Peter Roell

Peter Roell
Location
Cathedral City, California, USA
Birthday
June 13
Bio
Born June 13, 1948 at Green Point Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. Attended All Saints Catholic School, Brooklyn, New York; P.S. 78, Bronx, New York; Sts. Philip and James Catholic School (Class of 1962), Bronx, New York; Cardinal Spellman High School (Class of 1966), Bronx, New York; University of California, Berkeley, California (BA degree in Fine Art, 1969, MA degree in Fine Art, 1971). View art at: http://www.artbyroell.com/blog and http://www.artbyroell.com

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JUNE 4, 2010 2:09PM

Is Confession Good for the Soul?

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 I am about to relate a first-hand account of inappropriate sexual contact by a Roman Catholic priest.  The two incidents involved me personally and the same priest.  Now, before you continue on in the hope of reading some salacious or lurid tale, you should stop here because what I am about to recount is insignificant compared to the rape, sodomizing or molestation of an innocent child, but I will relate a story that, in my humble opinion, is one more indication that the Roman Catholic Church seemingly acts as though it is above all laws, customs and mores regarding the (inappropriate and potentially criminal) actions of its’ priests. 

Both incidents involve the same priest, and about whom, I was told had several instances of poor judgment regarding both his sexual proclivities, including the possession of child pornography, masturbating in public, and his poor stewardship of the monies donated to the local Church. 

One day while walking down the main corridor of the central administrative building of a large diocese where I was working, I saw a priest who I had met before, we greeted one another, and he embraced me and simultaneously grabbed my gluteus maximus firmly and vigorously with both hands.  I was shocked, and as soon as I returned to my office, I told my associates what had happened.  That same day I saw another priest and upon telling him what happened he merely said oh that is just how (he) is!

Several weeks later, in my official capacity, I had to meet with the same priest who previously groped me.  We were to discuss some work within his parish that I might be able to assist him with, but during lunch, in a public restaurant, he reached under the table and grabbed my genitals and made a very explicit and suggestive comment.  At this point, I told him exactly what I would do if he did not immediately remove his hands.  He did, I told him that I would not be working with him, paid the bill and left the restaurant.

Upon returning to my office, I reported this and the previous incident to the appropriate church official for the diocese, and was clearly asked to leave it alone since this matter was already being addressed.  I was never contacted nor asked by anyone within this diocese about these incidents ever again.  It is my understanding that this particular priest eventually retired with full benefits and subsequently past away.

So why bring this up now?  Well, I hope that this serves as a small illustration of the fact that it appears, at least to me, that even when there is a report of inappropriate sexual contact initiated by a Roman Catholic priest towards an adult who is credible, articulate and highly respected within the local church - by clergy and laity alike - the Church’s preferential action is to ignore it, ask those involved to trust that they will take care of it, but in fact, apparently  just ignore the situation by neglect, and hopefully, it goes away.

I will never forget this hypocrisy nor will I ever forget that the individual violated could have been a child or young adult incapable either developmentally, intellectually or emotionally of the cathartic benefits of writing this article.  So is this confession good for my soul, I think not as long as the Roman Catholic Church keeps this type of behavior in the shadows, harbors and protects those offending priests, and fails to fully and actively work with the local civil authorities to bring every offender to justice.

Oh yes, to the Vatican hierarchy – please stop whining and saying that complaints like this are just manifestations of a disgruntled person.  Accept the fact that they are manifestations of those who are sick and tired of your apparently valuing a criminal above the welfare of an innocent child, young adult or person with the Christ-like courage to speak up!  An open and public confession would be good for your soul!!!

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside, are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Matthew 23:25-28     

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