Where in the World Is Bishop Thomas Dupre?

By Warren Mason
The No Gray Zone [Massachusetts]
November 7, 2005

As 2005 comes to a close it is disheartening, yet all too predictable that little has changed within the cocoon like world of the Catholic hierarchy.

The 2004 indictments and subsequent dropping of child rape charges against Massachusetts Catholic Bishop Thomas Dupre certainly points to the inadequacy of most states laws to deal with such heinous offenses. Indeed it was only after the public outrage over Dupre's not so great escape that Massachusetts legislators have begun to act, ever so slowly.

Just as troubling and perhaps more telling is the Catholic hierarchy's apparent ignorance to the whereabouts of their wayward bishop and their total lack of concern for what he may still be doing.

Bishop Dupre resigned as leader of the Springfield diocese almost two years ago, on February 11, 2004. He resigned only after being confronted by the Springfield Republican with what Hampden County District Attorney William Bennett termed "credible accusations" that Dupre repeatedly raped two young boys over many years in several states, and Canada. To this day Dupre has never denied the accusations, pleading the 5th to a civil grand jury.

Jarringly, he phoned one of his alleged victims, and then took off for St. Luke's Institute in Maryland, otherwise known as Pedophilia U., where he spent at least the next nine months. From there on the trail runs cold. Is he still at St. Luke's? Is he roaming the country looking for new marks? How much does he continue to cost the Catholic laity that continues to close their eyes as they drop their money in the basket? Only the Catholic hierarchy knows where Dupre is hiding and they're not telling. God forbid they actually deal with one of their in house pedophiles!

Within the Catholic cocoon Dupre remains a Bishop in good standing, a prince of the Church, receiving all the benefits and privileges that come with that title. He is neither reviled nor disgraced by his brethren.

Indeed he is listed on the diocesan website with the lofty title of Bishop Emeritus.

Where is the righteous anger the Catholic hierarchy is always ready to unleash on others, yet seem so averse to bring down on their own brethren? Where is the moral imperative we have every right to expect from our religious institutions?

This is a Catholic hierarchy that has come to understand the seriousness of child abuse only after being threatened with criminal action; a Catholic hierarchy that removes the pedophile from ministry, yet continues to harbor him in the name of safeguarding our youth; a Catholic hierarchy that continues to pay the abuser with parishioner's funds and has the gall to call it charity.

Isn't it charity when you reach into your own pocket and not someone else's?

Ask the hierarchy where Bishop Dupre is and you hear only silence. You begin to understand the obvious -- These so Church leaders have neither the will nor the moral sense to keep track of their coddled criminals.

The Massachusetts grand jury that convened to review the accusations against Dupre knew of the difficulty in prosecuting him, given the archaic Massachusetts laws governing the statutes of limitation for child abuse. Yet they still chose to indict him due to the overwhelming evidence, the heinous nature of his alleged crimes, and the hope that other states might be able to move forward with charges.

Surely during the past 19 months the Diocese of Springfield must have done something to investigate this abuse? Surely Bishop Timothy McDonnell, Dupre's successor must have felt moved to protect his flock from this potential danger and ongoing embarrassment?

In short, they've done nothing!

Apparently they are leaving it to the Vatican, which after only 500 hundred years of reflection, grudgingly recognized Galileo's theory that the earth revolves around the sun.

"He has no canonical relationship with this diocese. Bishops are answerable only to the Holy See and the Pope." said Diocesan spokesman Mark Dupont in a Berkshire Eagle article from last year, confirming that they have no concern as to where he is or what he's up to.

Why do I always picture Pontius Pilate washing his hands when I hear this kind of babble?

Funny how this same diocese claims a canonical relationship with all it's abusive priests as an excuse for paying them, but claims no such relationship with their Bishop Emeritus, who they also continue to pay!

They use their inane Canon Law as if it was Silly Putty, molding it to fit their ever changing message.

"It's always disturbing when a dangerous man evades the law because of a technicality. It's even more disturbing when an allegedly celibate, trustworthy Catholic bishop, who has molested kids and enabled other clerics to molest kids is nowhere to be found," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Catholic hierarchy can be heard loud and clear when the topic of abortion or gay marriage is brought to the fore, yet they are tellingly silent when the protection of our youth is on the line.

Apparently doing the right thing only applies when it doesn't involve one of their own!

Just keep dropping those checks in the basket. You can be sure the Bishop Emeritus will keep cashing them!

Warren Mason is a Massachusetts-based writer whose social commentary has appeared in numerous newspapers.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.