Letter: Leising did not waver, even under great pressure

Buffalo News

December 26, 2018

I want to extend – on behalf of many – a warm and heartfelt welcome back to Msg. Frederick Leising, fondly known as Father Fred. In November of this year, the Buffalo Diocese placed Father Fred on administrative leave as a priest, due to an allegation of sexual misconduct that had been made against him. At the time, this seemed abundantly false and totally out of character for a man who has served so many so faithfully as a priest for 47 years, in his roles as teacher, pastor, celebrant, counselor and consoler. Thankfully, the diocese has expeditiously and fairly reviewed the case, and this week has removed him from administrative leave.

As a Catholic, I am appalled and heartsick over the predatory actions of those priests who abused their positions of authority and trust. It is shameful that bishops acted to protect the institutional church rather the innocents to whom such incalculable harm has been done.

Yet, in an effort to finally atone for the actions of pedophile priests, I am afraid that the Diocese of Buffalo may be erring on the side of caution in a way that can destroy the careers and reputations of good priests who may turn out to be innocent of charges made against them. If we really believe that someone in this country is innocent until proven guilty, we need to fully accept back into the community those who turned out to have been falsely charged.

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