New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 16, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas
Faithful look for healing after priests ousted for sex abuse
BELLEVILLE, 111. (AP) — John remembers how his stalwart Catholic parents adored the priest who used to come to their home and visit him in his bedroom more than three decades ago, when he was only 9.
Unfortunately, says John, who asked that his real name not be used, his mother and father had no idea the priest from the Belleville Diocese was sexually abusing him.
“I think one thing that might have helped me out was that it always happened at night, when my room was dark,” said the Washington County businessman, choking back a sob J.i never saw a thing.”
John wasn’t alone. Thirteen priests and a deacon have been yanked from their jobs in the largely rural diocese over the past 2 1/2 years because of sexual misconduct allegations, including the one John says molested him.
Many of the clerics who remain and the 117,000 Catholics they serve hope their own long night is finally over. For the first time since March 1993, diocesan officials say they have no sexual abuse cases pending.
Some of the travails of the diocese could have been the material of a lurid movie: allegations of a homosexual ring of priests operat
ing out of a diocese gift shop and of priests at a diocese-sponsored youth camp making passes at youngsters.
One priest has admitted he was a sex addict.
Yet a cloud of hurt, anger and confusion remains. Some among the faithful continue to defend their disgraced priests, while not all the clergy who were spared are happy with how their diocese handled the controversy.
“I don’t feel that the church was fair,” said Robert Zimmermann, a parish leader at St. Teresa’s, where some tied yellow ribbons when their pastor was removed. “I wouldn’t want to be put in that position and have to rely on my church to help me out.”
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, while lauding Belleville for being one of the few dioceses that makes a public announcement when it ousts a pedophile priest, says there still is too much secrecy and not enough support for victims.
Also, most of the allegations against the priests are decades old. Some victims and even some priests said they reported sexual abuse years ago, but nothing was done.
“I’m particularly very angry the way a lot of our victims were not heard and sad that God has
given us the ability to be compassionate and we haven’t always responded,” said the Rev. Clyde Grogan.
Bishop Wilton Gregory, who took over the 128-parish diocese in February 1994, acknowledges he has a lot of healing to do. But citing privacy concerns, he refuses to say where the removed priests are staying, what will become of them, or to give any specifics on the allegations.
Gregory emphasizes none of the men will return to public ministry where they have access to children. Under canon law, a bishop must continue to care for a priest unless he resigns or is forced out by a church trial.
The diocese has set up a toll-free number for victims and paid more than $1.1 million for counseling of both victims and the accused, care for the priests and legal fees.
“We’ve been honest, straightforward and public in handling this,” Gregory said. “Every decision I make is both a serious one and one that obviously will probably offend or confuse or anger one or another party, but that does not cause me to shrink from it at all.”
SNAP director David Clohessy in St. Louis said Gregory has not been direct enough. When
removal announcements are made, guilt often is implied rather than stated, as in the most recent one involving two priests that appeared in the diocesan newspaper, where the words “sexual abuse” didn’t even appear.
, No priests have been charged with any crimes since the statute of limitations has expired in nearly all cases. *
One priest was accused of having sexually abused a 12-year-old in 1993, but prosecutors did not press charges because of a lack of physical evidence.
“I think part of the problem is people would want us to say a priest is guilty or not guilty, anc sometimes it is not that black and white,” saic James Margason, the diocese’s vicar general.
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Church directory for New Braunfels, Comal County & area
Berean Bible Church, 889 Landa St. Sunday services, io a.m. and 7:30 p.m., Wed. 7:30 p.m. Men's class at 8 a.m. Saturday. 620-5102.
Christ Presbyterian Church
Christ centered - Bible believing. Presbyterian Church in America, 1620 Common. Sunday school, 9:30; Worship service, 10:45; Wednesday eve., 7:15. Phone 629-0405
Church of Christ, 1665 Highway 81 W. Bible classes for all, 9 a.m.; worship IO a.m.; evening worship 6:00 p.m.; Wed. 7:00p.m. classes for all ages. Nursery available.
Community Christian Church,
1750 Old McQueeney Rd. Sunday school 9:30 a.m., worship service 10:30. 620-7174 or 629-0663.
Cross Lutheran Church,
(Missouri Synod), South Hickory and Cross Streets. Sunday school 9:15 a.m.; worship 8 and 10:30 a.m.
Day spring Christian Fellowship,
1895 S. Walnut, Sunday School 9:30am, Sunday Worship 10:30am, Wednesday evening service 7:00pm Wesleyan denomination.
Faith United Church of Christ,
970 Loop 337. Church school 9:15; worship 10:30 am.
Fellowship Bible Church, Solms and Morningside. Sunday School 9:45 p.m.; worship ll a.m. and 6 p.m.
First Assembly of God, 1687 U.S. 81 West. Sunday school 9;45 a m.; worship 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday service 7 p.m.
First Baptist Church, 733 Cross St. Sunday school 9:30 a.m.; worship 10:45 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Wednesday dinner 5:00 p.m. Bible study and prayer service 6:00 p.m.
First Church of Christ Scientist,
137 E. Mill St. Sunday service 10:30 a.m.; Sunday school 10:30 a.m.; Wednesday service 7:30 p.m. Child care available.
First Church of the Nazarene,
1465 135 East. Sunday service 9:45 a.m.; worship 10:50 a.m. and 6 p.m.
First Protestant Church, (located on the corner of Seguin and Coll streets; one block from downtown plaza) Sunday Worship 8:00 and 10:30 AM; Sunday School Classes 9:00 AM; Breakfast at The First 8:30-10:15; Youth Activities - call 609-7729 Ext. 36; Wednesday PRIME TIME Bible studies & seminars; For Your Intercession Prayer Groups - Wed. AM & Tues. PM; Adult activities; child care provided.
First United Methodist Church,
572 W. San Antonio. Worship 8:30 a m.; Sunday school 9:30 a.m.; worship 10:50 a.m.; youth activities 5-7 p.m.
Greater Life Pentecostal Church,
UPC, services held at 989 Loop 337 (River Crest Shopping Center) 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Pastor Jack Dool. For Information call 625-4735.
Harmony Baptist Church, 1472 Texas 46 S. Sunday school 9:45 a m.; Sunday worship 11 a m. and 7 p.m.; Church training 6 p m ; Wednesday prayer meeting 7 p.m.
Lakeside Baptist Church, FM
725. Sunday school 9:30 a m.; worship ll am.; Wednesday Bible study and prayer meeting 7 p.m.; worship ministry and home groups.
New Braunfels Presbyterian Church, 373 Howard. Worship 8:30 a.m.; Sunday school 9:30 a m.; worship ll a.m. nursery provided.
New Braunfels Seventh Day Adventist Church, 2990 W. San Antonio St. P.O. Box 311551. Sabbath school 10:40 a.m. Saturday; worship 9:30 a.m. Saturday. 629-5673.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 138 W. Austin. Masses 5:30 p.m. Saturday; and, 8 and ll a.m. Sunday; Monday through Friday Masses 6 p.m. Wed. 8 a m.
Peace Lutheran Church, ELCA, 1147 S. Walnut, across from Wal-Mart. Sunday services 8 a.m. and 10:30 a m.; Sunday school 9:15 a.m. 620-0618.
Resurrection Baptist Church,
909 FM 1518.658-0459.
St. John's Episcopal Church, 312
S. Guenther. Holy Eucharist Rite One 7:30 a m.. Rite Two at 9 a m. and 10:30 a m.; Christian education classes begin at 9 a.m. and 10:30 am.
St. Paul Lutheran Church,
(ELCA), Cross and Santa Clara Streets. Sunday worship 8 a m. (broadcast on KNBT radio FM 92), 10:30 a m. Sunday school 9:15 a.m.
Tree of Life Fellowship, 652 N.
Loop 337. Sunday services (including children's church) at 8:30 and 10:30 a m. and 7 p.m.; ladies Bible study IO am. Wednesday; Pastor's Bible study and Youth Meeting 7 p.m. wednesday.
Church of Unity, New Braunfels,
Sunday Service 10:30 a m. at the Senior Citizen’s Center at 655 Landa St.
Bracken United Methodist Church, 20377 FM 2252. Sunday school 9:30 a m.; Church services 8:15 and 10:40 a.m.; UMYF Sunday 5 p.m.
Bulverde United Methodist
28300 Hwy. 281 N.; worship 8:30* and ll a.m.; Sunday school 9:45 a.m. Youth fellowship 6 p.m. 980-7745.
Canyon Lake Presbyterian Church, 230 Shepherd Hill, FM 2673 between Sattler and Startville. Sunday school 9:30 a m.; worship ll a.m. 964-2427.
Chapel in the Cove,' (interdenominational), Cypress Cove Addition. Sunday school 9 a.m.; worship 9 a.m. 885-4063.
Church of Christ, FM 3159 and 2673. Bible class IO a.m.; Sunday worship ll am. and 6 p.m.; Wednesday service 7 p.m. 899-7077.
First Baptist Church of Canyon
Lake, in Horseshoe Falls Estates. Sunday school 9:30 a.m.; worship 10:40 a.m. and 6 p.m., nursery provided.
St. Paul United Church of Christ, »
South Main & FM 78, Cibolo * Church school and worship at IO*
Unity Center of Practical Christianity in San Marcos, ll
a m. Sunday Service 16870 No. State Hwy. 123 (5.5 miles from IH-35/Exit 204, towards Seguin), San Marcos, TX 78666 (512) 392-5199. Dial-A-Prayer: 512-396-LIFE (5433). Children's Class r 11:00 a.m. Y.O.U. (Youth of Unity) meet the 1st and 3rd Sunday's of the month at 11:00 a.m. Call for weeknight class schedule. Nondenominational.