A Pastor Speaks Out

The following remarks appeared in the parish bulletin of Saint Joseph’s Church, Mendham, New Jersey, on March 10; it was written by the pastor, the Reverend Kenneth Lasch.

Recently one of our parishioners asked me when I was going to comment on the tragic events associated with the trial of the now defrocked priest in Boston. To be very honest, there was then and is now a part of me that would rather bury my head in the sand out of shame or embarrassment.

Shortly thereafter, I watched the ten o’clock news coverage of the story of clergy misconduct that continues to unfold. I can’t tell you how devastating it has been as a priest and pastor to follow this report and others which will continue to unfold in the secular media and in the Catholic press. As a church canonist, I am deeply saddened but alas, not surprised at the outrage being expressed in Boston. As many of our parishioners may recall, I was involved in the "total disclosure" of the sexual misconduct by one of my predecessors, which took place here at Saint Joseph’s many years ago. It is a story the details of which cannot be unpacked here. Suffice it to say that it was the most challenging experience of my life. The experience began with the revelation by an adult male in 1984 of a series of incidents of sexual misconduct that occurred during the seventies. My disclosure of these incidents to our parishioners took place...

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About the Author

The Reverend Kenneth Lasch is pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, Mendham, New Jersey.