Ed’s column on Fr. Haley unfair says reader

I believe your From the President’s column in the Fall/Winter issue presents an unfair picture of Bishop Loverde and our diocese’s treatment of Fr. Haley. Maybe your admitted anger at the bishops in their handling of priests who are pedophiles has biased your comments. [Ed’s note: Almost all the priests were homosexual pederasts who abused adolescents, not pedophiles.]

In the first place, you mention that the diocese fiddled and did nothing when the Fr. Verrechia affair became known, but forgot to mention the important fact we did not have a Bishop for a year when this first became known because of the sudden death of Bishop Keating. To expect a fellow priest temporarily running the Diocese to take major disciplinary action…is unreasonable.

You also say Fr. Haley was subpoenaed to testify in the lawsuit brought against the Diocese in the Fr. Verrechia case, but the Diocese says Fr. Haley was not subpoenaed…but volunteered to testify against Fr. Verrechia on his own.

You say Fr. Haley has no place to live, has no employment, and has had his priestly faculties suspended while the two Pastors in parishes where Fr. Haley was assigned and were publicly accused by Fr. Haley of possessing pornographic material are still active priests living in rectories. You failed to mention that Fr. Haley is still being paid by the Diocese a priestly salary and the Diocese is still paying his medical insurance premiums. You also failed to mention that Bishop Loverde has removed both Pastors from their parishes and demoted them.

You also failed to mention that some of Fr. Haley’s actions are in fact immoral. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 2477) states that respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. It also says that a person who publicly discloses another’s faults and failings to those who did not know them commits the sin of detraction. Fr.

Haley’s practice of publicly revealing the sinful behavior of fellow priests that is private information is in itself sinful behavior, regardless of what might be his honorable intentions. Fr. Haley did the right thing by going to Bishop Loverde with his findings, but absolutely has no right to go public with this information. It is Bishop Loverde’s responsibility to investigate the charges and take appropriate action. If Fr. Haley thinks the Bishop is not taking appropriate action…he could take this problem to the Papal Nuncio. Based on the knowledge that we have, it appears to me Bishop Loverde has handled this whole affair quite well.

I do agree with your closing comment that we must pray and fast for our bishops and priests. We must also strive daily to learn and practice our Catholic Faith better, and to set a personal good example by living our lives with holiness. Roger Dolak, Vienna

Ed’s reply: When I wrote the column the full case history had been published in The Washington Times, The Arlington Catholic Herald, and in two letters from the bishop read from the pulpit. When I asked Mr. Dolak his sources he cited these. My purpose was not to rehash events, but to point out the inequitable treatment to the respective priests. Fr. Haley’s deposition came ten months after his revelations to the bishop. One pastor was removed for financial irregularities; the other was still in place and might be yet except for publicity generated by Roman Catholic Faithful. Did the priests receive counseling? No matter, it’s insufficient for such grievous offenses. My column did not canonize Fr. Haley, but I’m grateful to him that the pastors are gone. I wish the bishop had removed them without the scandalous publicity. Porn-addicted priests endanger the faithful, particularly children, and must be removed. The risk is simply too great. Also, I did not say, and do not know, whether the two priests remain “active.” I certainly hope not.

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