The other scandal
On the front page of the New York Times today: Laurie Goodstein’s story about a woman whose son (now sick with cancer) was fathered by her former lover, a still-active Franciscan priest. Don’t waste all your outrage on the first page, because it just keeps getting worse.
Ms. Bond’s case offers a rare look at how the church goes to great lengths to silence these women, to avoid large settlements and to keep the priests in active ministry. She has 23 years of documents, depositions, correspondence, receipts and photographs relating to her case, which she has kept in meticulous files.
Those files reveal that the church was tightfisted with her as she tried to care for her son, particularly as his cancer treatments grew more costly. But they also show that Father Willenborg suffered virtually no punishment, continuing to serve in a variety of church posts.
The church entity Ms. Bond dealt with is the Order of Friars Minor, commonly known as the Franciscans, whose members were known as mendicants because they survived on handouts from the communities they served.
“I know better than Franciscans what it’s like to beg, because nothing has happened without my begging the Franciscans,” said Ms. Bond, who is 53.
How many other confidentiality agreements are hiding stories like this one? What should the Church be doing about it? What would you want done if this were your pastor?