Sunday, August 2, 2009

Archbishop Carlson: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire

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Archbishop Carlson of St. Louis Addresses Congregation Following Arrest of Priest
Aug 01, 2009 |
Archbishop Robert Carlson has only been at his post in St. Louis a few weeks and today, he took the lead at the first mass at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church since Father James Patrick Grady's arrest on Wednesday.

After the mass, Archbishop Carlson greeted parishioners outside the church. Then, he took questions from reporters.

Archbishop Carlson said he does not remember if he's met James Patrick Grady. I asked if he has spoken with the pastor in the last few days. Archbishop Carlson told me that he sent a message to Grady through another priest: saying that he was praying for Grady, for the parish and would be addressing the parish on Saturday.

I asked Archbishop Carlson if he received a response from Grady. The archbishop replied: no.

While media was not allowed to listen to mass inside the church, the Archdiocese provided us with the text of the homily the archbishop prepared.

I've pasted the full text below:

TEXT OF ARCHBISHOP ROBERT J. CARLSONS HOMILY

St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church

Knowing you would gather for Mass this afternoon, I made plans a few days ago to be with you. And hopefully todays gospel will be a source of comfort and strength for you as we gather in prayer for this parish community.

We are a Eucharistic people, and the Bread of Life discourse in todays readings reminds us that Jesus is with us always in moments of great joy and in moments of great sadness.

This past week, the local news reported that your pastor Father Grady was allegedly involved in a serious breach of his priestly commitment and pastoral responsibility. I have suspended him pending the outcome of the investigation and court process, and in the very near future I will appoint a new spiritual leader for this community.

Once we learned that he had been arrested, we sent a letter to all of the registered members of the congregation and notified every parish where he served of the charges against him. Following his release on bond, he has now been placed in a secure and monitored location.

As the Apostle Paul said, In Him who is the source of our strength we have strength for everything. When someone loses focus, even a priest, there develops a disconnect and we forget that Jesus is the only sufficient source of nourishment for us. We turn in on ourselves and sometimes make very poor choices - choices that hurt others, hurt the Body of Christ and hurt our own well-being.

I know some of you are hurting --- some of you are scandalized -- some of you are embarrassed and therefore it is important for me to be with you -- I come to apologize on behalf of the Church and hopefully help you as a parish community to begin the process of healing.

I will be available after Mass to talk to you and, to the extent I can, answer your questions. I realize that I have only been among you for a short time, but I stand shoulder to shoulder with you. We will get through this challenging time and we will continue, with Gods help, to heal and to grow toward the Father who loves us and Jesus Christ His Son.

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