordship.

    In the time before proper legal redress of grievances by the common man, the best way to deal with the whining peasant of either sex was......banishment, excommunication, or execution as a 'witch'.

    That tends to eliminate the need for child support payments.....

    In former centuries,ppl lived in literal fear of the Church authorities. If one "complained" too much, one could find oneself in the dungeon. Or dead. And in those times as now, the Church could readily count on mobs of gleeful screaming fanatics.

    To cheer on the public torture or execution of a 'heretic".....or should I say....a..."complainer".

    Anon Y. Mouse

  10. So much nicer now, Anon Y Mouse, when complainers are just denied Communion, excommunicated, or if a priest, assigned to a remote country parish and never promoted!

  11. A "stolen comment" is always a compliment! Be my guest.

    And reading these things about the church in medieval times (or later of course) makes me wonder: How many witches who were burned were actually pregnant, carrying a clergy child?

  12. Coolmom -

    Yes, that subtle 'punishment' tactic has been used against priests who either complain...or are not gleefully cooperative with 'company policy'.

    This is why it may often be true that the priest who is never promoted or sent to the sticks....may actually be a decent human being.

    As to denying Communion or threatening Excommunication,we go back to my analogy of using the Sacraments as virtual 'doggie treats' for good behavior.

    1. No man has the authority to separate you from the Love of Christ!
    2. Even IF denied formal Sacramental can always make a Spiritual Communion. It is virtually the same thing - as the Eucharist transcends Time & Space. It's free & you may do it as often as you desire. Christ DOES want to be in your heart as a guest.

    TheraP -

    Until I wrote that comment,I had NEVER previous considered that.

    "How many witches who were burned were actually pregnant, carrying a clergy child?"

    That is what flashed in my mind as I wrote my comment. For all my univ.studies of history, this had never occurred to me before.

    This possibility frightens me. It may be true that some of the burned were in fact real witches.But we will never know that in this world. And obviously this was NOT in any way justifiable!

    But what if the 'witch' ruse was a useful way to get rid of complaining women pregnant with His Lordship's spawn? And some male 'complainers'?

    My understanding is that something similar is behind at least some of the carnage of the Salem witch trials in the US. The Puritans did not invent the Inquisition.....

    Anon Y. Mouse

  13. To Bishop Felipe Arizmendi:

    A few questions, please....

    1)Will TV make me pregnant?

    2)Will the Internet give me STDs?

    3)Will porn give me AIDS?

    Barring a literal miracle, the last time I checked, all of those are impossible without a live human interface.

    A gun only kills only when you pull the trigger. And even then, the shooter needs practice.....

    Inanimate objects, of themselves, normally do not harm ppl.

    (I await with baited breath a wise*ss comment to the

    If we wish to contend that mass media & the internet contains temptations to sin....then perhaps we should consider WHO owns vast amounts of literal & vicarious control of the mega-corporations which enable such occasions of sin:

    1) The Vatican
    2) Opus Dei & its many ancillaries& front operations.
    3) Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi.

    And considering the very real proximity & relationship His Lordship has to all three of these entities.....

    "open mouth...insert foot"

    Anon Y.Mouse

  14. TheraP-

    Ah yes....internet viruses indeed:p