… in that if I find out a priest or friend has caused scandal in the Church, I am not going to sweep it under the rug or act as though it didn’t happen. I say this because I just found out that a friend of ours who has stayed at our home has a sordid past which certainly alters our friendship, to say the least. Fr. Joseph Skelton, whom we first met on one of our many missionary trips to the Philippines recently plead guilty and was convicted of sexual abuse while in the seminary in Detroit in the 1980’s.
Since I have hosted him in our home, interviewed him on radio and introduced him to friends, I must now have the integrity to tell what I’ve just discovered even though it breaks my heart. I do so for the safety and awareness of others. I have no evidence that this sin continues to this day, but knowing similar situations, it could be, and therefore I am telling what I know to keep a clear conscience and to maintain my own integrity. I had to do the same thing with Bishop Kamal of Jerusalem about a year ago.
This is not a situation that effects only Catholic priests. It is far worse in Protestant circles and in public schools. One only has to read the sad story of Patty Bonds. It is not a Catholic problem; rather it is a human problem. But the media loves to target Catholics and put them in the headlines even though the problems are much greater in other circles. This fact however, certainly does not condone perverts in our midst. This is one reason I will always speak what I know to warn the faithful and to help put a stop to this kind of scandal.
REMEMBER: The Church is like a ship (the barque of Peter) taking us across the seas to the Celestial City. No one promised their wouldn’t be problems on board, that the crew would always be holy and perfect. We were told there would be sheep and goats, wheat and weeds. We can expect storms to swell and toss the ship.
What we ARE promised is that the ship WILL get to the other side. For me and mine — we will stay with, and love the ship no matter what. We will trust Jesus that the gates of hell will never prevail against the ship and we will make it to the shores of eternity in one piece.
Seminarian convicted of homosexual abuse of teen, then ordained in another country
Archdiocese blasted over 2 predator cases (Detroit Free Press)
Group blasts archdiocese for not publicizing abuse cases (Detroit News)