The Dark Side of Faith: Analyzing Which of the Three Catholic Entities Acted the Worst

Adam Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale, FL]

March 5, 2024

By Adam Horowitz Law

In the somber landscape of crimes within the Catholic Church, the case of California’s Fr. Mark Kristy emerges as a distressing emblem of institutional failure. The responses (or lack thereof) from multiple Catholic entities in the wake of Fr. Kristy’s crimes invite stern scrutiny. But among these, who bears the heaviest onus of guilt? This analysis endeavors to untangle the complex web of accountability or lack thereof.

You Be the Judge: The Entities in Question

The narrative of Fr. Mark Kristy is not just a tale of individual malevolence but a reflection on the systemic inadequacies within the Catholic Church. The implicated entities include the Diocese of Sacramento, the Diocese of Santa Rosa, and the Wisconsin-based Discalced Carmelite Friars. Each played a distinct role in this harrowing saga, and together, they constitute a triptych of ecclesiastic negligence.

The Sacramento Diocese: A Delayed Reaction

The Sacramento Diocese’s handling (or mishandling) of the reported crimes against Fr. Kristy is a point of contention. Knowledge of Fr. Kristy’s offenses since 2015 and his arrest in 2021, juxtaposed against their actions (or the lack thereof) paints a picture of delayed justice. It was not until January of this year that Fr. Kristy found his name on its ‘credibly accused abusers’ list, a move that begs the question: why the delay?

The Santa Rosa Diocese: Vague Notices and Late Acknowledgements

The Santa Rosa Diocese’s approach was no less troubling. Aware of Fr. Kristy’s 2021 arrest, their response culminated in a vague notice posted in December 2023, followed by a belated addition of Fr. Kristy to their ‘credibly accused abusers’ list in January 2024. This reticence and the ensuing justification by Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa, who claimed he was “trying diligently to stay in my lane,” raise serious concerns about the prioritization of jurisdictional boundaries over moral duty and victim safety. But the Santa Rosa Diocese has been no stranger to abuse and cover-up controversies.

The Discalced Carmelite Friars: A Question of Accountability

Perhaps the most damning indictment falls upon the Discalced Carmelite Friars. Their continued financial support to Fr. Kristy, advice to “leave the area” post-arrest, and refusal to publicly acknowledge proven, admitted, or credibly accused clerics on their platform illustrates a disturbing evasion of accountability. Keep in mind: Not only did northern California Catholic officials apparently receive a direct, in-person report of this priest’s abusive actions, but Fr. Kristy ADMITTED to the allegations. Although the Santa Rosa and Sacramento Dioceses have provided, albeit inadequate, lists of abusers, the Carmelites’ outright refusal sets a troubling precedent.

Reflections and Revelations

The narrative of Fr. Mark Kristy, far from being an isolated incident, adds to the alarming continuum of clergy sex cover-ups. It serves as a stark reminder of the scandalous reality persisting within the Catholic Church and the ostensible gap between the promised reforms and their actual implementation.

As we delve into the disturbing realities of the Catholic Church’s handling of abuse cases, it becomes evident that the systemic rot of negligence and cover-up pervades multiple echelons of the institution. The case of Fr. Mark Kristy is not just a testament to individual malfeasance but underscores a broader institutional failure to protect the most vulnerable.

In attempting to discern the “worst” entity among the implicated, we find ourselves entangled in a moral quagmire where accountability is diffused and justice, elusive. It behooves us, therefore, not just to single out entities for condemnation but to demand systemic change within the Church. The fight against clerical abuse necessitates not just accountability but a foundational reformation of the Church’s approach to safeguarding its flock.

Let us not forget that at the heart of this issue are the victims, whose cries for justice and healing must not be drowned out by the cacophony of institutional deflection. It is incumbent upon us all to stand with the powerless against the powerful, echoing the biblical admonition of siding with “the least of these.”

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization sexually abused you, contact us today at 888-283-9922 or to discuss your options today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.