E-Mails from Readers

By Matt C. Abbott
Renew America
September 19, 2007

The following are three e-mails I received in recent days.

Rosemary Jorden, of Altoona, Pa., wrote:

I just finished reading the article concerning Father Rosensteel. I am sitting here with a pit in my stomach.

I was born and raised as a Catholic in the Altoona-Johnstown diocese. Throughout the last decade, our diocese has been hit very hard with allegations of abuse by priests. At last count, I believe there are at least 25 who have been accused. One was my principal at Bishop Guilfoyle High School, Father Skupien. Another was the pastor at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, where my mother taught kindergarten for more than 20 years. A man that I attended BGHS with was abused and represents one of the most publicized cases of abuse in our diocese.

I think of the lives that have been ruined and it is heartbreaking. I find it completely appalling that the abuse in our diocese was simply ignored for so long and the abusers were just shuffled from one parish to another, allowed to continue to destroy lives. Bishop Hogan was an abomination of a man. He chose a life of being committed to God. I am not quite sure what god he worshiped, but it certainly isn't the God I worship. These men are to represent Christ. They are to set an example for others to follow. These abusers along with those who turned a blind eye are the most unchristian human beings on earth.

And now I think of Father Rosensteel. When I learned of Father Rosensteel's death and the allegations, I was completely shocked. I will admit, at first I assumed the allegations were true, just another among many. But after thinking about it, it just didn't make much sense. Father Rosensteel taught my religion class at BGHS. During his tenure there, he was known as a happy, kind man, in addition to being a wonderful teacher. He was respected and loved as a parish priest.

After reading the article, I had to re-think. Why would the same diocese that didn't care about its children care about an accused priest? He was potentially another black eye for the Catholic Church and specifically for the diocese. So now instead of taking no action against the accused, they just assume guilt and punish? That is just utterly pathetic.

I have yet to meet one person who believes Father Rosensteel was guilty of abuse. I have yet to meet one person who has uttered an unkind word about him. I pray the truth will be told. I suppose the only thing any of us can do for Father Rosensteel now is pray that he has found peace.

Thank you for publishing the paper on Father Rosensteel. I will gladly pass it along.

Geralynn Malloy, D.O., of Joliet, Ill., wrote:

A few months ago a friend of mine from southern Indiana sent me your article on the liturgical dancing fiasco that occurred at the cathedral. I live a block from the cathedral and had no knowledge this happened (as I also have a lake home down in southern Indiana and frequently I am there and out of the loop), but I was not surprised. The Franciscan nuns have been a thorn in my side for many years. When I am in town, I usually go to Mass at St. Jude, as Father Lane is solidly orthodox, reverent, and his homilies are masterful!

I wrote a letter to the bishop about that incident and about several others, one of which how the Franciscan nuns are often placing ads in the bulletin for massage and reiki "therapy."

My three children went through Joliet Catholic Academy, which is under the Franciscan banner. The experience there really undermined anything I had taught them of their Catholic Faith, and they are all currently functional secularists. I was a little "asleep at the wheel" as I was in medical school and residency at the time and a single mom (also battling cancer), so I was not paying close attention to what was being taught, unfortunately. But by the time my youngest was there, I questioned his religion teacher about why she was teaching contraception in his religion class. She looked at me in shock and ask, "Don't you want your child to be protected?" So, this is partly why I am irked by the Franciscans. Her statement to me summarizes really the non-catholic current of thought that pervades the institution.

Kevin Johansson, of South Africa, wrote:

I was not aware of Father Richard Rohr's views. I run a counseling program here in South Africa, Journey to Wholeness. We do not bring personal views of Father Rohr into consideration, but being a Christian organization, we are careful of our material. We love homosexuals as human beings, but we condemn the act as sinful, same as we would for a heterosexual committing adultery.

We run a program for homosexuals called Living Waters, by Andrew Comiskey. I was just looking up any latest developments for Father Rohr when I came across your article. I am not Catholic, but I do work on Catholic projects and attend many Catholic retreats. I am perturbed by the slow integration of New Age teachings; I myself come from a Buddhist/New Age/Occult background, and I am very aware of how they can become mixed into our modern day spirituality.

Once again, thank you for your article.

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic columnist with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Management from Triton College in River Grove, Ill. He is the former director of public affairs for the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League and the former executive director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee. He was a contributor to The Wanderer Catholic newspaper and had numerous letters to the editor published in major newspapers, including the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun-Times. He can be reached at


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