Poll – Child Molesting Priests: Do Catholics “Know” God Forgives Them?

As people of faith, we know deep in our hearts that God’s forgiveness is extended to the most despicable criminals.“— Archbishop John Vlazny, Catholic Sentinel, September 5, 2012

The archbishop is a well-known opponent of the death penalty which provides a clue to his reluctance to openly condemn Father Perez, the alleged child abuser.  Rather, the archbishop would like us to consider forgiving Father Perez, before the details of his wickedness and sinfulness are known!

“As your archbishop, I feel angry, frustrated and helpless. But such sentiments serve no useful purpose.”

His Reverence Archbishop John Vlazny of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon has composed an excellent and heartfelt column in the September 5, 2012 issue of the Catholic Sentinel, the newspaper of record for the archdiocese.  Catholics righteously angered about the molestation of a little boy by Father Angel Perez, a graduate of Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon, ought to read the archbishop’s column.  Vlazny has eloquently demonstrated his humanity:  frustration, anger, and horror.  His Excellency expressed his deepest sympathy for the young victim, a boy of 12.

Vlazny is rightfully disappointed in the “safe environment” programs.  Perhaps his excellency has lost confidence in these programs.  And so he should!  Instead, he ought to focus his energy towards MT. ANGEL SEMINARY formation programs!

“A Child Betrayed” by Archbishop John Vlazny – Catholic Sentinel, 9/5/2012.

Take the Poll below and make comments.

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8 Replies to “Poll – Child Molesting Priests: Do Catholics “Know” God Forgives Them?”

  1. To “Kory” – I try my very best to NEVER misquote anyone. Where is my misquote of Vlazny, please show me. The title of my blog entry is my own and is not intended to shame our archbishop. Rather, it is my own examination of poor catechesis since the Revolution known as Vatican II — including my own!

    I wonder if Father Perez believes in Hell. If there is no threat of Hell, then priests will continue to abuse their authority.

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  2. My apologies. Since the title, first quote and first paragraph of the article seeks to establish that Vlazny is somehow wrong (and your accompanying email promoting this article set the tone by saying that, though you’re not an apologist or theologian, Vlazny’s statement somehow contradicts Catholic teaching and it is instead Protestant in nature), I misread the end of the article, thinking it was a further attack saying a child was betrayed by Vlazny because of his position to seek to forgive the abuser–which is clearly the right thing to do both before AND after the details of his crimes are revealed (70 times 7 times (forever)). I don’t want to misquote you in the same way that I don’t want to see our archbishop misquoted by you–though I suspect the latter does more damage to the body of Christ. I retract that portion of my former comment, but continue to urge you to retract libelous statements against Vlazny. God’s forgiveness IS indeed extended to sinners. So, even though Catholicism is not a democracy and its truth not determined by polls, the poll question needs to be modified to “Do people of faith know that God extends his forgiveness to the most despicable criminals (even child molesting priests)?” — a much closer match to Vlazny’s actual statement. And that would change up the options, but one should be “Yes, and we can “know” that the forgiveness is not only extended, but dispensed when a priest absolves a Catholic who validly participates in Christ’s gift of the sacrament of reconciliation with true contrition and a firm desire for amendment.”

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  3. Correction to “Joan A’s” comment: In his referenced column, Vlazny referred to the boy once as a “young man,” and twice as a “youngster.” Maybe he didn’t proofread it. Vlazny must be so horrified and weary from all this.

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  4. To “koryp” – I did NOT call Vlazny a betrayer of children. The archbishop’s column title is “A Child Betrayed.” The “betrayer” in said title refers to Father Perez.

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  5. But what our archbishop said is true. God DOES extend forgiveness to the most despicable… Provided they ask for it. Does Vlazny need to fully explain how reconciliation works to appease you? But calling our shepherd a betrayer of children!? And twisting the meaning of his words!? You’ll be in my prayers.

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  6. Whoops, forgot 1 John 1:9 – the clearest verse of all on the subject! “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness..”

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  7. “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” Matthew 12:31

    If Fr. Perez sincerely repents and believes (as a Catholic, through contrition and sacramental confession), he is guaranteed forgiveness.

    CCC 1452 says: When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

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  8. In this column and in a previous piece, his Excellency refers to the victim not as a child or a boy but as “the young man”. This kid is 12! Perez is 46! This was not 2 “young men” out on a lark. Not to play psychologist, but Vlazny’s choice of words to describe the child (“young man” more than once) seems to show some lack of sensitivity to the reality of the situation. Maybe this is to be expected in an archbishop of his age and generation, maybe it was just an automatic phrase. But it seems Vlazny is ready for retirement.

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