Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Fr. Patrick Lawson: Removed and persecuted for speaking up against sex abuse

Fr. Patrick Lawson
The recent decision to affirm the canonical removal Fr. Patrick Lawson underscores the culture of denial, coverup, and gross hypocrisy of powerful churchmen in the Scottish hierarchy. Just consider that Fr. Paul Milarvie - caught in a drunken homosexual incident - continues in the Archdiocese of Glasgow as a member of the diocesan curia. A priest indulging in homosexuality is treated with white gloves, promoted, pandered to. A priest exposing sex abuse and corruption is persecuted and removed from ministry. 

Montfort wrote of Fr. Lawson on a number of occasions in previous posts; here and here. Significantly he wrote: 

Fr. Patrick Lawson, a loyal Catholic priest, is presently being persecuted for daring to speak out against and expose the evil that has penetrated deep into the Church in Scotland. I speak of the iniquity of sexual perversion and abuse. Vile and satanic actions committed by men who claim to be priests against others - be they seminarians, youthful vulnerable men, or boys. 

In the case of the evil Patrick Moore, Fr. Lawson had no option but to approach the secular media because the local Church -literally - was hell bent on continuing the coverup. For his courage to speak out, he is being persecuted by Bishop John Cunningham, whose behaviour towards Fr. Lawson is more akin to that of a thug, then a father towards a son. Cunningham is now in the process of instigating canonical procedures against Fr. Lawson.  This is not the first time the Scottish hierarchy has tried to hide behind canon law to continue their coverup and lies. Canonical proceedings against Fr. Matthew Despard were shelved - temporarily - due only to fear on the part of the bishops that the said action would result in massive media exposure of their corruption. We must ensure that Fr. Lawson's case is known and spread far and wide. 

Fr. Paul Milarvie - Member of Archdiocesan Curia
Archdiocese of Glasgow
|Screenshot, Feb 2nd, 2014

From the Herald: 
There have been many years of silence for Patrick Lawson. To understand his story, it is necessary to go right back to 1996. Then a seminarian, he was posted to St Quivox, Prestwick, under the supervision of parish priest Father Paul Moore. One night, he woke to find Moore fondling him under the bedclothes.
He rebuffed Moore, but the parish priest continued to make advances. He also noticed Moore's secrecy about a locked cupboard. "I found a box of keys, and tried each one until it opened. At the bottom, were videos. I don't know what was on them. On the shelves were photographs, some with names on. Provocative photographs: young boys in different poses, some with hats on, naked at the beach. I felt really sick."
Lawson also discovered Moore had abused altar boys and reported this to his bishop, Maurice Taylor.
Taylor and Moore already knew one another. They went on holiday together, visiting a Vatican diplomat from Galloway, Father Peter Magee. Lawson says he found letters between Magee and Moore in the locked cupboard. Magee would later become the head of the Scottish Tribunal, the person responsible for issuing legal advice to the Scottish bishops.
For 17 years, Lawson campaigned for appropriate action to be taken over Moore's abuse. He gave names and numbers of victims to Taylor asking him to help them. Nothing happened. He asked that Moore be laicised - ejected from the priesthood. Nothing happened. Instead, Taylor told parishioners that Moore was going on a well-earned sabbatical. In fact, he was sent abroad for psychological counselling.
ON his return, he was given a presentation and a retirement home - an irony that has not gone unnoticed in Galston. Lawson has had to move back in with his elderly mother and has no house and no income except a small monthly pension the church pays while proceedings in Rome continue. They even deduct his removal costs from the pension each month.
When Taylor retired, Lawson approached his successor, John Cunningham. He also appealed to Cardinal O'Brien, just before news broke of O'Brien's sexual advances to his own priests, and appealed to Archbishop Philip Tartaglia. All refused to help. He felt constantly like an outsider. "Rooms would often go silent when I walked in," he recalls.
Fast forward to 2012. By now, Lawson was looking after three parishes and six towns, but became ill with bladder cancer. He arranged his own cover, receiving no help or visits from the diocese. Doctors advised him to cut his workload and he arranged cover for the parish he did not live in, St Paul's in Hurlford. It was already a divided community with a history of tension predating Father Lawson's arrival. People there were unhappy that they did not have a resident priest. But things escalated when the Vicar General, Willie McFadden, went to St Paul's without telling Lawson, and advised parishioners to put complaints in writing. A parishioner issued pro formas. Twenty-three complaints were received, at least one from someone outwith the parish.
When news of this ­orchestrated campaign leaked, Lawson's ­supporters swung into action. Over 200 letters of support were written. Bishop Cunningham ignored them. Now suffering from stress as well as cancer, Lawson submitted evidence from doctors advising that he could continue with work but only on a reduced basis. The bishop then used the very letters that had been written in support of him as evidence that he was too ill to work.
Although the bishop refuses to say publicly what this case is about, the official grounds for removal on church documents are threefold. Firstly, Father Lawson's ill-health. Secondly, the "loss of his good name" because of the complaints. And thirdly, the "grave harm" this division has done to the ecclesiastical community. But what was it really about? "We knew it was really about his stance over Paul Moore," says parish secretary Manuela Simonini.
The decision from Rome, a seven-page document, just rubber-stamps everything submitted by the bishop, saying the 23 complaints are from "upright and serious-minded parishioners". The 200 supporters, presumably, are not upright and serious. "
...If Rome believed that simply upholding the bishop's authority was likely to dampen down scandal and enforce discipline, the calculation may misfire. The authoritarian way the church has dealt with challenge, while simultaneously preaching "forgiveness" for those who have seriously abused their power, has created a standoff.
On one side is a growing number of priests and lay people who want change; on the other is an old-guard hierarchy, afloat in a turbulent sea of scandals, clinging to the old certainties of secrecy, obedience and control like lifebuoys.
Father Gerry Magee, another Galloway diocese priest, contacted Lawson immediately when he heard of Rome's decision. The bishop had assured priests Lawson had been informed, but he knew nothing.
Despite the letters being dated January 7, he did not receive his until January 30 - the day after his fellow priests were told. A mix-up in Rome, the bishop claimed. A disgrace, says Magee. Magee felt sick when he heard the decision, and contacted Bishop Cunningham immediately.
"What I ask, in God's name is going on here?" he wrote. "All that I am certain of is that all those responsible for this disgrace will be held accountable by God."

Please pray for Fr. Lawson, please pray for Scotland. 


Barona said...

The problem is no one knows what has been going on for decades.... at times the curtain is drawn, to only be quickly dropped again. We do know that there have been a number of churchmen caught out in grave sexual sin - usually against nature. We also know that a number of people - such as Fr. Lawson, are very serious, credible people who need to be taken seriously and respectfully. Fr. Lawson is being persecuted - as I read it - for going public. The evidence as so far released in the press seems to point very strongly that grave moral crimes were committed. THis is a man who has been seriously hurt: a victim.

The recent actions by his Ordinary manifests once more a complete blindness to the reality of sexual perversion amongst a significant number of the clergy; driven, no doubt, by a culture to cover up, deny etc.

Barona said...

I've just re-read Peters' commentary. I am at a loss as to what possible canonical crime Fr. Lawson could have committed. The only possible logical reason would be that he lied. Since we know that there are a number of priests who have gone public supporting Fr. Lawson, this seems like a grave miscarriage of justice. Canon Law provides for the punishment of churchmen who abuse power. The Observer interview and other very credible statements in The Guardian must be taken very seriously.

Further, Fr. Lawson is appealing to Rome. Therefore, his suspension is lifted until that trial is complete. I believe, it is true, the Ordinary may remove him from public ministry (still an abuse of power), but Fr. Lawson cannot be canonically stopped from celebrating and administering the sacraments in private.

Aloysius Gonzaga said...

Well if that is not the perfect example of a "gay mafia" then I don't know what is.

Lawrence and Susan Fox said...

Without mentioning any forbidden words as this comment isn't about that anyway, it is common in liberal dioceses to punish orthodox Catholic priests and laity while allowing liberals to get away with murder. I have witnessed this too many times to describe them all. My husband and I were labeled "fundamentalists" in such a parish while nuns and ex-priests gave the sermon on Sunday. A fundamentalist in their lexicon was someone who actually believed everything the Catholic Church teaches. It was humorous to hear the liberal lay ministers complaining about the parishioners stop suddenly when they walked in on me in front of the tabernacle. This was the parish where they taught the Church was empty unless human people were in it. This was the parish with a female corpus on the cross. This was the parish with altar girls who forgot to put the unconsecrated hosts on the altar before the consecration, but don't worry the deacon knew just what to do. He mixed the unconsecrated and consecrated hosts hoping such an action would make them all the same sort of like magical pixie dust. In such a diocese a holy and orthodox priest was reported by the liberals for having two beers and a pizza. Afterwards he had to undergo psychological counseling. He never drank again. He was not a person who abused alcohol. But all the misdeeds of the liberals were left unscathed. Weep for the church in Scotland. Many will die without the sacraments because of the scandals they have witnessed. God bless you. Susan Fox from San Diego Www,

Judy Hageman said...

As a former Protestant Christian who is now a happy and content and devout Neopagan Canadian , I do have much respect,much much empathy and compassion for Father Patrick Lawson's being a long time, brave survivor of Catholic clergy abuse.
Despite all of the awful persecution, pain, and suffering he has horribly endured for years at the vile hands of his Scottish bishop superiors, he still resiliently rallies and still carries on the good fight both for justice for himself and for other survivors of clergy abuse. That kind of noble, persevering behaviour I do deeply respect and admire greatly about this terrific,very human Catholic whistleblower. He is indeed a great inspiration to one and all; no matter if you are a Christian,a non-Christian, or a non-theist!
And, I do greatly encourage everyone to help support him in his great battle for true justice both for himself and other survivors of Catholic clergy abuse. Both he and his fellow survivors go greatly deserve it!
Peacefully yours,
Judy Hageman
Edmonton,Alberta, Canada