Priests Most Wanted by Leon J. Podles

Priests Most Wanted

At the spring meeting of Touchstone’s editors, James Hitchcock observed that whenever a priest is exposed as a pedophile, no one ever says, “He was distant and formal,” or “He was an old crank.” The priest is always “warm” and “pastoral.” He is often said to be “charismatic” and “caring” and “accessible” and even “exciting.”

A priest I had met around 1971 was arrested for child abuse recently in Westminster, Maryland. His parents had helped me found the Charlottesville, Virginia chapter of Birthright. Brian was in a religious order at the time, but he later switched to the archdiocese of Baltimore. Many people close to him regarded him as otherworldly. I thought he was odd. He once told a story (which he thought funny) of how he had had a home Mass and one of the participants had given the consecrated Host to her dog.

Everybody loved Father Brian. He was a real entertainer, described in a newspaper story as “a charismatic priest and extemporaneous preacher who used unconventional methods to involve his congregation in the Gospel.” He celebrated sunrise Mass on Easter with balloons tied to each pew. He walked newly baptized babies around the church to be applauded. And on more than one occasion, he ended Mass by dancing down the aisle or by playing a kazoo. Even one of his victims admitted, “He has a naturally attractive personality, very outgoing. Everybody loved Father Brian.”

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Leon J. Podles holds a Ph.D. in Old English and Old Icelandic from the University of Virginia and is a senior editor of Touchstone. His latest book is Losing the Good Portion: Why Men Are Alienated from Christianity (St. Augustine's Press, 2020). He and his wife Mary (author of the Touchstone column "A Thousand Words") are the parents of six children. He resides in Baltimore, Maryland.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more on ministry from the online archives

32.1—January/February 2019

Role Reversals

Sex, Women's Ordination & the Rejection of Hierarchy & Equality by James A. Altena

32.4—July/August 2019

Pastor Prime

on a Steady Presence in an Unsteady World by Preston Jones

33.5—September/October 2020

Killing Homicide

on Missing Fathers & Redemption in Prison by Bob Perry


more from the online archives

29.2—March/April 2016

Family Phases

The History of Family Strength in America May Reveal Good News by Allan C. Carlson

32.4—July/August 2019

A Case of Win-Win

on Probability, Death & the Existence of God by Graeme Hunter

23.2—March/April 2010

Job’s Progress

on Maturity for a Rising Generation by Peter J. Leithart

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00