Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Fr. Dennis Shaw’

Diocese of Rochester Procedure Regarding Sexual Abuse

December 13th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

The following is an excerpt from the diocese’s procedures for dealing with sexual abuse by clergy. You can read the entire document by clicking here. This should help everyone understand the current situation with Fr. Dennis Shaw, and what is going on behind the scenes right now. Emphasis added.

When an allegation of sexual abuse is made, the Bishop’s delegate organizes the investigation promptly as the circumstances demand. The delegate or a member of the Review Board speaks directly with the parties involved. Persons other than the alleged victim or the accused cleric may be consulted as needed. A written report of the investigation and its findings is prepared.

If the Review Board determines that there is probable cause and that a valid complaint exists, they meet with the Bishop and present their written report of the investigation, its findings of fact, and their recommended actions.
The ultimate goal of the Diocese is to give pastoral care that results in healing for all directly involved. Once an allegation is determined to be valid, representative(s) of the Diocese meet with the victim and/or their family to discuss the Diocese’s findings and appropriate treatment or therapy. Anyone victimized by sexual abuse by a cleric has the right to expect meaningful pastoral assistance from the church to enable that person’s holistic healing.
Appropriate treatment will vary by individual. The Diocese will provide reasonable assistance with a victim’s treatment or counseling with support determined by the recommended course of therapy.

If an allegation is determined to be valid, the Bishop will place the cleric on administrative leave. The cleric may not reside in parish or diocesan housing. Those closest to the cleric’s official assignment, including staff and parishioners, have the right to be told of the Bishop’s decision but not the details of the allegation. The obligation of sustenatio will be satisfied.

The accused cleric is subject to all aspects of canon and civil law that apply and will be advised of his canonical rights and his right to retain legal counsel. If the accused cleric admits his guilt, the Bishop will remove the cleric permanently from any assignment, place him on administrative leave and remove him from the parish residence. Other restrictions may be placed upon the cleric by competent authority. All appropriate parties will be notified of these actions.

Upon being placed on administrative leave by the Bishop, the cleric may receive psychological and psychiatric evaluation at a recognized facility of the Bishop’s choice as quickly as scheduling permits. Such assessment will include a complete course of action specific to the individual. The cleric will be asked to provide appropriate releases in accord with civil law.

If the Review Board and the Bishop agree that there is no probable cause to believe that alleged sexual abuse occurred, the investigation and response process will ordinarily be suspended. The file of the investigation will be retained. The Bishop will ensure that the accused and the alleged victim are notified of the termination of the investigation.

If the Review Board and the Bishop agree that an allegation is unfounded but that the accused cleric has or may have acted imprudently, the Bishop may restrict actions of the cleric and require that he be supervised, monitored, evaluated, or counseled while ensuring that the cleric’s canonical and civil rights are upheld.  “

It would appear, based upon the fact that Fr. Shaw was suspended from executing priestly ministry, that the diocese has determined the allegation to be a “valid complaint.” What the end result of all this will be remains uncertain. Stay tuned, and continue to pray for all those involved.

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: . 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.

The theologians’ rejection of Humanae Vitae: How it all went down

August 6th, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

In Shaw Says II Dr. K treated us to a little gem from Fr. Denis Shaw.  Commenting on a recent Vatican statement Fr. Shaw wrote,

I’m sure there will be as much and similar attention paid to this statement as there was to Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae.

I have no doubt Fr. Shaw was referring to the near total apathy shown this encyclical by the majority of the American Catholic laity.  But, while that may have been the situation for many years now, it was certainly not the situation when Humanae Vitae first came out in 1968.  Back then many people paid a lot of attention to it.

Sadly, most of them were dissident Catholic theologians, with one of the leading dissenters being DOR’s own Fr. Charles Curran.

Writing in 1988, B. A. Santamaria described the events of those days as follows …

Humanae Vitae was signed on 25 July 1968. It was released on 27 July, and presented to the media in Rome on 29 July. The New York morning papers on the 29th reported the Holy Father’s confirmation of the traditional teaching.

According to his own account, a copy of the encyclical had been obtained by Fr Charles Curran some days before its presentation to the media and even before its distribution to the bishops. It was therefore possible for him, together with his theological and academic associates, to concoct a plan of operation to destroy the encyclical and the authority on which it rested.

Hence on the following morning, 30 July, by means of a carefully-planned coup de theatre, which proved that the dissident theologians fully understood the role of the media in abetting the religious revolution, the Catholics of the United States were the first to be informed that large numbers of the most distinguished theologians of the West held that the people had the right in conscience to set aside the Pope’s teaching on moral questions without calling into question their membership of the Catholic Church.

That the coup de theatre was organised and had a conscious purpose is supported by evidence provided by Fr Curran himself who wrote: “Our quick, purposeful response supported by so many theologians, accomplished its purpose. The day after the encyclical was promulgated, Catholics could read in the morning papers about their right to dissent and the fact that in theory Catholics could disagree with the papal teaching.”

From this carefully organised campaign have flown most of the troubles which have disturbed the Church over the past twenty years.

Baltimore’s Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, quoted by James Francis Cardinal Stafford in “The Year of the Peirasmos – 1968” (an essay I cannot recommend too highly), gave us this take on the revolt …

[A]fter receiving the first news of the publication of the encyclical, the Rev. Charles E. Curran, instructor of moral theology of The Catholic University of America, flew back to Washington from the West where he had been staying. Late [on the afternoon of July 29], he and nine other professors of theology of the Catholic University met, by evident prearrangement, in Caldwell Hall to receive, again by prearrangement with the Washington Post, the encyclical, part by part, as it came from the press. The story further indicated that by nine o’clock that night, they had received the whole encyclical, had read it, had analyzed it, criticized it, and had composed their six-hundred word ‘Statement of Dissent.’ Then they began that long series of telephone calls to ‘theologians’ throughout the East, which went on, according to the Post, until 3:30 A.M., seeking authorization, to attach their names as endorsers (signers was the term used) of the statement, although those to whom they had telephoned could not have had an opportunity to see either the encyclical or their statement. Meanwhile, they had arranged through one of the local television stations to have the statement broadcast that night.

Cardinal Stafford went on to add,

[Cardinal Shehan’s] judgment was scornful. In 1982 he wrote, “The first thing that we have to note about the whole performance is this: so far as I have been able to discern, never in the recorded history of the Church has a solemn proclamation of a Pope been received by any group of Catholic people with so much disrespect and contempt.”

Finally, Gary Dorrien, in his 2008 book Social Ethics in the Making – Interpreting an American Tradition, tells the story this way …

For years Curran told lecture audiences that the mere existence of a papal birth control commission showed that a change in Church teaching was conceivable. In 1968 his hope soared after a majority of the pope’s commission favored a change, until Curran learned that the pope was leaning the other way. Through the media Curran and others appealed to the pope, urging that issuing no encyclical would be better than the catastrophe of reaffirming the contraception ban. On July 27, 1968 Time magazine informed Curran that the pope had answered, showing him an advance copy of Humanae vitae. Two days later it was published; in the meantime, Curran organized an unprecedented protest …

Ten theologians at Catholic University met to formulate a response, drafted by Curran and Daniel Maguire, which emphasized that Catholic doctrine recognized the right to dissent from noninfallible teaching. Releasing their statement to the media on July 30, with endorsements from 87 American Catholic theologians, Curran’s group announced its dissent at a press conference. The statement set off a barrage of condemnations, praise, and puzzled commentary that such a thing was possible. Nothing like an organized public dissent from papal teaching had ever occurred in American Catholicism. Twenty Catholic University professors supported the dissent, including theologians Bernard McGinn, Roland E. Murphy, and David Tracy; eventually more than 600 Catholic scholars signed it …”

And so I believe Fr. Shaw has overlooked the intense, highly organized, negative reception first accorded Humanae Vitae by a sizable number of Catholic theologians.  It is largely because of this attention in 1968 – and its lingering effects on many of our clergy – that so many American Catholics ignore Humanae Vitae today.

Update: A comment below states, “Fr. Curran to this day still claims the dissident response was spontaneous and not organized!”

Fr. Curran seems to have forgotten what he, himself, wrote in his 2006 book, Loyal Dissent:

[In late July, 1968] it was rumored that the pope’s encyclical on the subject [of artificial contraception] was about to be released. I consulted with some of my colleagues, and with others around the country, about how we should respond to the encyclical. It was my view that we theologians should issue a statement disagreeing with the encyclical if it proved to be as negative as we expected.

That sounds a lot more like premeditation than spontaneity.