Cleansing Fire

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Fr. Dennis Shaw Suspended Over Sex Abuse Allegation

December 12th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Dear readers, we are now able to elaborate upon and confirm the report from last evening that a Rochester priest has been suspended over allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Fr. Dennis Shaw, an active priest and parochial administrator of Holy Family church in Auburn, has been suspended by the Diocese of Rochester for abuse allegations that date back to the 1970s during his assignment at the now-defunct St. Francis of Assisi church. Fr. Shaw has been administrator of Holy Family church since 2005. His previous assignments include Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. Francis Xavier in the city.

Most readers may remember Fr. Shaw best for his dissenting comments against the Holy Father, the hierarchy, conservatives, and the Church in general (see Fr. Shaw tag to right). Regardless of one’s personal feelings toward this man, he is in his hour of need, and he should receive our prayers. I ask you all to pray for the Lord’s comfort upon Fr. Shaw, as well as the alleged victim.

I understand that this is an emotionally charged time for many, so I must ask that our readers avoid posting the following types of comments. If any of the following appear, they will be deleted or edited ASAP:

1) Any sort of celebration over this situation. While one may have liked to see this priest removed for his dissenting comments, I am sure nobody would wish accusations like this upon a fellow child of Christ. These accusations could remain with him for the rest of his life. Please show respect.

2) Any judgment placed upon him, or assumption of guilt. Let the investigation take place.

3) Any attack on the Catholic Church or the priesthood. Keep that garbage for the liberal media discussion boards where the anti-Catholics will have a field day.

4) Any accusation that the Catholic Church or conservatives are at fault as part of some kind of conspiracy. I do not want to see blame thrown around. If he is guilty, then the victim deserves peace. If he is innocent, then he deserves to be free of this accusation.

5) Any attack on the alleged victim

Please keep Fr. Shaw and the alleged victim(s) in your prayers. May God’s will be done.

Update 10:12 PM – The diocese has issued a press release available here.

Update 12/13/2010 – The story has been picked up by the Associated Press. Click here to see the report on the Wall Street Journal site.


Note: If you need to report a sexual abuse allegation to the diocese, then please contact Barbara Pedeville at 585-328-3228, ext. 1215 (toll-free 1-800-388- 7177, ext. 1215), or by e-mail at: pedeville@dor.org . Dealing with sexual abuse allegations is something that Bishop Clark and the diocese have done well in recent years, and they should be able to help you deal with your problem. Thank you.

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95 Responses to “Fr. Dennis Shaw Suspended Over Sex Abuse Allegation”

  1. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    We need to pray for Fr. Shaw, and for an end to child abuse in all its forms. But most important are the prayers for the victims, that they may find strength through Jesus.

  2. avatar Diane Elizabeth says:

    [Deleted by moderator]

  3. avatar Dr. K says:

    Diane, I had to delete the comment. If he is guilty, then it is possible he will be excommunicated or defrocked. We just don’t know yet.

  4. avatar Diane Elizabeth says:

    — In the most serious and clear cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, the doctrinal congregation may proceed directly to laicize a priest without going through an ecclesiastical trial. In these instances, the final decision for dismissal from the clerical state and dispensation from the obligations of celibacy is made by the pope.

  5. avatar Dr. K says:

    I know, but it’s still an allegation. Let the investigation unfold.

  6. avatar Bernie Tomasso says:

    I am a Holy Family parishioner and can look at many of the good things Fr. Shaw has done, particularly being the impetus for a homeless shelter in Auburn. I did not always agree with his views but know that he loved God and his parishioners My prayers are with him, our parish, his former parishes, his family, and particularly the victim and their family.

  7. avatar Anonymous says:

    One of Fr. Shaw’s strong points is the way he admits his struggle with alcoholism. It has encouraged many parishioners to get help for their own addictions the way he did. Apparently the time of the alleged incident was during the time when he was drinking heavily and before he sobered up. One question: I understand the issue of removal from ministry but where does forgiveness come in?

  8. avatar rose bartolotta says:

    We are shocked. All my family loves Fr. Dennis and stand behind him. His homilies were the best, very thought provoking. Because of him we actually looked forward to Sunday mass. Our prayers go out to you and family.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    To Anon 6:31: If the allegations are true, it would be up to God and the victim to forgive Fr. Shaw. He would have to cease all priestly duties, and get help. If there is one thing that we can’t overlook, it’s the abuse of an innocent child

  10. avatar Anonymous says:

    Father Shaw is the only priest I’ve ever met who truly is a man of the people. The dor has made no secret of it’s dislike for his ‘politics’. He speaks & writes what many Catholics feel. I do not believe these charges against him. Whatever the real story is, it took place during the time frame of his alcoholism. I look forward to the whole truth being told. Father Dennis, I, for one, will follow you where ever you choose to minister and I believe that there are many who will do so. Keep the faith Father, our love & prayers are with you.

  11. avatar Sister Emily says:

    I realize abuse does exist but this must also be very difficult for other Priests in this Diocese. A Priest in good standing may very well be afraid to put themselves in a postion to meet with someone in private in fear of false accuations. It seems like a lot to ask of them these days.

    LET US PRAY!

  12. avatar Anonymous says:

    Thanks for asking for prayers for Fr. Shaw, whom I do not know, and for asking people to presume his innocence unless he is found guilty. Priests have had a major injustice done to them with a zero tolerance policy because we can be innocent of any crime of which we are accused and yet if we are accused of anything, we are automatically presumed guilty without any evidence of proof of any misconduct. I applaud you and thank you for your approach to this sad situation. Let’s hope that Fr. Shaw is innocent and that the stigma that is now attached to him will go away after a time.
    Father Frank Fusare, CPM

  13. avatar Dr. K says:

    Thank you everyone for being civil about this. It is truly a sad day. If you have any good memories or words to share about the priest, feel free to post them.

  14. avatar Anonymous says:

    Really, her name is PEDEVILLE?

  15. avatar Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with one of the “anonymous” writers about DOR never accepting Fr Dennis.
    I have total respect that he spoke openly and honestly about his opinons. I had broken away from the church for quite some time, it was Fr Dennis who made me “want” to go to mass each week. Aknowledging so many of us before mass and then asking us from the alter each week, “how are ya?” He would even ask for a football or baseball score! He is a TRUE person, not a phoney. His sermons were sincere and always interesting. I never saw a congregation fall apart the way they did this past weekend after being told about Fr Dennis had been removed from our parish. I feel as tho a family member has died. [This portion removed because it attacks the alleged victim] I know of another Auburn priest that was ousted because of an unbelievable matter. He was sent away from Auburn, put on administrative leave for a while, and guess what—was then given an even bigger parish to be pastor!!!! Of course, this priest was meak and mild and did just about anything that Bishop Clark asked. I don’t know why I am typing all of this, most likely it will not get posted! I have always loved my Catholic relgion, but I am so upset right now, I have no desire to ever enter a church again. Thanks, DOR

  16. avatar Dr. K says:

    I am so angry at so many — including the “victim”. Why did it take 40 yrs to come forward? Must be the “victim” is at the age now where a nice bundle of $$$$ is looking good. I am truly sorry if you really were “victimized”, but now after all this time, why??

    Be careful with attacking the alleged victim. I am often suspicious of people who report crimes years after they happen, but that doesn’t mean they are being dishonest.

  17. avatar Anonymous says:

    Father Shaw is one of the most sincere and compassionate priests that I know. He truly practices what he preaches and leads by example. “Credible” allegations do not equal guilt. We do not and may not ever know the details. He is truly deserving of our prayers.

  18. avatar Jim says:

    I remember attending Fr. Shaw’s ordination, and also that of his brother Gary, who left the priesthood to marry, several years ago. Although I haven’t seen Fr. Shaw for over thirty years, I do remember that he was a really good priest who was well loved by those who knew him and were served by him. I will pray for him and for his family at this difficult time.

  19. avatar Sister Emily says:

    ANON.10:38. It crossed my mind as to what motivates people to come out and accuse after 40 years. I have to remind myself I am not the one to judge but how sad it is indeed that in a matter of seconds your life can be destroyed if you are guilty of abuse and also if not guilty but accused. Then again I don’t know what it is to be a victum either.

    This is very very sad.

  20. avatar Glory says:

    Father Dennis Has been nothing but good to me and my family….all i have to say is that he is the BEST priest i have ever met, and like many have posted…he was a REAL person. never pretended to be better than anyone…I will stand by him ALWAYS!!!!!!!!

  21. avatar Matt says:

    Has anybody else noticed that all of these positives all sound like you’re describing a buddy from the gun club, rather than a spiritual father and teacher? The fact of the matter is that he’s not up in the sanctuary to say hi or to talk football. He’s there to offer the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I hate to be the voice of reason, here…but I’m not convinced that profane concerns like baseball or football scores during Mass are something to be lauded.

  22. avatar Anonymous says:

    I am from Rochester NY. Father Shaw married My wife and I at St Francis. I can only hope he is innocent. I have always had much respect for him. May the Lord guide us to the truth.
    Robert M. Paternico

  23. avatar Anonymous says:

    In response to Matt – let me provide the reasons to be lauded. I am honored to call Father Dennis Shaw friend and spiritual guide to my family. He does not talk about ‘profane concerns’ DURING a mass, but at the time before the opening prayer at which many priests welcome their congregation and all there. This humble servant of God is not comfortable with formal welcomes and such, but wants to make everyone feel welcomed there, so ‘hi, how are you?’ always precedes ‘let us remember we are in the presence of God’ before the opening prayer. My pre-teen son LOVES to attend mass because of Father Dennis. He understands those beautiful homilies and relates to them as we do. Their conversations always end with ‘Are you talking to God? Good. Is He talking to you?’ Why not, listen harder, I know He is.’ I trust him with my only son implicitly, and pray for both Father Dennis and for the person who believes he hurt them all those years ago. With the Church’s zero tolerance policy Catholic priests have become the only people in our country guilty before proven innocent. It’s a tragedy for all, victims and clergy alike.

  24. avatar Anonymous2010 says:

    Unfortunately, the rochester diocese is run by a bunch of phoney people, that are contradicting to there words! Lets see we have Barbara Pedeville, on of clark’s cronies, that just does all his dirty work for him! then we have sister joan over at the once nice St. Anne Church on Mount Hope that was once one of the best place to attend mass on weekends, however clark destroyed that when he let fr. frank lioi leave there, even though fr. lioi wanted to stay! Then you have Rev. Foster Rogers that was in Auburn at St. Alphonsus Church for many years, loved by all the parishioners and people, again clark put Fr. Lou Vasile at the parish, and moved rogers on to Chili- I am sure he knew about all the allegations of this priest, nothing done!!! Then we have Fr. Conrad Sundholm another FINE priest, loved by all his people, and did soo much for Holy Family church, again another one burnt by the Rochester Diocese! [This portion removed because it attacks the alleged victim] Fr. Shaw was a comfort to me and my family during my fathers entire illness, fr is the type of person who goes above and beyond! he is not afraid to say what he wants and feels! unlike most in this diocese of rochester who are phoney’s!!! including clark and all his cronies who cater to him! I know this posting might get deleted as the truth hurts!!! [This portion removed because it attacks the alleged victim] our entire church has been uprooted and destroyed since John Paul II passed away!!! it is terrible- then people wonder why so many are leaving the faith!!!!! we need more priests like fr. shaw, fr. sundholm, fr. rogers, and Fr. Antinarelli, Fr. Lioi!!!! there are too many phoney’s out there!!! And good to you anonymous for adding that blurb about that auburn priest who got removed!!!! he was Robert Beligotti- he was at st. francis church auburn, he got a little slap on the hand- then was out at our lady of mercy in greece, and YET aqain got removed from there!!!! Kudos to you Matthew Clark!!!!

  25. avatar Anonymous says:

    Remember people, Fr. Shaw is accused of sexual abuse of a minor. He’s not accused of stealing a Milky Way from Wilson Farms. If he is guilty, then he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This is a major and serious accusation.

  26. avatar Rone says:

    I the Rone feel that Fr Dennis is one of the best priest that I ever met. I can not understand how after 37 years someonee would come out and say this But if its true He should go to jail.

  27. avatar Holy Family Parish Member says:

    As a member of the Holy Family Parish I am, as are many of our church members, saddened by the loss of Father Shaw. He was and is a great leader, teaching all who he encountered to make a change in our community and to take written scripture and apply it to our own lives in the here and now. We will all greatly miss his homilies and pleasant spirit. Our thoughts and prayers are with him today and always! God Bless

  28. avatar Anonymous says:

    Why are you choosing to edit/remove comments that disparage the accused and not those that attack and/or question the accuser? I refer specifically to Anonymous2010’s comment, “These victims of these soo call crimes, wooo is me, they want to come forward 10, 20 30 40 yrs later- again where were the parents, at the time?????” and “I dont feel sorry for people who wait 10-20-30-40+ yrs to come forward as they are sniffing $$$$$ gain! it is disgusting!”

    I agree with the anonymous poster at 9:55 who reminds us that this is a serious accusation, not a petty crime. In respect to all victims and survivors of sexual abuse, as well as those who are falsely accused of committing such heinous crimes, I would recommend that you delete those comments that place the blame on the victim. We do not know the veracity of the claim until a full investigation has been completed. Respect all those involved and let the Church and the State do their work.

  29. avatar Dr. K says:

    I can not understand how after 37 years someonee would come out and say this But if its true He should go to jail.

    I don’t know if there are any legal experts reading right now, but can he go to jail if the alleged incident took place around 30-35 years ago?

    Also worth noting that in the diocese’s statements they claim they have already investigated, and as a result, they felt the allegation was “credible.” I wonder if the suspension will be permanent even if this does not go to trial.

    Why are you choosing to edit/remove comments that disparage the accused and not those that attack and/or question the accuser?

    I just got to my computer right now. These comments have been removed.

  30. avatar Anoymous2010 says:

    AGAIN I AGREE TOTALLY THAT THIS IS A CRIME ABUSE OF A MINOR- HOWEVER ONCE AGAIN I SAY- WAS THERE PARENTS SLEEPING? NOT BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR THERE CHILD? OR WHERE THEY NOT EDUCATED ENOUGH TO REALIZE THAT A CRIME WAS COMMITTED- IF IT TRULY WAS!!! In my eyes it is Fr. Dennis word against the alleged victims!! It seems to me we condemn and convict these priests before they even have a word to say!!! [This portion has been removed because it attacks the alleged victim] Again PEOPLE- LETS NOT JUST BLAME FR. SHAW- LETS LOOK AT MATTHEW CLARK, AND ALL the previous bishops who for years sat by and allowed this soo called abuse happen! [This portion has been removed because it attacks the alleged victim]– the statute of limitations on these alleged crimes- have expired! AGAIN 9:55 a.m. post- THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FROM the 1970’s has EXPIRED!!! the alleged cant wait 30 yrs to come forth! PEOPLE WAKE UP SMELL THE ROSES!!!! this is 2010 now!!! Let’s start holding the bishops, cardinals and the POPE responsible for sitting on these allegations for YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS!!! PLEASE PEOPLE!!!!GET REALISTIC!!! and to the person who made the holy than thou art comments about fr. dennis cracking a joke and talking sports on an occassional MOMENT GET WITH THE CENTURY PEOPLE!!!!! WHY DO YOU THINK WE HAVE THE PROBLEMS IN OUR CATHOLIC FAITH TODAY????????

  31. avatar Anoymous2010 says:

    AND FURTHERMORE- I COMMEND FR. DENNIS for his Outspoken WORDS On the Approval of Homosexuality!!!!!! OUR POPE BENEDICT 16th SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HIMSELF FOR HIS TASTELESS COMMENTS AND TERRIBLE constent NEGATIVE WORDS AGAINST OUR lESBIAN, WOMAN, HOMOSEXUAL Members of the faith! THE QUESTION IS WOULD OUR LORD IF HE WAS IN OUR MIDST TODAY APPROVE OF ONE OF HIS LEADERS, making terrible innappropriate comments about one another? OUR LORD LOVED EVERYONE- No matter there,race, nationality, who they were- etc. IF WE LOOK ON THE TERRIBLE COMMENTS MADE- they have ONLY COME DURING BENEDICT REIGN- which hopefully wont be much longer- as he is aging!!! God bless him- but he IS CERTAINTLY NOT WHAT OUR CHURCH NEEDS TODAY!!!!!!!!THE FACT that the catholic catechism continues to describe homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered” is not only a egregious insult, it might offend our lord and saviour who ultimately died on a cross for us!!!Nobody has the right including a priest to condemn any “GROUP, JUDGE ANY PERSON, OR declare a person guilty before they have there day in court! shame on you people!!!!! Again people refer to the NEW YORK STATE CHARTER OF LEGISLATION section on the statues of limitations on crimes committed! this diocese- has no business- letting people like BARBARA PEDEVILLE or MATTHEW CLARK’S cronies- obtain discovery or investigate credible allegations! these matters should be handled by the diocese legal council or a credible investigation firm!!!

  32. avatar Dr. K says:

    You raise good points in part one of your comment, but it could very well be that the alleged victim has been keeping the incident it to themselves all these years. We must be patient and see what happens.

    I’m not going to comment on part 2. The Church’s teachings on homosexuality should be quite clear by now.

  33. avatar Matt says:

    LOOK AT ME, I HAVE CAPS LOCK!

  34. avatar Anonymous says:

    Has he been arrested? Do these cases go to trail? Do we ever hear from these Priests again? Do they get to respond to the charges publicly or does the DOR step in and make a settlement to make this go away? Does the DOR give marching orders to the Priest so we will never hear both sides? I know you are all going to jump on me, but if this is 40years later why is the alledged victims identiy protected. They are mature enough to come forward and accuse I would think being forthright would make it more credible.

  35. avatar Anonymous says:

    All, I was a victim of abuse not by a priest but by a family member. It took me 24 years to tell my family what happened. We do not know why this person did not report it earlier, but I know that it took me a while to say anything to my family as I knew it would cause great hardship. Plus I was ashamed at what happened as I was 13 at the time and I don’t know about you but it is pretty hard to talk to your parents about your first crush much less what happened to me. I do not know the priest or the alleged victim but I do know that reading these comments have brought back a lot of pain for me. I did not look for money from anyone all I was looking for was a simple “I am sorry.” I however never did get that from him. Reading the comments on here are some of the same comments I got from my extended family and continue to get. Just as I prayed for my family member every night I will pray for the Priest and alleged victim in this case. Thanks for listening.

  36. avatar Ink says:

    Anon 2:20, thank you for a little breath of reason.

    As for anyone who likes to instigate, point fingers, start flamewars, or otherwise be uncharitable in any way:
    1. Caps Lock is not cruise control for cool.
    2. Write your post. Say a prayer to the Holy Spirit. Take a deep breath. Get some warm tea. Re-read your post. If it sounds nasty in any way, don’t post it.

    Love,
    Ink

  37. avatar Louis E. says:

    That anyone can DENY that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered is an egregious insult to human reason.But I wonderm,who is sending all the Holy Family parishioners who admire Fr. Shaw to Cleansing Fire,when they have never been in evidence before?

  38. avatar Matt says:

    google, that’s who…

  39. avatar Anonymous says:

    I commend those who have stepped forward to put a cap on the madness in these posts. Anonymous at 2:20, I thank you for your courage in posting. I am sorry that these comments have caused you to relive some painful memories.

    All, I urge you to act with respect towards the dignity of the individuals involved in this situation. Currently, only God, the accused and the accuser know for certain what has happened. While we are free to hold our opinions, we must respect that fact and act accordingly.

    I am disgusted by those that would damn the accused before an investigation. I am equally disgusted by those that viciously attack the credibility of the accusing party. If true, what they have experienced is horrible enough. Foul commentary on the reasons for the victim coming forward make one complicit in their abuse.

    If reading this website properly, the purpose of this blog is a call to return to the truth of the faith. It is a celebration of what has made us truly Catholic and a mourning for where we have strayed. This is not a venting space for hatred. I encourage all readers to take that seriously.

    And as for the statute of limitations, there is a five year limitation on claims of abuse. However, while NY courts have been reluctant to adopt such inclusions, there has been a significant body of legal evidence that brings the start of the statute of limitations to the point that the abuse is recognized or remembered. This is due to the sensitive nature of the crime of sexual abuse against a minor. Yes, the statute has passed. However, the accuser has every right to bring their account to light. And yes, the accused has every right to a fair and balanced investigation.

    I pray for all of those involved. I pray for our Church and for Christ’s love to surround all of us during this time.

  40. avatar Anonymous says:

    This is especially for Matt and Lou who obviously are not members of Holy Family Parish in Auburn. My heart goes out to anyone who has been abused, and I do pray for them. Like so many others have posted, we do not know all the circumstances involved yet, probably never will either. Matt, if you had ever attended one of Fr Dennis’ masses, you would be greatly enlightened to hear him say “how are ya” and “anyone have the latest score on the game?” You would feel instantly welcomed and a feeling of love among the rest of the congregation can be felt. Matt, this is the 21st century, women don’t need to cover their heads anymore in church! So many young people especially have turned their backs at the church—can’t be bothered or don’t have the time. Fr Dennis changed so much of that and brought back the younger generation because he made them feel so welcomed. Any type of abuse is pathetic and should never be tolerated, but I can mention something even more heinous that happened to an Auburn priest—(I’m sure this will get deleted) how would one feel knowing your “confession” to a priest had been divulged by that priest to his friends outside of the church??? Well, folks, it happened! Yes, the priest was removed from that parish, got a slap on the wrist and now is pastor of a huge parish!! I guess it all depends on who you are and where exactly you lie on Bishop Clark’s “good-boy/bad boy” list! When does he retire—-NOT SOON ENOUGH!!!!!

  41. avatar Anonymous says:

    ANON.2:20PM.thank you for your post. You are very brave to come forward. Certainly you should have had an apology, I am sure it would have helped you heal but I can’t help but think the Priest involved was instructed to have no contact with you. Unfortuately this is a very greedy society and some people will use the court system for personal gain and that makes too many people hesitant to believe true stories and pass judgement when we shouldn’t.

    Don’t let this situation consume you and haunt you with past memories. Our Lord knows what is true and just. He will take care of you.

  42. avatar Justice says:

    This has touched a nerve in the community. See the D&C:

    http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20101213/NEWS01/312130009/1003

    @ Sister Emily: Do some reading about post traumatic stress disorder

    I would highly recommend the book: TRAUMA AND RECOVERY – The aftermath of violence-from domestic abuse to political terror (and priestly sexual abuse)

    If all the bystanders accept the abuse as okay then you bury the abuse until a time when society has come forward publically about the abuse. It was safe for the victim to come forward. The accusation is “CREDIBLE.”

  43. avatar Dr. K says:

    Do these cases go to trail? Do we ever hear from these Priests again?

    This varies from priest to priest. Some priests have their cases go to court, are found guilty, and remain on permanent suspension. Some end up defrocked if the charge is serious enough. Some are found innocent in court and return to priestly ministry (the priest in Brockport is an example). Some have their court cases drag on for 2-3 or more years. We don’t know what’s going to happen. The charge sounds very serious in that this involves the physical sexual abuse of a minor, so whether he is innocent or guilty, you may not see him return as an active priest for at least a couple years. I have not heard that he has been arrested. I’m sure if he was, the news media would report on that.

    To Anon December 13, 2010 at 2:20 PM-
    Thank you for telling your story. Some have been too quick to attack the alleged victim without stopping to think that perhaps this abuse really did happen. How would you all feel if you were abused by a priest and everyone lashed out at you if you reported it because the priest was well-liked by parishioners? Try to step into the other person’s shoes for a moment.

    I wonderm,who is sending all the Holy Family parishioners who admire Fr. Shaw to Cleansing Fire,when they have never been in evidence before?

    As Matt said, many are coming from Google. Cleansing Fire was #1 or 2 for the search term “Fr. Dennis Shaw.”

    Fr Dennis changed so much of that and brought back the younger generation because he made them feel so welcomed.

    It is also possible that “the people’s priest” like him drove so many away over the years. When he started his ministry in the 70s, our churches were still very full. Look at them today. I’d rather my priest be a priest instead of a friend.

    I guess it all depends on who you are and where exactly you lie on Bishop Clark’s “good-boy/bad boy” list!

    What reason do you have to believe that Fr. Shaw is on the bad boy list? If you sift through his various writings, you’ll notice that his progressive vision is far more inline with the beliefs of our diocesan leadership than most priests of this diocese. It’s a surprise he wasn’t named Cathedral rector given who our bishop is.

  44. avatar Abaccio says:

    @ ANON 4:04 You said “Matt, if you had ever attended one of Fr Dennis’ masses, you would be greatly enlightened to hear him say “how are ya” and “anyone have the latest score on the game?” You would feel instantly welcomed and a feeling of love among the rest of the congregation can be felt. Matt, this is the 21st century, women don’t need to cover their heads anymore in church! So many young people especially have turned their backs at the church—can’t be bothered or don’t have the time. Fr Dennis changed so much of that and brought back the younger generation because he made them feel so welcomed.”

    1) I would argue, rather, that I HAVE been to TONS of Masses where I was “welcomed.” It annoys me. Happy Clappy Kumbayah “Catholicism” that focuses on the community rather than on Our Lord is distasteful.

    2) I’ve long said that I’ll propose to the first girl I meet with a “Don’t forget your mantilla!” bumper sticker on her car.

    3)Young people turn away from the Church BECAUSE of this irreverent congregationalism. They take heterodox Catholicism to its logical conclusion: Atheism. Go to Our Lady of Victory some time if you want to see young people and families who are truly zealous in their faith, loyal to Holy Mother Church, and reverent as can be.

  45. avatar Matt says:

    @Abaccio:

    I feel the same way on all three points. Couldn’t have summed it up better myself.

    @DrK

    Very very true…I’m baffled by this idea that Fr Shaw is somehow on Buffalo Road’s Defecation Roster–The Bishop LIKES this kind of thing…Curran…Callan…Shaw…Sr. Sobala…

  46. I applaud The Cleansing Fire for how they are handling the news of Fr. Dennis Shaw’s administrative leave for alleged sexual abuse. I was very saddened when I heard the story on the late news last night. I do not know the situation, so I am not able to judge. God knows the situation. I pray for Fr. Dennis Shaw and the alleged victim.

    I knew Fr. Dennis Shaw from St. Michael’s Church, when I attended evening mass there on Sunday. Fr. Denny, as Fr. Deckman referred to him, was charismatic and very engaging with parishioners. Everyone loved him. He always would tell a joke every time he came to say mass. People looked forward to the jokes he would tell as well as the homily he would give. I thought that Fr. Dennis Shaw was at Aquinas High School for some of his ministry, but I did not see that listed as one of the places he had been. Fr.Denny was into sports and always drummed up business for high school students after mass,in fellowship, to sell their money-making fare toward their high school sports team. I always picture Fr.Denny smiling. He always had a beaming smile whenever and wherever you saw him. He always stopped to say hello if he saw you.

    I was under the impression that Fr. Dennis Shaw was at Aquinas High School at one time, but did not see that mentioned in the list of places he had been.

  47. avatar Dr. K says:

    Anon2010 – I had to delete the two posts you just made. I can’t have you naming names like that. These are concerns that should be taken higher up, or with the authorities.

  48. avatar Debbie says:

    Father Dennis has brought the good news to the people of Auburn, not just Holy Family. I see first hand the people that have a smile on their face when he celebrates Mass, and his greetings always end with some reference that we are here and God is here and that is a good thing.

    My heart aches for everyone, the alledged victim, Father Dennis and all of the people who have found their way back to the church because of this man. He has never been afraid to reach out to the homeless, the poor, the mentally ill, the spanish speaking community, the elderly, those with substance abuse problems, this man always looks to aid and heal everyone that enters his sphere. He is a man of the people and I don’t think I ever heard him say “no I can’t” when someone asked for his help. He celebrates mass at 10 senior citizen/nursing homes each month, travels each Sunday afternoon to a different community to celebrate mass in spanish, daily mass, weekend masses, visits to the elderly and the dying, bereavement, baptismal and marriage preparation, yes this is the job description of a priest and it seems to be an impossible job, because to do it all can only lead to BURNOUT. And I think this event has finally put Fr Dennis in burnout. He isn’t going to engage so that means what? He’s out and we are left dazed and bewildered.

    In the last 5 years that Father Dennis has been our pastor he has brought light to those that were in the dark. Some weekends between the 3 masses there are 1000 people visiting Holy Family. And I saw the faces of those people at every mass this past weekend and we all wept. Many many saints and good men and women have done bad things, if God forgave us for killing his only son is there no forgiveness for mere mortals?

    Whether the allegations are completely true or completely false or somewhere in the middle, the damage is done and the devil has had his minor victory. I hope and pray the Holy Spirit will guide all of us to a safe place because I fear this event will destory so many people that were headed toward the light of Christ because of Father Dennis Shaw.

    I know I am selfish in saying this but I miss him and I want him back.

  49. avatar Anonymous says:

    To Debbie at 8:33 pm —– you are not selfish—we all want him back! He was our parish priest, why don’t we have any kind of say? Oh, by the way, Matt—–good luck to you in finding that girl with the mantilla to marry!!! Looks like you are going to be single for the rest of your “old fashioned-thinking” life!!!!

  50. avatar Matt says:

    I know a few lovely ladies that even MAKE mantillas. Not everyone is stuck in 1970!

  51. avatar Anonymous2010 says:

    WELL It sounds like you are stuck in YEARS PAST!!! let’s get with the times and century! unlike most of our church leader’s who want to go back to pre-vatican 2!!! Debbie you are not selfish- this diocese of rochester just likes to ruin a good thing at a parish!! cause they have nothing better to do!!! Im not saying that the victims shouldnt come forward- what i just like to know is when was this incident reported? No information will ever be given to anyone i am sure of it! Fr. Will be just another good priest put down the river- condemned before he is given a chance to defend himself! Auburn is the town for scandals- it seems! St. Francis of Assisi is known for 1 scandal after another! And removing one priest after another!! I love how that parish received $500,000+ dollars from Mary gertrude cora, and they never have a mass said for this woman, and they HAVE THE DIRTY NERVE to name theRE Parish hall after fr. john nacca-who left no money to the parish!!! it’s so sad, they wouldnt have the parish hall without miss cora- no plaque or nothing to honor this fine woman!!!!

  52. avatar Anonymous says:

    I can only echo Debbie in saying I want Fr. Shaw back and I want him back now. My heart is broken. I have never known a priest that made me feel the way he did, he knew me by name and was kind and compassionate to every single person who walked in the door. He made everyone feel special. I remember going to church and thinking how lucky we were at Holy Family to have a priest like this. I used to think how one day I would have Fr. Shaw officiate my wedding. He made no secret about his problems with alcohol and he also made no secret that he was not well liked by The Bishop. He was an honest man, a priest who was human, who showed he had flaws and made mistakes but he knew that God loved him and he taught us that no matter what God loves us. I hate that no one got to say goodbye to Fr. Shaw, that no one knows where he is, no one knows how he is feeling, if he knows we are thinking of him, and no one knows if he knows what he meant to us. I hate that I don’t know if we will ever see him again. I hate that no one got to say Thank You to him for all he did. Fr. Shaw, if you ever read this know that I will always love you.

  53. avatar Anonymous2010 says:

    DEBBIE your words about father shaw- i commend!!! good job- you described father to the letter! he deserves nothing now but our prayers, understanding, forgiveness and love! he is truly the best!ANd yes fr. dennis if you read this ever-know we all care about you, and will never forget all the good deeds you did for everyone!!!!!!!!

  54. avatar Anonymous says:

    Christian1954,
    I too have memories of “Fr Denny” from St. Michaels. My family and I attended an (illicit) Sunday Mass there years ago. I was astonished to hear Fr. Shaw change the words of the consecration from “….shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.” to “….for peace and unity.” Needless to say we never attended another Mass at St. Michaels! He may be a good man but as a priest, well my children deserved better. God Bless him now in his our of need.

  55. avatar Anonymous2010 says:

    Anonymous 9:35 p.m. Just so you know- dont think for one minute that Fr. Conboy doesn’t know where Fr. Dennis is! He absolotely does!! he was the one in 2000 when Fr. Beligotti was removed- the bishop sent to do his dirty work! he might act all innocent/ and like he doesnt know anything about what is going on conboy- but believe me he knows everthing and anything in re: fr. shaw!! Clark sends his cronies to do his dirty work for him- then in a couple weeks- he will mosey along down to holy family to give the people his calm the waters speech- to pray for fr. shaw( which we should anyways) and tell the people he doesnt want any trouble/ and wants things to go smooth for the new priest that is there! blahhh blah blah blah! and we never hear another word about fr. Shaw. that’s rochester diocese for you!!!!! we can only pray and offer our prayers for fr. dennis/ parishioners of holy family for faith/ understanding in this most difficult time.

  56. avatar a victim says:

    I am (not WAS) a victim of clergy abuse. You never have closure but keep working through it. I never wanted an admission of guilt but someone to believe that it had occurred. My abuser had died by this time anyway. There is no big bucks given to you but money for counseling and usually less than $15,000.
    It took me 25 years before I could confront the religious order to which the priest belonged. I blamed myself, tried to forget about it, and even felt that somehow Fr. had not meant to do it, even though he told me that I was not the only young boy in his life. My marriage was rocky at times and I had many moments of despair until I finally sought counseling on my own and could admit the abuse to myself.
    I met with Barb Pedeville and Bishop Clark and both were very pastoral. This is part of the investigation if the abuse occurs in the Diocese, even if not be a diocesan priest.
    The Fr. Shaw that is being described by the Holy Family people is a recovering alcoholic but was an alcoholic when the abuse occurred. He was a different man then so please do not throw stones at the victim.
    The Diocese is following national guidelines, not diocesan guidelines.

  57. avatar Dr. K says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. If anyone else has a story to share, without getting specific about names or details of the encounters, please feel free to share. I think it is important we all are made aware that sexual abuse by clergy has and continues to happen, and that there really are victims even if it takes them a long time to come to grips with what happened.

  58. To anonymous: Fr. Dennis Shaw came to celebrate mass intermittently at The Sunday evening mass at St. Michael’s Church while Fr. Peter Deckman was pastor. Your concept is ironic as that mass usually drew conservative church goers. There was a cantor who chanted the psalm and other parts of the mass as well as sing hymns and parts of the mass. There was an organist who played traditional hymns and selections on the pipe organ. There also was a choir from the Eastman School of Music who came to sing at various occasions. There were guest musicians from the Eastman School of Music who came to play, and at times, with the guest choir. The altar servers were dressed in traditional garb. Large candles were lit on the altar.There was an impressive procession at the beginning of every mass with the book (gospel) given special reverence and placed on the altar. After the book was read by the priest or deacon, it was placed in a special place of honor with lit candles on either side. The Eucharist was given special reverence on the altar. There was incense at every mass.

  59. avatar suserK says:

    I know Fr. Dennis. In my heart, I cannot believe these allegations. He has been a friend, counselor and mentor to me and my three boys. I once asked him how he could be a priest when he so obviously disagreed with the way Bishop Clark handled the parish. He told me that he felt it better to try to affect change from within and walk in peace than to be angry. My prayers are going out to him and to his family and current parish.
    One more thing: I am a survivor of child molestation. Even in that, I cannot believe this about him.

  60. avatar Persis says:

    As someone who is very familiar with DOR policies as far as employees go, I have a couple of things to say about this situation.

    First of all, the DOR is not allowed to discuss personnel issues with the general public, parishoners or not, just like your boss at your secular job is not allowed to discuss any issues regarding your employment with anyone else.

    As to Bishop Clark sending “cronies” in to do his dirty work, (see post Anon2010 @ 8:45am), if I remember correctly, Fr. Conboy was the Director of the Priest Personnel Board in 2000, so it would have been HIS job to deal with personnel issues with priests. And again, parishoners are not privvy to matters of personnel issues.

    While I understand that many may feel that “we have the right to know”, actually we do not. The DOR must follow the same rules regarding employees that everyone else does.

    It sounds like the DOR is following the procedures that have been laid out by the USCCB and the Vatican in response to these allegations, and what we as the faithful have to remember is that we may never know the “whole story”. Now is not the time to judge or second guess how the DOR is handling this situation, now is the time to pray, for all involved, the accuser, the accused, the people of Holy Family, the Bishop and other priests and all the people of the DOR.

  61. avatar Anonymous says:

    I have attended mass at Holy Family for some years. I also attended bible study taught by Father Dennis. He answered many questions for us and he brought a lot of people back to the Catholic faith. People on this site who say that he was anything other than a man of God & a holy Catholic priest do not know him. I was a child in a Catholic school. My faith was badly shaken by the scandal of sex abuse by priests & the subsequent cover up & transfer of these men to other parishes. I didn’t go to church for years after the scandal broke. I too went back to church because of Father Dennis Shaw. We do not know the whole story. But I am sure of one thing, Father Dennis will tell us all when the time is right. I am praying for him & for all involved, that this is resolved soon, and that the damage done is able to be repaired. Whatever happened 40 years ago, I am certain of one thing, that now, Father Dennis Shaw is one of God’s angels.

  62. avatar Shane says:

    To Anony 5:33 pm 12/14 — beautifully said! I agree with you totally and may God Bless you as well for speaking so eloquently!

  63. avatar Anonymous says:

    What I find very interesting is that yesterday I posted a message speaking about another Auburn priest who had been removed from his parish for divulging a confession. Not one comment was made in response to that, however, when I spoke of Fr Dennis asking about a ball game score, suddenly the responses appeared and it was Fr Dennis who was the “unholy one” for asking such a question in church!!! (by the way, this was ALWAYS before mass)

  64. avatar Dr. K says:

    Ann 8:00 – The offense you describe can result in the excommunication of the priest. You would need to present this issue to the bishop, and to the Vatican.

    I have heard that a former priest in this diocese used to employ the contents of Confessions as part of his class lessons. He never gave the names of the persons involved, but that still is wholly inappropriate.

  65. avatar Anonymous says:

    Dr K,
    I am sorry, but you are unware of the situation that happened several yrs ago. Obviously it did not go before the Vatican, but it most certainly did before Bishop Clark. Names were most definately used by the priest to his “out-of-church” friends. Names and the contents of the confession were told by the pastor. There are plenty of people who are aware of this. Staff members were called one morning and instructed not to report to the rectory for work. Later members from DOR met with the staff at Sacred Heart Church to discuss the dismissal of the pastor and the reason. (Sacred Heart was not the church involved, it was merely “neutral turf” for the meeting). Those of us who knew the reason were stunned that more wasn’t done to the pastor other than admin leave. Before we knew it, he was given another larger parish! Fortunately, this pastor had the personal financial means to help him with legal fees. You know the old saying, “money talks!” Fr Conboy was involved with this, he was one of members to discuss the matter with the staff. I’m sure he and Bishop Clark and the rest will deney this, but you can give it a try. I’m not trying to make trouble, just stating the facts.

  66. avatar Dr. K says:

    It was after receiving this unsatisfactory response from Bishop Clark that a letter to the Vatican would prove beneficial. I wonder if you could have consulted a Canon lawyer for assistance?

    What you describe is disgraceful.

  67. avatar Anonymous says:

    If a priest directly reveals what he heard in Confession he is AUTOMATICALLY excommunicated. It does not take an action by the bishop. I believe the excommunication can only be removed by the Holy See. I cannot believe that a priest guilty of a direct violation of the seal of the confessional would be given another parish. Rome would probably only lift the excommunication but would suspend him from the clerical state. If information was revealed it was, at the most, indirect. (still an appalling thought, of course)

  68. avatar Anonymous2010 says:

    Dr. K i totally agree with you that the above in re: to the confession is a totally disgrace! this priest went from auburn ny parish slapped on the hand to another parish in scottsville, ny then was given another big parish in Greece- and yet AGAIN the diocese removed him because of disciplinary actions! it’s disgusting- he did all the things he did at the auburn parish at the greece parish- and the diocese did NOTHING TO HIM! this same individual would use parish funds to buy personal groceries for his personal residence, and would be seen loading his car up on his day off with such! I am aware of the policies of this diocese, however, i am stating i do believe the rules for some are disregarded!!! it depends on who, what you are! it is unfortunate that our catholic faith/ church has people who want to make $$$$ of this most terrible crimes that may or may not of happened! i am glad that individuals are receiving counseling, and help! what i as a individual person dont agree with, is someone waiting for whatever there reasons may or may not be 10, 20, 30, 40 yrs to come forth- it isn’t the individual fault- there parents, and the diocese should of been investigating these allegations MANY YEARS AGO when they received them! not waiting till we decide to open a filing cabinet- years later and decide we should do something about these most terrible crimes that may or may not of happened! Both the accuser and the individual being accused of deserve to have there say on the matter. However, i dont read anywhere’s in the NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATIVE CHARTER ABOUT anything i see here about any law being changed on the books in re: to statute of limitations! it doesnt exist! there is reference made in paper, and article but nothing more! People should have the strength and courage to come forth when the crime is committed, as then credible authorities can come forth to investigate these alligations! Dr. K i agree that this priest who divulging this confession should of been sent to rome for investigation. it’s a disgrace. And today, it was stated that 2 local holy family parishioner’s have offered to both give fr. dennis a blank check to have a lawyer investigate this allegation! i hope this happens for him!

  69. avatar Rone says:

    The release was credable that means they found proof. I also love Fr Dennis and did alot as a priest. But IF he is guilty he should go to jail.

  70. avatar pat says:

    as a member of holy family church for 50yrs,i have seen several priests come and go,and nobody ever was a peoples priest as our fr,shaw,he was comforting,funny,compassionate,caring,and would do anything for anybody day or nite,as i myself called him once at 11pm.to come to the hospital for a death,the person never went to church there,and he was there immediately,he has supported and helped our church so much among the years he was here,nobody will ever know,i want to stress,i hope and pray fr,did no wrong,we prob,wont ever know,but what ever happened to forgiveness,we were taught to forgive,i cant understand why this person came forth so many years later,but it has ruined the life of a wonderful man,and he will be missed so very much,he has done more for holy family,than all the priests put together ever did,and know what,we loved him,and do now,take care my friend father<<<always in our hearts

  71. avatar Matt says:

    You know, people do not simply get forgiven of their crimes due to good deeds…you don’t get out of speeding tickets by pleading with the cops, saying “But just yesterday I helped an old lady cross the street!”

  72. avatar Anonymous says:

    Matt 4:40..
    Jesus forgives our sins, no matter how bad they are. All we have to do is ask his forgiveness. Don’t you think we should do the same for others? Neither you nor I know the true story. And none of us are anyones judge. Why not try some compassion instead of looking for retribution. You obviously do not know Father Dennis Shaw, so why are you so anxious to condemn him.

  73. avatar Dr. K says:

    I think what Matt means is that if he committed the crime, then just because he has done some good things in his life does not mean that the American judicial system and the Church should automatically ignore the crime committed. Good deeds are not some sort of “get out jail free card” that permits a person to commit a crime and then get away with it because they have earned enough good deed points in their life.

    Obviously we do not know how God will judge a person’s eternal soul. Perhaps good deeds may alleviate the stain of other sins. We’ll all find out in the end.

  74. avatar Anonymous says:

    When a Priest is accused of sexual abuse, is it the same as if Joe Blow were accused.

    For instance an unwanted pass from a priest to an individual under 18, sexual abuse, or sexual harrassement? Kissing, fondling, from a Priest to a 17 year old, sexual abuse ,or harrassement? What exactly are you all talking about? It is a shame that any of this happened and [This portion removed because it assumes guilt before it is proven]! Parents, start teaching your children at an early age no matter WHO touches you or makes you feel uncomfortable tell and nothing bad will happen to you.

    When a Priest is faced with demons of his own and does the right thing, gets rehabed and is truly sorry for what he has done, is there no redemtion?

  75. avatar Anonymous says:

    Sorry for bad spelling.

  76. avatar Anonymous says:

    I am sorry to hear about this. No one wants anyone especially priests to undergo this. The church suffers greatly because the conduct of priests carries much more weight than that of ordinary lay people.

    The devil knows that if you attack the credibility of priests, the faithful and the CHurch will suffer.

    But I heard something on Real Catholic TV .com that associated dissent with impurity. It was quoted by now Cardinal Raymond Burke. Unfortunately, his words may prove true.

    Pray for all priests, especially the dissenters and pray for Bishop CLark.

  77. avatar Bob says:

    As we pray for our bishop let us also pray for our next bishop – known only to God

  78. avatar caritas says:

    I too, had a confidential matter exposed by a priest. As a devout and practicing young Catholic woman and virgin in my late 20’s,was raped by someone I was seeing at that time, just before Christmas. It had a devastating effect on me and I couldn’t bring myself to discuss it. When a concerned woman saw me crying profusely, days afterward, she managed to get me to tell her what happened to me. She then told me to talk to a priest.I eventually mustered up the courage to talk to my parish priest regarding this very serious traumatic matter of utmost confidentially. He wasn’t much consolation as he told me I wasn’t a virgin any longer, which is a devastating thing to tell someone after they have been raped. Additionally, after that counseling session, I was met by very inappropriate, hurtful remarks from some of the young men in the choir of which I sang. The young men were relatives (and it was a family tradition to sing in the choir). The young men were going on a camping trip and asked if I would come along and be their concubine. That almost threw me completely over the edge. I suffered tremendously. I found out the young priest went out to a local bar with the young men from the choir. I suspected that he told them my confidential devastating counseling session as there was no other way they could have known. I confronted that priest and he openly confessed to telling those young men choir members about my rape. He didn’t think anything of it. It was obvious he could not grasp the severe relevance of the situation. He told me he was just trying to get some support for me. I told him how upset i was that he told them and how they had plagued me as a group with cruel and vulgar remarks. I finally confided in a male friend from church to what had happened to me and to how my very personal confidential counseling session got revealed to the young men in the choir who went out drinking with that priest. I also told them how those young men reacted to me. He thought the whole thing was terrible and added that the young men in the choir, in question, who he knew, were not christian.It someone cheapened the whole concept of the heinous devastating victimization of epic proportion, (which had me contemplating whether I wanted to live anymore),done to me by telling fellow drinking buddies at a bar. I tried to continue to go to church there and sing in the choir, but after continuing to suffer emotionally and spiritually from those young men in the choir, chose to go elsewhere to church. I deemed it was not healthy to be in that situation any longer. I was glad that I made that decision afterward as I met true Catholic Christian choir members and prayer friends elsewhere, as well having better spiritual guidance and support.

  79. avatar Nerina says:

    To all those who have shared personal and painful stories, please know that so many on this board will be praying for you. Caritas, your story is simply tragic. I am so thankful that you remain Catholic and am thankful that you have found good spiritual support.

    It is clear that Fr. Shaw has many parishioners who care for him deeply. That is good, because he will need the love and support of his friends and family during this trial. What is also clear is that he seemed to be a very “pastoral” priest, which, frankly can mean any number of things.

    Looking at some of his comments from previous parish bulletins, I have to wonder what exactly he was teaching his flock. His comments indicate that he was very anti-Pope, anti-Church, pro-contraception (? pro-choice), pro-women’s ordination and very supportive of a homosexual agenda. I can accept that he was friendly and kind and the stories about him going to the hospital to visit sick and dying people are certainly commendable. But beyond that, it seems like the commenters here are in danger of following a man, and not Christ. Christ is the one who gave us the Church and it is Christ, through the working of the Holy Spirit, who continues to guide Her. The Church is the “ark of salvation” yet it seems like some of Fr. Shaw’s admirers are more interested in being in a life boat helmed by a charismatic priest and not in the vessel charged with ensuring our collective salvation.

    Progressives or liberals or non-Traditional Catholics are not the only ones at risk. Fr. Maciel is a traditional/conservative/orthodox example of the same dynamic (though admittedly on a grander scale than Fr. Shaw). I have no way of knowing whether or not Fr. Shaw is guilty. I do know that the timeline makes little difference to the victim (see the above comments for heartbreaking testimonies).

    This is another sad reminder that our Church continues to suffer because of the abuse scandal. Like having a wound debrided, the only way we will ever heal from this scandal is to continually expose and treat the infection. Mother Mary, pray for all of us.

  80. avatar Anonymous says:

    I met Father Shaw only a couple of times, but I thought he was one of the good ones. He has a much more realistic view of the needs of humankind than many priests, but, as an abuse victim myself – though not from the church – I hold no sympathy for any abuser. we are all human, and we all have our needs, and yes, our sins, but taking advantage of a child is an issue of power and control. I hope, and I hope not vainly, that the charges are false. Father Shaw has much to offer – much more that the current Pope or the conservative groups within the Church.

  81. avatar Anonymous says:

    This entire situation is just terrible. I am praying for all victims that have posted as well as others. This has been very depressing to continue to read. I must tell you it has
    made a difference on how I feel about going to confession. It makes me wonder if I should only go to Priests who don’t know me. If you can’t trust a Priest who can you trust? I also wonder what non Catholics think of this very public matter. Why is it so much more news worthy when a Priest falls from grace than a minister of another faith? They just get fired and move away.

  82. avatar Abaccio says:

    Tell me, Anon 1:59:

    Why exactly do you feel the need to attack our sovereign pontiff? Why is your political bend shining through, as if the one Church Jesus established was merely a political organization? If your focus is on the salvation of souls (and if that is not your focus, why precisely do you claim to be a Catholic?), I do not think you can say that Fr. Shaw has more to offer than Benedict XVI. That, my good anonymous friend, is nothing but ignorant pontificating.

  83. avatar curmudgeon says:

    Well said, Nerina.

  84. avatar Anonymous says:

    Abaccio 12/16 4:54 Re: Catholic focus on salvation of souls. Exactly what do you think most religions focus on? Isn’t it reuniting with their Lord? Do you honestly believe that the only people who will reach salvation are Catholic? If so,then 95% of the people on the Earth are not going to be there.

  85. avatar Abaccio says:

    My dear anon. You clearly have failed elementary Mathematics. There’s about 6 billion people in the world. 1.2 billion of them are Catholic. That’s not five percent, bucko! Also, no…not every religion’s focus is on reuniting with their Lord. Furthermore, you seem to be mired in some sort of pseudo-ecumenical blather that not only fails to understand the Catholic Church, but also fails to understand any other (false) religion. Nobody who knows what they’re talking about appreciates this.

    Secondly, you’ve got your understanding of Catholic teaching backwards. The church teaches that in Heaven, everyone will be Catholic. Not that only Catholics get to Heaven, nor that all Catholics get to Heaven, but that IN Heaven, everyone will be Catholic. Furthermore, Lumen Gentium states: “Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or remain in it, could not be saved”

    There’s an argument that someone ardently pursuing the truth, yet never finding the Church might count as “baptized by desire” but that’s sketchy at best.

    Simply put, God’s mercy and love are infinite; thus so is His justice…While I cannot know for certain anyone who is NOT in Heaven, I know quite a few people who most certainly ARE. They are the Saints. The Saints are all Catholic. I will follow them, rather than hang my hopes on a whimsical universalism.

  86. avatar DC says:

    Might it be the Holy Spirit who is “sending all the Holy Family parishioners who admire Fr. Shaw to Cleansing Fire, when they have never been in evidence before”?

  87. avatar Anonymous says:

    No. It’s definately google sending them. See for yourself by googling Father Dennis Shaw.

  88. avatar caritas says:

    What I did not mention before is the choir director being the most offensive person in the choir loft, making fun of the mass with derogatory remarks throughout the mass, and finding something dirty in the most innocent and sacred of gestures.The young choir director,(who was not related to the young men who were relatives),went out with the young priest and young men relatives to the local bar on a frequent ongoing basis.The young choir director was personal friends with the young priest.The young choir director and young men relatives had strong personalities.To be one of the other men or women in the choir meant having to put up with a lot.I think that group of men that went out with the priest were not good company or a good influence for a young priest. I think a key reason the young priest hung out with them was that they were in his age range and he needed companionship.The young priest complained openly of having to live with old men who were failing.
    (When I state young, I am talking about an age range from early twenties to early thirties).At some time later, that priest told me that “some people can be a human sponge” in regard to counseling, “but I can’t!” I wonder how many other confidences he revealed at the bar.

  89. We received an insert in our parish bulletin-St. Andrew Church-(of St. Francis Cabrini Parish-stating that Fr.Dennis Shaw had served at our church-and the allegation of sexual abuse-and how he D.O.R. encourages victims to come forward, and the contact information. Fr. Dennis Shaw served at St. Andrew Church before being sent on his first assignment at St. Francis Assisi Church. Fr. Dennis was a Deacon at St. Andrew Church and he was ordained to the priesthood at St. Andrew Church. Parishioners in general were shocked. They had many good memories of him,thought well of him,and regarded him as a good priest.

  90. avatar Anonymous says:

    [This reader has been banned]

  91. avatar Angel says:

    When my mother passed away when I was 12, I was at my most vulnerable point. Father Dennis gave my family hope. In private meetings with him, I was never made to feel uncomfortable..never touched except for when he “slapped me up” or shook my hand as young people do. We know why he was removed from St. Michaels…and this caused me to lose faith in the Catholic establishment.

    “4) Any accusation that the Catholic Church or conservatives are at fault as part of some kind of conspiracy….”

    There is no blame being dealt but conspiracy? why outline a disclaimer unless you anticipate these claims? I stand for Father Dennis and pray for him. But I will NEVER embrace this “faith” again…and this sealed the deal. Thank you for opening my eyes more.

  92. avatar Dr. K says:

    There is no blame being dealt but conspiracy? why outline a disclaimer unless you anticipate these claims?

    Based upon emails and early comments we were receiving that there was a conspiracy to remove him.

  93. avatar Anonymous says:

    Angel, don’t abandon your faith because of the misguided actions of the men in charge. We have seen the results of their actions in these cases over the last 10 years. Another diocese declared bankruptcy this week because of payments to abuse victims. The charges brought by this male OR female are not yet proven and we may never know the results or what was considered abuse. If we as Catholics don’t continue to be members of our church we will never be able to change the laws that are man-made & not laws of the Lord. Pray for Our Lord’s guidance of these men in charge. Father Dennis will continue serving Christ and we will see him doing what God wants him to do. I would attend any future service by Father Dennis, sanctioned or not. He is the best priest I have ever known. I am one who felt as you do now. I returned to my faith because of him. I, as have many others, let my donations do the talking. Tithe to food pantries, homeless shelters, disasters, etc. As in all big business, money talks.

  94. avatar christian says:

    I happened to come upon this post and wanted to share a story I read a few years ago about elderly citizens in their eighties to early nineties, who came to a formal church meeting held by officials from their Diocese. This is in regard to comments to why victims would wait so long to report sexual abuse of a priest.

    The article relayed that many of the elderly people used canes and walkers to get into the rectory to be able to report their sexual abuse done to them by this particular parish priest at the formal Diocesan proceeding. It relayed these elderly victims shed tears as they recounted the sexual abuse done to them as children.(I believe the parish priest, who had already passed on, was stationed at their church from at least the late 1920’s into the 1930’s). The article stated that the elderly people comforted each other and felt closure afterward, at being able to report this priest after so many years, and have their reports taken credulously by Diocesan Officials. As a result, this priest was posthumously stripped of priesthood and placed on the priest sexual abuse database.

    It was like a COLD CASE SITUATION – Children crying as they recounted the sexual abuse done to them by this priest, in their eighties and nineties.


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