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Organized Religion – Do You Still Practice? [POLL]

Newark Archbishop John Myers with Pope Benedict (Facebook)
Newark Archbishop John Myers with Pope Benedict (Facebook)

When scandals come to light, much like the latest one concerning the silence of Archbishop Myers of the Newark Archdiocese over the priest who groped a young boy some years ago; usually the response is, “I stopped going years ago!”

So, whether it’s scandal, non-belief, or what have you; have you given up going to Mass, shul, whatever?

It doesn’t help whenever you see religions act like they’re a part of corporate America, albeit without the tax implications.

For instance, just this past week, the ongoing scandal progressed in the case of Farther Michael Fugee’s non compliance of an agreement made with the Bergen County prosecutor. He agreed not to have any interaction with kids following his trial for having groped a 13 year old boy during “wrestling.”

He had since been arrested and currently out on bail for having broken that agreement.

However, in the wake of the revelation of his breaking the agreement, there was nothing but silence on the part of the Archbishop of Newark, John Myers.

Along with that, many “bodies” dropped like flies that may have had some part in either not knowing Fr. Fugee’s past; or mistakenly interpreting the agreement to say that as long as he was being supervised by other adults, the agreement was being upheld.

And as you can imagine, many lawmakers have jumped into the fray calling for the resignation of the Archbishop, including Senator Joe Vitale of Woodbridge, and Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Just this past week, according to this:

Congregants listened in mostly hushed churches across the region as priests read a letter from the archbishop announcing the removal of Monsignor John E. Doran, who stepped down from his leadership position for mishandling the supervision of a priest who violated a lifetime ban on ministry to children.

Parishioners across the Archdiocese of Newark said this weekend that Archbishop John J. Myers appropriately handled a dogging scandal that has threatened his legacy, while others said the demotion of his top deputy was merely a scapegoating tactic that came amid calls for his own resignation.

Myers, whose letter was first run in a longer form as an opinion piece in Saturday’s Star-Ledger, said he was implementing a series of reforms to “strengthen internal protocols” and “ensure we are doing everything we can to safeguard the children of our community.”

As in other parishes, the letter was read without commentary at Holy Family Church in Nutley, where the priest in question — the Rev. Michael Fugee — was a familiar face and had frequent interactions with teenagers. Few people were willing to discuss the matter after one Mass there Sunday.

Parishioners at Holy Family and elsewhere gave a range of reactions — from satisfaction to ambivalence to disappointment. While many Catholics said they supported Myers’ handling of the situation, others did not mince words and called for Myers to resign.

I think they should have someone a little stronger and more demanding,” Fred Campana, a parishioner at Holy Family, said as he left Mass Sunday.

While he said he had sympathy for Fugee and hoped the priest avoids jail time, Campana called for Myers to step down to a lower position and any other leaders involved to do the same. “A new broom sweeps clean,” he said.

Doran, who served as vicar general and moderator of the curia, is among the highest-ranking Roman Catholic officials in the country to be demoted over the handling of a priest accused of sexual abuse, observers have said.

On Saturday, at Newark’s vast Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Rev. Francis R. Seymour concluded the 6 p.m. Mass by reading Myers’ letter to the three dozen worshippers who dotted the sea of honey-stained oak pews.

There was no visible reaction from the ethnically diverse group of young and old worshippers. As many filed out of the church and scattered into the unseasonably cold, windy night immediately after Mass ended, a few said they welcomed word that the archdiocese was taking steps to address the issue.

“They have to do what they have to do,” said Angela Bernal of Belleville. Referring to Doran’s apparent lack of oversight, she added, “He had to pay for it.”
Margaret Christiano said she admires Myers for making a statement.

“So everybody can understand that it’s not all our fault, and it was just neglect on certain people who were in charge,” Christiano said. “I feel bad that Fugee did that — he should have known better and whoever was supervising him neglected their duties.”

Pat Hanfin, who teaches religion classes, was a bit more blunt.
“I think he put it on the scapegoat, that’s all I’m saying. And that’s all I can say, because I don’t know the whole thing,” she said as she left the church. “It’s amazing, he should have taken him — Fugee, or whatever his name was — out of circulation a long time ago.”

Which he did not, as he had installed Fugee to an administrative position some months ago.

But it points out the larger problem of underlings taking the fall to protect those in charge.

One look no further than the latest Rutgers flap to see how all that works.

But when it happens in the Church, it sours one to believing as organized religion tells us to; inevitably leading to one’s leaving the church, or whatever, altogether!

Given all that, the poll question asks, “do you still practice organized religion?”

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