Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Marian Novena For Fr. Gordon MacRae

One of the blogs I look forward to reading each Wednesday is These Stone Walls, written by Fr. Gordon MacRae. Fr. Gordon  is presently serving what amounts to a life sentence in a New Hampshire prison for crimes of sexual abuse he did not commit, but don't take my word for that; you can read his case on These Stone Walls. If Fr. Gordon had pleaded guilty to these crimes, he would be a free man today. Sickly ironic, don't you think?
When I first heard about Fr. Gordon MacRae's case, I was tempted to chalk it up to another guilty priest claiming his innocence, but the more I read, the more I could see the holes in the case against him.
 I first heard about this priest's story  from a site called Priests in Crisis. Along with Fr. Gordon's story, I read about becoming a spiritual mother for priests. After much prayer about not only the validity of Fr. Gordon's story, but also about becoming a spiritual mother to a priest, I signed up with the organization that assigns women a priest to pray for each year~Opus Sanctorum Angelorum. So in effect, Fr. Gordon, without his knowing it, had something to do with my taking on this prayerful role for our priests.
Fr. Gordon posts to These Stone Walls every Wednesday, a blog which he has never seen as there is no internet access for prisoners. There are several dedicated ladies in various parts of the world who take care of the actual posting once father mails his post to one of them. Comments are read to him over the phone and also mailed to him. If you have never visited These Stone Walls, I encourage you to do so. Fr. Gordon writes on a variety of topics and all things considered, is quite able to maintain his sense of humor.
This injustice is happening to more than one priest and the statistics on it are frightening.
While the thought of anyone, priest or not,  abusing another another human being, especially a child, repulses and angers me beyond words, I do not believe every priest accused is guilty, and they should not be presumed guilty until proven innocent.(The attempt at the proven innocent part seems to often get left by the wayside.) I also believe the truly guilty should be punished along with the bishops who try to cover for the guilty.
Part of the reason for this post was to make others aware of Fr. Gordon's case, but the heart of the matter is to ask my readers and anyone who stumbles upon this post to join in a novena for Fr. Gordon that will begin tomorrow, August 22 (The Feast of Mary's Queenship) . You can read more about the nine day novena over at Esther's blog, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.
Mary at The Beautiful Gate also has written a wonderful post on Fr. MacRae's case titled Fr. Gordon MacRae~ Scaling the Walls of Injustice.
One of the ironic aspects of my return to the Church is that it occurred in 2002 at the height of the sexual abuse scandal. It would have been a seemingly perfect excuse not to return, but the thought never crossed my mind. While I knew what was going on, God also gave me some temporary spiritual shields and protected me from those antagonizing thoughts.
Satan is having a field day with this scandal. He knows the way to ruin the Church is to do away with our priests~no priests, no Mass. No Mass, no Jesus in the Eucharist. We need to pray for our priests, those who are in crisis, and those who are not. They need our support, prayers and encouragement. They are on the front lines of this battle. Please consider joining in the novena for Fr. Gordon.
Let us entrust him and all our priests to Our Lady's loving protection as we celebrate the feast of Mary's Queenship.
Our Lady Queen of Apostles, obtain for us holy and faithful priests. 

5 comments:

mary333 said...

Your post brings up another point which made me look deeper into Fr. MacRae's case. Who would insist on his innocence for so many years if he was guilty of the charges against him? I don't like the whole idea of plea bargaining in general. And why should a man who insists he is innocent accept such a thing anyway. People have made the comment on some sites who have spoken for Fr., "Well, he fell as a priest before!" but personal sin and crime are two separate things. Who is sin free? Father MacRae never claimed to be a saint, he claims to be innocent of the charges against him.

Because he would not admit guilt the judge thought he was without remorse and gave him what pretty much amounts to a life sentence. Meanwhile, we have had priests who committed crimes in NH with far more evidence against them than in this case walk away free and clear. What's wrong with this picture?

The police investigation was ridiculous. I read it.

I offered my Mass for Father MacRae today and my mom and I prayed for him afterward. God bless you, Karin, and thank you for linking to my post.

Karinann said...

Mary, the point you brought up was another that led me to believe in his innocence. Usually truly guilty people give up the claim of innocence after awhile. And as you point out he had the chance to walk away and refused it for the sake of truth.
I pray justice will prevail for him sooner rather than later as well as for other priests falsely accused. May God have mercy on those who accuse and those who defend them for the sake of financial gain.

Esther G. said...

Good point! BTW, mahalo for letting others know about the novena Karinann.

Sarah said...

Greetings and Peace!

I've followed Fr. G's blog for the past few months (starting to recognize names of those who comment regularly). It's more of an experience than a blog, and it has enlightened, enriched and fine-tuned my understanding of the Church and the human spirit, and the lengths some will travel to exploit and harm both of them.

I'm very pleased now to find your writings and reflections as well!

One of the gems I found here was the link to Opus Sanctorum Angelorum and the spiritual adoption of priests. Praying for our priests has been a personal focus of my prayer life for quite a while but I'd not yet heard of this method. Thank you for passing it along!

May God inspire your writings, and I'm looking forward to being a regular reader!

Karinann said...

Thanks Sarah and welcome. I agree, Fr. Gordon's blog is quite an experience. If you haven't read any of Ryan MacDonald's articles, I would encourage you to do so. He has tremendous knowledge and insight into Father's case.
Glad you visited the Opus Sanctorum site; this is my 3rd year with them. They send me the name of a new priest to pray for every June. The prayer book they send, Chalice of Strength has many beautiful prayers to offer for our priests.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts here and God bless.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.