Fr. Fugee Furor – Will You Still Donate to the Church? [POLL]
And the bodies just keep falling.
In the wake of the revelation about Fr. Michael Fugee’s involvement in a church youth group after having signed an agreement with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office not to have any contact with minors at all, some others involved with the priest have all agreed to step down from their positions, along with the priest himself.
Michael and Amy Lenehan of St. Mary's of Colt's Neck, who are longtime friends with the priest, were the group leaders who invited Fugee on several trips with the youth group to Canada.
According to this,
(the Archbishop’s spokesperson, Jim) Goodness said the Lenehans and the church’s pastor, the Rev. Thomas Triggs, (of St. Mary’s in Colt’s Neck) knew the terms of Fugee’s agreement with the prosecutor’s office and monitored him accordingly.
All three have left their positions.
And where is the Archbishop in all of this you ask?
Well, according to this:, attempts to reach Fugee through the archdiocese were unsuccessful. Jim Goodness, the archdiocese spokesman, has confirmed that Fugee attended weekend retreats with the St. Mary’s of Colts Neck youth ministry over the past few years.
He insisted Fugee’s involvement did not violate the agreement with prosecutors, because youth ministry staff were in supervision, but noted that Fugee’s association was unofficial and unknown by archdiocesan officers until press inquiries about the trips.
“Did he have permission? No, he did not,” Goodness said.
In other words, even though the Archbishop was aware of the agreement with the Bergen County Prosecutor, no words from the Archbishop himself.
You may remember some time ago, I questioned the judgment of the Archbishop in elevating Fr. Fugee to two administrative positions within the Archdiocese. To me it had all the appearances of hiding a priest who, while having worked out a deal for the crime of groping a young boy, still showed poor judgment in traveling with youth groups.
And the chorus for the Archbishop to resign keeps getting louder.
Just today, Senate President Steve Sweeney joined Senators Joe Vitale, Barbara Buono, and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle called for the Archbishop’s resignation.
According to this:
"As the days go on, it becomes clearer and clearer that Archbishop Myers cannot remain in his position," Sweeney said in a statement.
Sweeney called the allegations "deeply disturbing" and said the resignations in Colts Neck only make the case "more troubling."
The Senate president also was critical of Myers' silence on the issue and of the shifting accounts offered by his spokesman, James Goodness.
Goodness initially told The Star-Ledger Fugee was within the scope of a court-sanctioned agreement with the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office because he was under the supervision of other priests or lay ministers at the time.
Later in the week, after prosecutors began an investigation, Goodness said Fugee had clearly violated the agreement but that he did so without the knowledge of the archbishop or other officials in the archdiocese.
Citing the potential danger to children, Sweeney said Myers must be held accountable for the lapses.
“Those who are put in a position of trust, whether it be through elected office, as a coach, or as a person of faith, must be held to a higher standard.," he said. "And when we are talking about children, that need to trust those in charge leaves absolutely no margin for error. Archbishop Myers must step down now.”
And for the record, Governor Christie, who earlier criticized legislators for jumping on the bandwagon calling for the Archbishop’s ouster, now says he’s had a conversation with the Archbishop himself.
Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday he has exchanged phone conversations with Archbishop John Myers, but hasn’t seen him personally.
Myers, who is archbishop in Newark, has been targeted by Senate Democrats to step down, given the recent revelations that his diocese allowed a priest to spend time with minors when he was legally forbidden to do so.
Christie, who had been attending a ceremony at the Hudson County Correctional Facility today, did not say much more.
“We have exchanged phone conversation but have not met with each other, no,” he said.
Christie last week criticized his likely Democratic opponent for governor, Sen. Barbara Buono, for calling on Myers’ resignation.
Senate President Steve Sweeney has also now called for Myers’ departure.
With all of this hanging in the balance, do you still feel obligated to donate money to the church?
For the record, while I don’’t consider myself a good Catholic (“occasional Catholic” is how I term it), I still attend Mass on a semi-regular basis.
I don’t hold back any donations to my parish (St. Thomas More of Manalapan), since I know they support one charity of which I’m very much in favor, (the Samaritan Center which houses women and children who are victims of abusive husbands and the like.)
But it does make me wonder whether the church needs my donation in the wake of all this.
And as long as the Archbishop keeps his silence, that money is better spent on other things!