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Author Topic: Diocese 's response to priests innapropriate action  (Read 915 times)

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Offline BrandonTopic starter

Diocese 's response to priests innapropriate action
« on: September 06, 2010, 03:57:41 AM »
Vatican set to decide US priest's fate

Quote
The Vatican will determine whether to defrock a priest accused of fathering a child with a high school graduate, a relationship that became public after the girl's parents captured the couple on a video camera secretly set up in the parents' basement.

The local district attorney said on Tuesday his office won't charge the Rev Luis A. Bonilla Margarito because a police investigation determined the relationship started when the girl was 18.

Over the weekend, the church began putting together paperwork for the process known as "removal from the clerical state", popularly known as defrocking, said Matt Kerr, a spokesman for the Diocese of Allentown. The information will be sent to the Vatican for a decision. A timetable was not known.

Bonilla, 41, is not on assignment and has not functioned as a priest since November, when the diocese found out about the relationship, Kerr said.

Upon learning of the relationship, the diocese notified the prosecutor's office, Kerr said. The church initiated the defrocking process after "new information" was learned last week, but Kerr declined to say what that information was. Kerr also said he could not specify what documents were being turned over to the Vatican as part of the church investigation.

The criminal investigation was closed after police determined that the relationship began when the girl was 18, District Attorney John Adams said.

However, her parents filed a lawsuit on Thursday, alleging that Bonilla had a sexual relationship with their daughter while he was the chaplain of Reading Central Catholic High School and she was a senior there.

They became suspicious and installed a camera in their basement, where Bonilla and their daughter were spending a lot of time. The camera recorded the couple having sex in November 2009, after she had graduated, according to the suit.

Bonilla and the teen are now evidently living with each other, and she has given birth to a girl. Bonilla has declined comment about the lawsuit. A telephone listing in his name has been disconnected.

Bonilla was removed from his dual posts as chaplain and pastor of St Joseph Church in Reading after the girl's parents took the tape to the diocese. He acknowledged having an "inappropriate relationship" at the time with the teen, according to a diocesan news release

So the jist of this story is, a priest has an innappropriate relationship with a teenage girl. The parents suspect something, set up a camera, and catch them in the act. Then they go to the authorities. The authorities cant do anything legally, because shes 18. Even so when the church finds out they look into defrocking him. Now from a human standpoint I can understand this quite well. You take an oath to be celebate for whatever reason when you become a priest, years later you find yourself falling in love or lust and give in. I think were all human enough to admit we've given into temptations before. The two are still a couple, living together and she has had a girl as well.

Heres what I want to focus on. Finally we see a report of the vatican doing the right thing when it comes to priests behaving inappropriately. The very fact that they looked into defrocking is a testament to a step in the right direction regarding any priest engaging in inappropriate sexual activity. Its about time but I think the difference in this case is this time they saw undeniable evidence. Would this have been the same in past cases? I dont know but I would like to think yes
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 08:16:51 PM by Brandon »

Offline Caeli

This was an interesting article about the Vatican's actions regarding the American priest. It's definitely an enlightening article, and really encouraging to see, especially given all of the negative stereotypes and bad press surrounding priests in similar situations.

However, bringing an interesting article to the table does not make it okay to be rude and make this discussion an emotional personal agenda. I won't lock this thread, because it is certainly material worth discussing; however, if this thread becomes filled with blanket commentary and/or insults towards other members, it will be locked.

Please stay subjective, stay on topic, and remember that P&R is not personal.

Thank you.

Offline Sabby

These kinds of stories really bother me. Oh, a priest and a woman fall in love, let's drag their names through the dirt in front of the entire world... really sickens me.

He broke his vow, so defrock him. She's an adult, folks have no say over who she see's. But that fact a priest was involved means him, his partner and their child will be casualties of the ideological war.

Offline RubySlippers

There could be grounds for the lawsuit based on abuse of his position to get the girl into the relationship but it would be iffy since she would have to file being an adult.

I think defrocking is sound though but it would be better if he resigned before a formal church action.

Offline Jude

Finally we see a report of the vatican doing the right thing when it comes to priests behaving inappropriately. The very fact that they looked into defrocking is a testament to a step in the right direction regarding any priest engaging in inappropriate sexual activity. Its about time but I think the difference in this case is this time they saw undeniable evidence. Would this have been the same in past cases? I dont know but I would like to think yes
They haven't made the decision to defrock him yet; they're just thinking about it because the Diocese requested it, this is no different than things that have happened in the past, it's just that the Vatican ignored the requests before.  Your title to this thread is extremely misleading and borderlines on outright falsehood, the Vatican is not the Diocese (and so far that is the only entity this reflects well on).  The Vatican hasn't done anything yet.  This is also still just one example, but it could be a positive one.  Lets hope they actually choose to punish him and that this becomes a trend and not an anecdote, but until the Vatican takes action this doesn't reflect on them positive or negatively.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 02:52:39 PM by Jude »

Offline Will

Considering that the girl was a legal adult while this was going on, I'm not sure how germane it is to the whole "pedophile priests" dilemma.  I understand that it's still inappropriate conduct, but I thought the main sticking point for the issue in the past was that the kids were, well... kids, who were being taken advantage of.  I would find it sadly ironic if they took a more aggressive approach to this.  I agree completely with Sabby; in the end, these were two consenting adults.  If it breaks the Church's rules for priesthood, then boot him out, but don't make it out like the priest took advantage of her. It's not even the same.  : /

Offline HairyHeretic

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I think the taking advantage angle was down to the fact he was part of the faculty (or somehow associated .. chaplain?) to her school. It's a similar situation to a teacher having a relationship with a pupil. It might not be illegal, but it's probably unethical, and at the least unwise. Adding in the vow of celibacy takes it to another level of unwise.

Offline Will

Yeah, I suppose I can see that.  Still, my point was that it's ironic that they would take a strong approach to this, while taking, er... less of an approach with other situations in the past, when those situations were arguably worse.

Offline HairyHeretic

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With the scrutiny their under because of those previous things, they have to be seen to be acting on current ones, if they are going to have people believe that they're changing.

Offline Sabby

It's always "Make it look like we're doing something" instead of actually investing their time and effort into improving standing and reputation, and their scapegoating these new parents to give insincere lip service. I'm sorry, but I cannot for the life of me see this as 'fighting the bias', this is not something for you to throw into an idiot anti-Christians face. This is just another kind of embarrassment.

Offline HairyHeretic

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How exactly are the parents being scapegoated here?

Offline Ironwolf85

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you seem a little angry over this Sabby.
I think it's nice to see the Vatican cracking down on it's own rules, true the man in question might want to continue preaching, and good for him. but he broke the vow of chastity that comes with his position, and thus can no longer be a cathloic priest.
if they decide not to defrock him, then maybe make him a friar instead... then he can live with his love and her child, and still serve the church he has devoted his life to.
debate the other bits as we may, the church's reputation is going back up, maybe here in the states we'll trust them again someday.

Offline Jude

There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding over what's actually going on here, probably because of the OP's original comments and description.  Look over the story once more.  This is what happened:  the parents of the high school graduate who was "with" the Priest caught the two of them having sex on camera, they told the Dioceses about the issue, the Diocese has filed paperwork to have the Priest defrocked for his actions.  They are sending the request off to the next level to have it processed.  The Vatican has the final say on the issue and has yet to weigh in (they're getting the documents shortly), the Vatican has not done anything yet either positive or negative.

It's prejudicial to assume that they will do nothing just as it's factually incorrect to applaud the Vatican's response that they have not given yet.  Wait for the facts to come in, then reward kudos or express scorn, but nothing has happened yet to even judge.  Doing so now is merely an expression of your own personal bias.

I don't think it's fair to judge the church because of this guy's actions either.  If he did engage in sex with her while she was a student at the school he was in charge of, that's definitely wrong, but you can't hold the church responsible for what he did unless they refuse to punish him for it or they were somehow complicit.  The evidence thus far does not suggest yet, in fact it suggests the opposite (at least as far as complicity goes).
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 07:54:25 PM by Jude »

Offline BrandonTopic starter

Re: Diocese 's response to priests innapropriate action
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2010, 08:25:13 PM »
You are correct jude, I edited the title to reflect that this is the Docese responding to the situation. Thanks for pointing that out to me

The difference with this case when compared to others is this: Back in the day when priests would be accused of inappropriate actions (Im mainly reffering to pedophiles here) the Bishops would decide what to do or not do. More often then not they were responsible for moving said priests out of the area without letting the office precisely why. Sometimes this information would get to the office that handle inappropriate situations (I dont remember what its called but I tend to call it the inquisition office) and sometimes they would turn a blind eye to it.

That hasnt happened this time. The Diocese and Bishop have done the right thing from step one. Thats where these things start. Whether the Vatican will is yet to be seen but theres a large movement within the Vatican to change what happened in the past. There is even talk of removing people from office because they've just taken so long on their investigations.


Offline Jude

Re: Diocese 's response to priests innapropriate action
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2010, 08:37:53 PM »
That's very interesting, thanks for the info, it's not something I knew and it gives me more hope yet for an excellent resolution to this situation.

One very positive thing I've been noticing recently is that it seems like Catholicism, in general, is opening its doors and allowing for more transparency.  They have perfectly good reasons for being so secretive, but it makes them an easy target for ideologically motivated detractors to speculate on dark intentions in a conspiratorial manner.  I kind of wonder if that secretive nature is what generated the various crises that the Catholicism has suffered, not any particular acts of wrongdoing that were supposed.

I find it hard to believe that there's a sizable number of people in the Catholic Church, even those who were involved in the scandals, who want anything but what's best for the world.  People are generally good; conflicting viewpoints on how to make the world a better place with intent that is uniformly benevolent is the tragedy.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 08:39:44 PM by Jude »