But just one month after [Father Donald] O'Connor was permanently removed from any public ministry, he was sent a letter from the diocese chancellor asking if he was "in need of mass stipends...just let us know the number you would need...and a check will be issued every three months."
The payments from something called a "restricted funds account" to Father Don O'connor show the priest/abuser handled hundreds of families' mass intentions and was paid thousands of dollars before he died- despite being officially "removed from ministry."
That is one viewpoint. Now consider this . . .
"We'll do whatever the priest needs. We facilitate care for priests, so we still have priests in this country who have been accused of sexual abuse and whether they are guilty of the abuse or the sin or they're not, we will help them in whatever ways they need help," said Joe Maher, president of Opus Bono Sacerdotii.
"If you are an accused priest you're not going to find a job too many places. I mean, what do you put on your resume? So they're offering Mass and praying for people who really need prayers. And it's a very good thing for them, and it's good for the church," said Maher.
Recently, while speaking to one of the Handmaids of the Precious Blood, one of them related how a priest came to offer mass at their monastery, one who had been receiving treatment at the facility run by the Servants of the Paraclete. In his sermon he detailed what he had done - and it was enough to make the sister, a US military veteran, squirm uncomfortably, thinking, "Okay, whoa - this is pretty heavy."
But, the priest was offering Mass earnestly and yes, it would be therapeutic for him. I do not think pedophile priests should be "returned to ministry" in the sense of placing them in a diocese. In fact, many I suspect are unrepentant and, to be blunt, a bitchy queen has no place wearing a Roman collar whether or not they have molested children, and I would want to see such men laicized.
If a priest is repentant and is struggling, prayer is an important part of his routine. When offering Mass, he is acting as an alter Christus because at any given time, that priest you see at the altar can be a broken, sinful man. We all participate in the Holy Mass at one time or another as robotrons, there simply because we're there, rather than commit our full senses - and we are still better off for it. Same with priests.
A friend shared this with me after reading this:
One of my dear friends is a priest. In the early 2000's we talked about the scandal. He said: “I’m going to say this one thing, and then I’m not going to say anything else.”
“I’ve heard their confessions.”
And I thought, “You mean, they’re sorry?”
Somehow it made a difference to me.