" We Are All Dealing with Dysfunctional Secrets"
Anti-Abuse Group Protests outside Pleasanton Parish over Appointment of Pastor with Arrest Record for Lewd Conduct

California Catholic Daily
November 13, 2007

Members of the Northern California Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) distributed flyers at a Catholic parish in Pleasanton on Sunday, Nov. 11, to protest the appointment as pastor of a priest who was arrested in 1999 for lewd behavior.

On Jan. 1, 2008, the Rev. Padraig Greene will take over the leadership of the Catholic Community of Pleasanton, a parish cluster including St. Augustine's and St. Elizabeth Seton's Catholic churches. On Sunday, Northern California SNAP director Joey Piscitelli and others were at St. Augustine's to alert parishioners of Fr. Padraig's past.

Piscitelli told the Nov. 12 San Jose Mercury News that Greene's appointment is "a red flag for us as a survival group. We're also worried the bishop of Oakland would make him the top man in Pleasanton."

Piscitelli said Oakland police arrested Greene in 1999 for performing lewd acts in a restroom, according to the newspaper. The current Pleasanton pastor, Fr. Dan Danielson, told the Mercury News that Greene underwent counseling in St. Louis after the arrest, that no minors were involved, and that the charges against Greene were dismissed. Danielson told the newspaper "there's no official record of this at all. [Greene] has done wonderful work after that very dark moment in his life."

Greene's wonderful work presumably includes his Family Care Ministry, which he began in Ireland in 1988. The Jan. 17, 2004 Hayward Daily Review said Greene worked as principle of a boys' school in the west Ireland Elphin diocese, but grew tired of it. His bishop encouraged him to study family ministry, and Greene earned a Master's in family ministry at Fordham University in New York. He returned to Ireland to found the ministry, which has had a place at Pleasanton's Catholic Community since 1999.

The Daily Review called Greene the program director of Pleasanton's Family Care Ministry, a support ministry for the bereaved, those who have undergone a divorce, need marriage counseling or preparation, or who have a homosexual son or daughter. The program uses lay ministers who have gone through the program themselves.

A lay participant working with engaged couples in the program told the Daily Review that the Pleasanton parish "is a lot more progressive and open. We have many members who aren't even Catholic. You won't find another parish like it." A co-director of the single-mothers' group noted that "the Catholic Church in general is evolving. There has been a gradual change within the last 10 to 15 years. The church is much more open now." The director of the divorce and separated group explained that, "traditionally, there is a stigma attached to divorce. But at our group, we provide a safe haven to grieve and heal. It wasn't like that in the old days of Catholicism."

"Many people come to us feeling shamed by the fact that their son or daughter is gay or that their marriage has failed," Greene told the Daily Review. "They feel shame and pressure from their family and society. We are all dealing with dysfunctional secrets. We are all God's children, and we help them to see that."


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