The prominent NY friar who caused a boatload of controversy after he came to the defense of priests who have been caught in sex scandals with underage boys (claiming that oftentimes, the priests are “seduced” by teens) has apologized for his comments. Father Benedict Groeschel of the conservative Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, who also expressed sympathy for “poor guy” Jerry Sandusky, released a statement saying, “My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be.”
I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone.
The Rev. Glenn Sudano, one of the founders of the Friars of the Renewal, told the NY Times that the remarks might have been the result of Father Groeschel’s advancing age, failing health, and the aftereffects of a near-fatal 2004 car accident in Orlando: “Poor Father Benedict,” he said. “It is painful for us, seeing someone who was so much an advocate and a defender for the underdog, say that.”
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