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By Michael Baumann
I get some really interesting comments and mail at times. Some of my posts have elicited some very insightful comments others have brought out the kind of venom that really makes me wonder about the smallness of the writer. One such writer has been trying to get my ire up over the case of Father Gabriel Tetherow, a priest who pleaded out to charges related to child pornography on church computers at Saint Ann’s Parish in the Diocese of Scranton. That priest, forbidden by the Diocese of Scranton to wear clerical garb or conduct himself in public as a priest, is now affiliated with the Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission in York, Pennsylvania. The Diocese of Harrisburg does not recognize that “Mission”. Saints Peter and Paul is a throw back to the pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church.
I have had two posts in this blog about Father Tetherow and this “Mission” and I have had some very volatile responses to my blog as a result. The author of most of the negative comments was a person who goes by the name “D.W. Downey”. He has been particularly vocal in his support for Father Tetherow. So vocal in his support for this priest with a penchant for child porn, that he decided to take the tact of calling victims of sexual abuse responsible for inviting the attacks. This individual claimed to be a former “Flight Officer” in the Navy. I must say up front that in my 23+ years of Naval service I became very familiar with the unique language used by those who served, and this individual was not using the vernacular of someone who served honorably, in any capacity, in the U.S. Navy. Hey D.W., I’ll show you my DD214 if you produce yours!
The email this individual wrote was pretty pathetic. I would imagine that the narrow-minded, inappropriate and uninformed comments are not the norm for Catholics as a rule. But I think the comments he made are not far off from the thought process of those who apologize for and support those priests that have been exposed as dangers to children. These apologists for pedophile priests are so intently focused on blaming everyone else for the crimes of these priests and attacks on the “mother church” that they will say anything to try to bring the critics of the Catholic Church’s handling of the child sex abuse scandal into a pitched battle of personal attacks. The writer obviously blames me for my complicity in being raped by a priest (see the text of his latest email below).
I thought I would pass along “D.W Downey’s” latest email gem as an example of the idiocy of those who will go to any length to try to discredit survivors and critics of the church. You can draw your own conclusion from “D.W.’s” latest epistle to this blog. Here it is:
“You have to examine your own conscience. The fact of the matter is the great majority of those being abused by the homosexuals who have invaded the Catholic Church since the 1960s have a degree of moral guilt for their participation in these perversions. The adult perverts have the greater sin but their “victims” are not altogether free from any moral responsibility. They are old enough to recognize the near occasion of sin and remove themselves from it.
The Catholic Church is a greater victim from these homosexual predators than most of the young men who are publicly airing their stories. Possessing no faith, they have lied themselves into seminaries and religious orders for no other purpose than to use the cover of the Catholic Church for their own immoral ends. They have established networks throughout religious orders and diocesan bureaucratic structures that actively provide cover for their own.
You have, without sufficient evidence, made assumptions and accusations based upon those assumptions against Fr. Tetherow, that you have no right to do. And I think very little of for doing it. Your analysis is superficial, immature and self-serving.
I won’t spend a lot of time responding to this email. For one, the writer has most of his “facts” wrong. Secondly, I suspect that “D.W. Downey” is a pen name for someone who does not want to sign his/her/their real name to their work. Finally, I think this individual has so fully convinced him/herself that Father Tetherow is innocent, despite his guilty plea, that anyone who says otherwise (no matter what the evidence says) is following a strategy of personal attack. The truth be damned.
I believe “D.W. Downey” is a homophobic Catholic ideologue. He/she also seems to infer that all of the problems in the church were spawned by Vatican II. If you follow this logic, you would think there were no instances of sexual abuse of children before the early 1960’s. Of course that abuse is well documented. If this is reflective of the opinion of parishioners at the “Mission” that harbors Gabriel Tetherow I fear for the safety of the innocent children who are members of the mission or live the area of York where this group of breakaway Catholics gather. Perhaps the local authorities should keep a close eye onthe leadership of this flock and their “shepherd”.
Something good has become of all this, though. A photograph of Father Gabriel from the internet has been included in Database of Credibly Accused Preists in the United States at the Bishop Accountability website along with information on his assignements and the crimes he was charged with as a result of his activities.
I have been in Houston all week for a work related training seminar. As a result I have been off the radar and not posting on this blog. But tonight, the perfect combination of a stable internet connection at the hotel (who knows how long that will last), prediction of rain and no “homework” from the seminar this evening has allowed me to catch up on the blogs I normally review regularly. One article caught my eye in particular.
A group in the Washington DC area has started a website that is dedicated to “outing” gay Catholic Priests. The site, ChurchOuting.org states that the “site was created to provide you with the opportunity to save LGBT youth from the hypocrisy of priests in the Archdiocese of Washington who are socially, romantically or sexually active gay men, yet stand silent while Archbishop Wuerl and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops increase their dogmatic war against gay families.”
I fully support any effort to arrest the abuse of anyone by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Hypocrisy in the church, in whatever form it takes, should be exposed. I think that the Bishops should be held accountable for their actions and for the actions of those who do their bidding. I also think that Bishops are fair game if they are demanding a certain behavior of their parishioners and are not applying that same standard to themselves or their subordinates. I am not fully on board with the idea of outing priests (gay or not) who are faithfully and compassionately ministering to members of their parishes, no matter what the sexual preferences of those parishioners may be. To do so would be the equivalent of inflicting the same emotional, spiritual and physical abuse meted out by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. I don’t see this as holding the high ground.
I am left looking at the hierarchy of the Catholic church and seeing just how intellectually and spiritually bankrupt they are. Compassion and ministry have gone by the wayside. The church, seems so lost and unwilling to embrace the theology which they purport to preach. The targeting of homosexuals by the church is an abomination. For these “men”, these bishops to sit in judgement of anyone is beyond reason. I wonder how many bishops sitting in the meeting in Baltimore earlier this week are gay. Should that even matter? Whether they are sexually active or celibate, they should focus on their Christ’s message of love and acceptance instead of embracing a policy of intolerance and targeting a segment of their parishioners.
These are the same men who allowed pedophiles to prey on children and protected those predators from prosecution. This is the same church that blamed the pedophile problem on gay priests. These are men who have lost touch with the basic tenants of their own religion and lost their humanity because they have been seduced by the trappings and treasure that come with position and favor.
The Catholic church is on a course charted to its own demise. The spiral will continue as long as these old men are blind to the needs of their flocks. As long as parishioners support these Dioceses that embrace the targeting of any group, the active persecution of those who do not curry favor with the hierarchy will continue.
Is the solution the outing of gay priests? I don’t know. I am thinking that will make headlines, but it will not make headway. Casting that net will catch innocent priests along with those who truly are hypocrites. I am not sure the collateral damage is worth it. I recommend that parishioner let their pastors know where they stand by cutting off the flow of money into collection plates and saying “No” to the annual donation drives sponsored by the various diocese across the country. Cut off the money and the head will die.
Abuse is abuse and there should be no room for church sponsored bigotry in any Christian denomination.
By Michael Baumann
An astute reader of this blog provided a website that has a photo of Father Tetherow. While Tetherow is prohibited from presenting himself as a Catholic Priest, he is doing just that. He is also listed as an “Ultimate Service Provider Priest” on Dave Romeo’s Ultimate Service Providers Referral List. I did a screen grab of the site to make sure I had it just in case it somehow changed in the next couple of days. You know how frequently web pages are adjusted after all.
So here he is folks, Father Gabriel, A.K.A Father Virgil Bradley Tetherow, formerly a priest in the Diocese of Scranton. Father Gabriel pleaded guilty in a case where child pornography was found on church computers at St Ann’s Church in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. As a result of an investigation into the incident, Father Gabriel pleaded out to lesser charges and received two years probation. His case is allegedly now with the Vatican to determine his status as a Roman Catholic Priest. Although he has been prohibited from wearing clerical garments and acting as a priest, “Father” Gabriel is now ministering at Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission. This Catholic Mission is a schismatic church in York, Pennsylvania operating without the approval of the Diocese of Harrisburg.
To quote the write up for “Father Gabriel” on the Ultimate Service Providers website:
Father Gabriel Tetherow
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission
129 South Beaver Street
York, PA 17401
Phone: (717) 309-8866
Specialty Providing the Traditional Latin Rite Mass to the Diocese of Harrisburg
Dave’s Comments: I first met Father Tetherow in 2006. He is a warm, compassionate, and approachable priest who immediately connects with people. He is extremely devout and knowledgeable in his faith and he is one of the finest speakers I have ever heard. His sermons are meaningful, inspirational and unforgetable.
I bet Dave would not be so effusive in his praise of this “priest” if he was aware of Father Gabriel’s appreciation for photos of children in various stages of undress and in sexual situations which are most inappropriate for children.
Perhaps we should let Dave Romeo know that many of us are not pleased with a priest who engaged in the types of behaviors let led to his entering a guilty plea in court. We are also not pleased that this man is conducting himself as a priest in open defiance of an order by the Bishop of Scranton to cease doing so.
Send Dave Romeo an email and let him know what you think about Father Tetherow.
Thanks to NEPA Catholic for the tip on the photo and the web location for “Ultimate Provider” Tetherow. Lets keep the spotlight squarely on this threat to children in the York, Pennsylvania area.
More information on Father Tetherow and his troubles at St Ann’s can be found at:
By Michael Baumann
I received a comment to an older post about a week ago that had me a little baffled at first. The comment was from a “D. W. Downey” and it was intended to get me to wonder if Father Virgil Bradley Tetherow, formerly a priest in the Diocese of Scranton, was framed by Bishop Martino. It seems that Father Tetherow, who was ordered to refrain from acting as or presenting himself as a Catholic priest, has joined a “Catholic Mission” located within the Diocese of Harrisburg that is not recognized by that diocese. Father Tetherow is now at Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission. This is now a case of a rogue priest that has found sanctuary and acceptance in a rogue church.
To get you up to speed, Father Tetherow, who also goes by the name Father Gabriel, pleaded out to charges after child pornography was found on a computer he used. To quote from the database of accused priests in the Diocese of Scranton from Bishop Accountability:
Also known as “Father Gabriel.” Tetherow admitted in 2005 that he downloaded child porn while working at St. Ann’s Catholic Church rectory in Tobyhanna, Pa. in 01/05. He was arrested in West Orange NJ while staying at St. Anthony of Padua. Pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal use of a communication facility and was sentenced to two years probation. Case sent to Vatican for review. Privileges were removed when he was found celebrating mass in PA.
Note I said he pleaded guilty. That will be important in a moment.
The church in which he is now masquerading as a “holy man”, priest, shepherd, spiritual leader is mounting what looks to be a public relations campaign to rewrite Father Gabriel’s past. The Chairman of the church, Dr David M. Drew, O.D, has “looked into the 2005 police charges and found them meritless”. I wonder what kind of investigative credentials Dr. Drew possesses? His findings seem to be in direct contrast to the facts. I guess when you are the lay leader of a schismatic church you take what you can get when you are shopping for a priest. I wonder what the job requirements may be for this position. It seems that someone who pleaded guilty to a felony in connection to having downloaded child pornography is not disqualified. As long as the incumbent priest will stand in front of Planned Parenthood in full clerical garb, in direct defiance of an order from the Roman Catholic Church, actively intimidating, threatening and insulting the staff, volunteers and people coming to that office, the “Catholic Mission” thinks this “man” is qualified for the job.
While Planned Parenthood is not my favorite organization, I think that one can arrive at the conclusion that a priest with a criminal history that involves child pornography would be the least credible protest leader against abortion. One could make the leap that he supports saving those children so that fresh images of little boys could be available in 5 to 10 years for his perverse pleasure.
One may question the leadership of this church/cult in selecting this particular low-life as their priest. I, personally, would seriously question the judgment of Dr. Drew for choosing and defending a convicted felon. If the good doctor has children, I would be especially worried that he may have his head up his ass in standing by Father Gabriel. I wonder if the administration at Hanover Hospital would have some concerns about one of the doctors who has privileges at their hospital supporting a priest with a taste for child pornography? That kind of indirect association can’t be good for the reputation of the hospital. I am very happy that I do not live in the area where this guy practices medicine, I would definitely not want to seek any medical care from any organization that is comfortable with a person like this on the staff.
As I see it, the friend of my enemy is my enemy. Anyone that stands by a priest who, by his own admission, stands convicted in relation to crimes involving child pornography and allows him a position of trust with access to children is my enemy. They are the enemy of children and of decency. Despite what Dr. Drew and his followers at the rogue “Catholic Mission” may say, Tetherow pleaded guilty. If he was not guilty, he should have fought the charges and sought to have his name cleared. As much as I dislike the Diocese of Scranton, the actions of Bishop Martino and those who protect pedophiles, I loathe anyone that would consider allowing access to children to a subscriber of child pornography.
Any organization, Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission for example, that accepts this predator and reasons away his criminal behavior as being “without merit” poses a great danger to children. If you are a member of this congregation/cult you may want to consider joining another congregation/cult that, at a minimum, does not choose a felon with a penchant for child pornography as their spiritual leader.
I find Dr. Drew’s findings “without merit”. I find the total dismissal of facts to be a clear and present danger to children who live near the church in York, Pennsylvania. It is just a matter of time! Which one of the parishioners will sacrifice a child to Tetherow?
If you have a photograph of Father Tetherow, please send it along to me. I will be happy to get his mug out for the world to see and I would love to get it up on Bishop Accountability so that he can be identified and avoided by the people of York.
More information on Father Tetherow and his troubles at St Ann’s can be found at:
An email from a reader alerted me to yet another priest that has been relieved of duties in a parish in the Diocese of Scranton. In a report from the Times Leader, a priest was removed after he attempted to project an informational DVD about the annual diocesan fundraiser on October 25th. Allegedly four photographs of “minimally attired adult males” were displayed. Bill Genello, spin master for the Diocese of Scranton, announced that the photos were not pornographic. Well thank goodness for that!
Father Edward Lyman was removed as administrator of St. Anthony, St. Bridget and St. John the Baptist parishes in Throop, Pennsylvania. The current whereabouts of Father Lyman are unknown.
At some point the parishioners of the Diocese of Scranton need to start demanding accountability from the Diocese. I don’t know what the last straw will be. These people have rallied behind priests that have abused, molested and raped children. They have supported priests with child pornography on church computers and they have tolerated priests that have had inappropriate relationships with adult parishioners. What does it take? I am at a loss.
I would love to see an independent investigation into the Diocese and their policies to determine if the parishioners, particularly the children are safe. The diocese will not take responsible action. It seems that bishop after bishop has failed to take proactive steps to set standards and turn over priests who have violated the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States to appropriate authorities.
Local District Attorneys and the U.S. Attorney should look into the continuing saga of sexual crimes against both children and vulnerable adults, fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice on the part of the Chancery, all the way to the office of the Bishop. (I know the Diocese of Scranton is currently without their own shepherd, I could argue that has been the case for decades…)
I would hope that law enforcement officials got a look at the laptop to determine if child pornography laws were broken before the IT gurus wiped all the evidence from the hard drive. Given the chance, I have no doubt that the diocese will destroy evidence to protect itself.
Where ever Father Lyman is, I hope he has been questioned thoroughly by law enforcement. If no crimes have been committed, I would hope the Diocese takes the appropriate sanctions against this priest if he has violated Diocesan rules. What will probably happen is that this guy will get shuffled to the next unsuspecting parish.
I wonder if Father Lyman is bunking in with Father Timchak, they seem to have a common interest in photography.
By: Michael Baumann
Bishop “Nicky the Don” DiMarzio, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn, New York is staying true to his support of those things that are neither Catholic nor Christian. The New Jersey transplant and “wannabe mobster”, has decided to record a political phone message in support of Assemblyman Vito Lopes who is in the midst of a tough reelection campaign. Taking a strong political stand and putting the tax exempt position of his Diocese at risk, the Bishop is supporting a proponent of many issues that are in direct opposition to Catholic positions.
“Nicky the Don” is openly supporting the Assemblyman Lopez who was instrumental in defeating an attempt in the New York State legislature to pass window legislation that would allow adult victims of sexual abuse as children to seek a civil remedy for the crimes committed against them. The Bishop, obviously a great man of god, opposed the bill because the Diocese is potentially still harboring pedophile priests who preyed on children and would have faced law suits for protecting the predators instead of handing them over to authorities. This is all a matter of political payback.
Nicky has decided to prostitute himself by supporting Vito Lopez. Mr. Lopez has championed the rights of gay couples to marry and supported the liberalization of abortion laws in New York State. Both of these issues are obviously high on the list of issues that the patriarch of the Catholic Church in Brooklyn embraces even though they are not supported, as a rule, by the Catholic Church. It must be nice for the Bishop to be able to pick and choose which moral issues he can embrace and which ones he can cast aside as politically inconvenient.
“Nicky the Don” is showing his true colors as a bishop who would subjugate the official policies of the Catholic Church to his own political agenda. That agenda is focused on making sure that justice is denied to people who were abused (sexually, physically, and mentally) at the hands of Catholic priests over the years. He is showing just how beholden he is to those that supported his desire to derail justice to victims of priests by supporting the same legislators who support killing the unborn and permitting same-sex marriage.
Bishop DiMarzio shows a moral and ethical defect in supporting a man who champions patently un-Catholic and un-Christian policies. Yes, the Bishop is comfortably in bed with the devil so he can have his cake and make his flock choke on it.
All of this is more proof that this worm of a cleric is nothing more than a New Jersey carpet bagging hood who is more interested in his own personal advancement than standing up and supporting the bedrock issues upon which the church is built. What a great example he sets! In effect, he is telling his flock in Brooklyn that his example is one of religious bankruptcy and personal vanity.
This from the same Catholic leader who threatened to shut down the parishes and schools in districts where support for the New York Child Victims Act and opposition to abortion and gay marriage are hallmarks of the Catholic populace. Do you need more proof that this is yet another example of a spiritually deficient Catholic leader?
I guess for Bishop DiMarzio the initials “WWJD?” stand for “Who Wants Jelly Donuts?” He doesn’t seem to know or care how his “savior” would want him to lead his flock. He is just another morally and ethically corrupt hack.
Support the New York Child Victims Act. Sign the petition here.