'Another casualty of the lavender mafia'

Matt C. Abbott
April 15, 2006

Mary Ann Kreitzer of Les Femmes and the Catholic Media Coalition sent out the following (slightly edited) e-letter regarding the resignation from the priesthood of Father John Nesbella:

When I read this article, I wept. Father Nesbella came to the abortion march in Washington, D.C., a few years ago. A friend of mine, Karen Torres, was near him in the crowd. He held a crucifix and prayed the rosary the entire time. Karen didn't know his name, but wrote a letter to The Arlington Herald, and the editor, Mike Flach, wrote an editorial on the 'mystery priest' seeking his identity. Flach wrote a subsequent article that identified the priest as Father Nesbella. Here's Karen's description of the day, taken from Flach's editorial:

Torres said at the center of the group (which included several Christendom College students) was a young priest who led the rosary while holding up a heavy wooden crucifix. The priest recited the Divine Mercy Chaplet and 'faithfully, calmly and courageously' recited all the prayers on a special pro-life handout.

'I never learned (the priest's) name,' she said. 'I would like to write to him and tell him how deeply impressed we were by his courage and calm as we all descended into hell together.'

Torres said the crowd in the street 'went crazy' at the sight of a crucifix and roman collar, coupled with the recitation of the rosary. 'It was too much for them,' she said. 'Women naked from the waist up (except for NARAL stickers) came as close as possible to the priest to scream obscenities and block sight of the crucifix with their signs promoting sex-ed.

'Young men skipping hand-in-hand stopped to ostentatiously give each other big sloppy openmouthed kisses. One enraged man began banging his sign hard against an oversized poster of a baby in the womb, attempting to topple it and possibly its holder,' Torres said.

'One man who appeared to be quite serious told us repeatedly that he worshipped Satan and was putting a curse on us. Over and over again we were told that Jesus hated us, God was pro-choice and we were bad Christians who were going to hell.

'But the most hated and attacked target was the priest,' Torres said. 'For major portions of the march, we could not hear the rosary over the microphone, even though we were only five feet away. At the sight of the priest and his crucifix, people cursed, taunted and chanted slogans, but mostly they just screamed and shrieked incoherently. Between the decibel level and the hate, that sustained screaming was unnervingly like a tidal wave coming at you.'

Despite having the worst verbal abuse directed toward him, Torres said, the priest never lost his calm or prayerful focus. He exhibited 'patient compassion' in the face of unremitting hate.

'In my 47 years I have never witnessed a better example of grace under pressure — better known as courage — and I would like to write and tell him so,' Torres said.

What the pro-abortionists and homosexual activists couldn't do, drive this good priest out, the Lavendar Mafia running the chancery accomplished. This is the legacy of evil bishops like Joseph Adamec. Father Nesbella was being persecuted in Altoona because he dared to condemn homosexual behavior. The bishop reprimanded him for distributing literature about the diseased deathstyle of sodomy. Father Nesbella was another priest who could kiss being a pastor good-bye. Maybe you criticize him for giving up. I can't. How steadfast would any of us be in his situation? We need a diocese with a bishop who offers men like Father Nesbella sanctuary.

The persecution of good priests is an on-going scandal to the Church in the United States. If you aren't angry about it why not? If you give one red cent to bishops who persecute good priests, you are part of the problem! The only thing these bishops (and their homosexual priest underlings) love is money. They use it to build or renovate mansions with climate-controlled wine coolers, $5,000 beds, put in marble fireplaces. These men see the priesthood as a career where they are CEOs with bottomless expense accounts. Stop enabling them.

Give your money to the Missionaries of Charity, a contemplative order of sisters like the Poor Clares, crisis pregnancy centers, pro-life politicians, and ministries that directly serve the poor (preferably one you have direct involvement in and know doesn't misuse the funds). If you can't give to your parish without paying the diocesan assessment, then give in-kind donations like flowers, paying the phone or electric bill.

Write to the apostolic nuncio about this shameful situation in the United States. If things don't change we will find ourselves with a higher and higher percentage of homosexual clerics running what's left of our disintegrating Church in the U.S. As Father John Hardon, S.J., said so often, the Lord promised the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. He never promised the Church would survive in a particular country or diocese.

Father Hardon predicted that entire dioceses would disappear in the U.S. He also said only a handful of bishops were entirely faithful (six) and only about 60 others were 'mostly' faithful. I would like to think the situation has improved since 2000, but with many bishops indicating they will continue to ordain homosexuals despite the new Vatican document, can anyone be very optimistic?

Fight like your life depends on it. Your spiritual life, and that of your children, may! Write to:

Most Rev. Archbishop Pietro Sambi
Apostolic Nuncio
3339 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic journalist and commentator. He is a columnist for and/or contributor to RenewAmerica.us, TheConservativeVoice.com, MichNews.com, Catholic.org, Opeds.com, and Speroforum.com. He can be reached at

© Copyright 2006 by Matt C. Abbott


The Tribune-Democrat

Citing anti-gay stance, outspoken priest quits


CNHI News Service

LILLY— Even after a priest sexually abused him when he was in high school, John Nesbella of Lilly came back to the church.

And when Nesbella became a priest, and his strong stance against homosexuality in the priesthood drew venomous mail from his colleagues, he kept the faith.

But now, at age 43 and after being banned for the past year from publicly performing any priestly duties, the outspoken and controversial Cambria County priest is taking off his collar.

John Nesbella has resigned from the priesthood.

“This is the end of a sad tale of how wicked so-called Catholic priests and bishops drove me and a few other priests out because we dared to speak up about the corrupt brotherhood of homosexuals in the priesthood,” he said.

Officials at the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese declined to comment on Nesbella’s resignation.

“It’s a personal decision,” diocese spokesman Rob Egan would only say.

Nesbella has been a conservative standard-bearer and a favorite of conservative lay leaders in the diocese.

In 2005, Nesbella was the second Altoona-Johnstown priest in three years to be placed on a leave of absence for protesting diocese policies.

Before him, James Foster, an outspoken Ebensburg priest who often locked horns with Bishop Joseph Adamec on the issue of homosexual priests, was placed on leave in 2003.

Nesbella was placed on leave after suing the diocese, claiming abuse by a priest who is now deceased. That lawsuit is still pending.

His resignation from the priesthood follows more than four years of turbulence in the diocese over allegations of sexual abuse of minors by gay priests.

Since the sex scandal erupted nationally in January 2002, the Altoona-Johnstown diocese has settled 13 lawsuits for $3.7 million. More than a dozen sex-abuse suits are pending.

Before that, the diocese’s single major sex-abuse scandal was the 1994 trial of since-defrocked priest Francis Luddy, who was accused of sexually abusing young boys.

But Nesbella sees homosexuality in the priesthood as more than a financial liability.

He calls it “the immoral mess we have in our church” and says he warned Bishop Adamec.

“Last year I met with him and said, ‘You’re wrecking the church,’ ” Nesbella said in an interview Tuesday with The Tribune-Democrat.

“He sat there quietly, listening. And I hoped he’d take it seriously, but he has not,” Nesbella said.

Now, the former priest says he remains in Lilly but is looking for a job and considering eventually going into ministry with the Eastern Catholic Church, which is more conservative than the Roman Catholic rites.

Nesbella traces his disillusionment with the church back to his high school years, when he says he was abused by a priest.

“This drove me out of the church for 10 years, but I came back and decided to become a priest,” he said.

“Then I went to seminary in Baltimore and found myself surrounded by openly homosexual priests. It’s something I didn’t think was there, and it really shocked me,” he said.

That is the root of Nesbella’s differences with Adamec and other American bishops.

“The pope has come out and said that homosexual men are not to go to seminaries, but a whole bunch of American priests don’t care what the pope says and keep ordaining them,” he said.

“They are part of the church’s sex-abuse scandal,” he said.

“I come forward and say I was abused, and I say that homosexuals should not be ordained as priests, following the pope’s instructions, and I get kicked out.”

Perhaps the most hurtful moment for Nesbella since he was ordained in 2002 came the following year, when he was one of three Altoona-Johnstown priests to receive hate mail from a self-described “priests federation” that demanded an end to “harassment of homosexual clergy.”

“So after I’m ordained, I get this hate mail saying other priests are pro-gay and they don’t want men like me who are traditional,” Nesbella said.

“So this is a thread that goes back 20 or 30 years,” he said.

“The underlying problem is that bishops disobeyed the church, and seminaries became filled with homosexual men. Now these men are in their 60s and are church leaders,” he said.

“They have brought ruin and chaos to the church.”

Nesbella blames Vatican II and the resulting liberalization of Roman Catholic rites and customs.

The Eastern Catholic Church is one of 22 different rites under the pope, and Nesbella is eyeing a future there.

“Their liturgy and Mass are different. It’s more focused on God, and the Mass is much more beautiful,” he said.

For now, Nesbella wants to stay in Lilly while he looks for a job, but then will probably leave the Altoona-Johnstown area.

“When I went into seminary, if someone would have told me what I would find there and later inside the church itself, I would have said they were nuts,” he said.

“But eventually the others drove me out of the priesthood. They didn’t want me there because I was too traditional. The way I look at it is that they got what they wanted.”

Susan Evans can be reached at 471-6778 or sevans@tribdem.com.

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.

John Nesbella of Lilly was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 2002 but was placed on leave in 2005 by the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese for protesting diocese policies. Robert Paul/For The Tribune-Democrat

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