October 6, 2012

Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

God bless these friars for being the hands of Christ.


Father Groeschel is one of the founding Fathers of The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. He is  responsible for housing and feeding untold numbers of poor and homeless throughout the years (his work is well documented.)

Since my return to the Church about 15 years ago Father Groeschel (through watching EWTN) has been one of the inspirational forces in my own re-discovery of the Faith. It is so unfortunate that the controversial comments he made regarding victims of sexual abuse  - in his advanced age and after suffering a recent stroke - would negate (for some) a life spent in the service of others.

Recently, before Father made this comment I spoke to my husband about father's show "Sunday Night Prime." "Father seems to be losing his train of thought," I said, "and he can barely breathe! The poor man sounds breathless." It was obvious that he had trouble just sitting up in his chair and that he was using oxygen tubes. God bless him for attempting to carry on!


My own father suffered from several strokes at a much younger age than Father Groeschel. I know from experience that in most cases the body and mind are never the same. I cannot begin to explain how hard it is to watch a loved one suffer in this way.

Father's apology (from Wikipedia:)

"I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone."
"The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal organization also apologized for Groeschel's remarks, noting that they were out of character for him and stemmed from infirmities due to his 2004 car accident and a recent stroke. On September 3, EWTN announced that Groeschel had resigned from his position as host of Sunday Night Prime and that other members of his order would serve as the show's host."  Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benedict_Groeschel

Father Groeschel was mentor to many, including Father Gordon J. Macrae.

From Father Macrae's website:

"There is an irony to all this, however. The truth is that Father Groeschel has long been known among treatment professionals to take a hard line in regard to credible accusations against Catholic priests. He has long been known to advocate for the removal from all public ministry when priests are credibly accused. He has not advocated for forced laicization, a process that simply discards an accused priest, but he has for decades taken a position that no priest known by the Church to have been an abuser can EVER minister in a parish again. The truth is that if Father Benedict Groeschel had been listened to more closely over the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, the scandal of 2002 might have looked very different.

Father Groeschel strongly advocated for strict supervision and strictly enforced internal administrative assignments in all cases in which abuse by a priest was determined to be true. His public and private positions have always been the same, and were the polar opposite of what some in the news media now attribute to him."

 "He who is without sin cast the first stone . . . "
So please, give father a break. Don't we all - even the physically and mentally healthy - err? (In my own case there have been many.)  

I STILL LOVE AND RESPECT FATHER GROESCHEL.  This has not changed. I'm only sorry that I never traveled to attend one of his live speaking engagements or Mass celebrated by him. Long live Father Groeschel.

Your sister in Christ,

Jesus, I trust in You! 
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