Saturday, September 21, 2013

Caught in the Act: Priest Abusing 15-Year-Old Boy

Priest caught abusing 15-year-old boy
His Bishop: “Gee, I don’t know what the four medical leaves of absence were for in his career as a priest”.

A Catholic priest in Pennsylvania has been charged with molesting a teenage boy after police said he was found in a car on a college campus with a 15-year-old who was wearing no pants, according to a police criminal complaint filed Friday in Lackawanna County.

The Rev. W. Jeffrey Paulish was charged with one felony count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one felony count of unlawful contact with a minor after Dunmore police say they found him and the boy on Thursday in a car on the Worthington Scranton campus of Penn State University, according to the complaint.

According to the CNN report, “the teen seemed emotionally distressed”. When Pope Francis was alerted to the incident, he shrugged and said, “who am I to judge?”

Of course, I made up that last Pope Francis quote, but one can just hear him saying that. On a more serious note, the Rev. Joseph Bambera, the Bishop of Scranton said in an official statement:

"I wish to acknowledge how unsettling this is to me personally and to countless others, that yet again a priest has been involved in such inappropriate, immoral and illegal behavior," the Bishop of Scranton, the Rev. Joseph Bambera, said in the statement.

However, according to, Paulish has been on four medical leaves of absence since being ordained in 1988. I’m wondering what “Bishop Bambera” knew about those four medical leaves of absence.

On Mark Shea’s blog, there is indignance, as Shea reported “Oh yeah, well, it’s not so bad because some school teacher somewhere is probably abusing another 15-year-old boy, and the Holy Church is still Holy because this does not affect any doctrine.” 


  1. When the pope said, "who am I to judge?" he was pretty clearly in context referring to cases when someone was repentant of a sin. He wasn't thinking of cases where someone is caught in the act of a crime. I wouldn't have thought you to be the sort of person who would so uncritically accept the media spin on that quote.

    1. I know what the spin was about. And his comment wasn't necessarily in the context of someone who was repentant. I've already written about CCC 2359, as a license to "gradually" (or not so gradually) "approach Christian perfection".

      This pope's words are giving comfort to the John McNeils of the Roman Catholic Church.

    2. Aside from that, what did the Bishop know, and when did he know it?

    3. THAT is the question. The authorities should haul the "bishop" in to ask.

  2. John Bugay wrote, “his comment [‘who am I to judge’] wasn’t necessarily in the context of someone who was repentant.”

    His comment about not judging others was juxtaposed against “[c]rimes [which] are something else.” And “the abuse of minors,” he said, “is a crime.” “Who am I to judge” referred to the person who has the propensity towards homosexual sin and who seeks God’s mercy and grace, for us to not have a condemnatory attitude towards such people.

    John Bugay wrote, “I’ve already written about CCC 2359, as a license to ‘gradually’ (or not so gradually) ‘approach Christian perfection’.”

    To “gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” means that we should not expect instantaneous perfection or even great leaps in this direction as typical in our struggle against sin, but that we should expect, as typical, an incremental growth in our sanctification that can be observed and obtained over time even amongst setbacks. But even though it be gradual, there must also be a resoluteness about it. It does not say “gradually and lackadaisically.” It says “gradually and resolutely.” I know that this is what you believe about sanctification as well. The CCC paragraph is a statement of hope for the struggling.

    With love in Christ,

    1. Right Pete – I’m taking a “cynical” “interpretation” here, except, you know what? There are lots of Roman Catholics who are even more cynical about this:

      Robbie writes:
      Like many, I'm disappointed in the way things have gone recently. I'm glad Francis has been able to reach many disaffected liberals through his presentation, but I fear he’s doing it at the cost of the conservatives. At this point, I think the Pope speaks far too much and his off the cuff style promotes confusion.

      Or how about this:

      The Church needs to emphasize that it is a hospital for sinner and they are always welcome inside. I agree completely. But if this is not done very, very carefully, you end up with rogue priests teaching outright acceptance of homosexuality and abortion. You end up with homosexual outreach groups that are used as dating clubs.

      Consider: that was a couple of Roman Catholics there. The second is saying that this pope is “the occasion for sin”.

      Someone commenting on one of the Reformed boards calls this pope “the gift that keeps on giving”. He is certainly dismantling a great deal of what JPII and Ratzinger tried to do, with respect to the liberals from Vatican II.

    2. So are four medical leaves since 1988 and now an arrest "setbacks " on the way to "Christian perfection"?

      This priest will probably be defrocked now that he has been caught in public. That's the real problem here for the RCC, this was public.