Thursday, January 03, 2008
MEMBERSHIP IN THE FRATERNITY OF PRIESTS
Yesterday I posted the story of Fr. Joseph Looney's loneliness while living in a rectory by himself, and his solution to that loneliness in a local chapter of the international group Fraternity of Priests. His chapter has 12 members.
Susanna sent in some interesting details on this organization.
It seems that the priest, Fr. John Szantyr, who was a member of the community called "Seeds of Hope" which was accused of practicing homosexual rites and disbanded. Fr. Szantyr has been "forbidden to function as a cleric". Iobserve.org reports:
Critics of Father Szantyr believe that the public should be further warned about a priest who continuously tries to involve himself in official and non-official Catholic groups.
They cite the June 1992 edition of The Visitation, the newsletter of the church-approved Fraternity of Priests, Inc., which has a photograph of Father Szantyr in a Roman collar with several active Connecticut priests.
Here is the picture. The Worcester Voice also has the picture on their website.
The Bishop's Accountability website provides more:
The Worcester Diocese has been plagued in recent years with accusations of sexual misconduct by priests.
The Rev. Joseph Looney, pastor at St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Waterbury, said Szantyr has been living in Waterbury since he came back from Worcester. The statute of limitations on the charges against Szantyr did not expire because he left Massachusetts.
"He is absolutely crushed by this situation," Looney said. "This hit him like a ton of bricks and really sent him into a tail spin.
"It's just hard for me to imagine they'd be true," Looney said of the accusations against Szantyr.
Looney said Szantyr is a gifted musician who would play the piano at weekly fraternity of priest meetings. But since Szantyr was charged with child molestation, he's stopped attending the meetings, Looney said.
Susanna sent in a correction for which I thank her:
I know that there is so much data tied in with the Father John Szantyr story, it is hard to keep the story straight, but just for the record, the GROUP known as "Seeds of Hope" has NOT been accused of practicing homosexual rites. It was the Apostolic Formation Center for Christian Renew-All that was accused of practicing homosexual rituals.
The Seeds of Hope IS being investigated by the Diocese of Springfield for other reasons including Niel Harrington Jr.'s disobedience with regard to the dissemination of the so-called heavenly "messages" he claims to be receiving and the fact that Father John Szantyr has been functioning not only as Niel Harrington Jr.'s "spiritual director" but also as a priest - despite having had his faculties suspended since 1987 or 1988. Anyone interested in the Seeds of Hope/Niel Harrington/Father John Szantyr story should check out the Worcester Voice web site.