More Priestly Hanky Panky

On March 8, 2000, Father Mark Matson was convicted, in a Hawaiian court, of 3rd degree sexual assault and 1st degree attempted sexual assault. Matson was found guilty of fondling a 13-year-old boy in a Honolulu park in 1998. Matson claimed that he did talk to the boy but "didn't hurt that child in any way." (J. Michael Parker, Priest in S.A. guilty in Hawaii sex case, San Antonio Express-News, March 10, 2000, p. 3B)

Priestly sexual predations on boys and girls, though all too common, are not the focus of this article. If anyone who reads this does not already accept that the ranks of Roman Catholic clergy and other religious are liberally larded with pedophiles, ephebophiles and active homosexuals is either blissfully out of touch with reality or willfully denying proved truth. Instead of priestly philandering, I am going to look at ways the Roman Catholic hierarchy protects its own, without regard to the risks such conduct may present to the flock it claims to watch over.

Matson, who was 52 years old when this paper was written, committed the crimes for which he was convicted while working in an Army hospital in Honolulu. Interestingly, he had been living -- and working -- in San Antonio, Texas for a year and a half before Parker pusblished his report. I find it interestingly coincidental that Matson was transferred from Honoulu to San Antonio not too long after the fondling incident. Those who keep up with the news will see nothing unusual here. It was, and apparently still is, a common practice for priests caught doing nasty things to be moved to another parish or diocese once their sexual predations become public knowledge. By moving priests who violated their promises of celibacy by dalying with altar boys and acolytes, Catholic bishops apparently feel they have solved the problem and placated the offended parishioners. Since these unworthy priests continue to perform their priestly duties, it would seem that the bishops had, and perhaps still have, little regard for the wellbeing of those they claim Jesus called them, through Peter, to watch over.

Matson was a member of the order (Catholic denomination?) known as the Theatine Fathers, which also known as The Order of Clerks Regular. It is particularly ironical that a convicted pedophile should claim membership in this order, given its declared purpose.

". . . Their object was to maintain the Faith by fighting heresy without and evil-living within, and they subjected themselves to complete poverty. . . " (Donald Atwater, Ed., A Catholic Dictionary, The MacMillan Co, (1942), p. 519, w/Nihil Obstat & Imprimitur

While awaiting sentencing, Matson was returned to San Antonio, where he lived in the Theatine House of Studies, teaching English to resident students. The philandering phather was also celebrating weekend Masses at several San Antonio parishes during his sojourn in this city, according to the house superior. (Ibid)

This proved to be something of an embarrassment to the San Antonio Archdiocese. The vicar general of the archdiocese explained that Catholic priests wishing to minister here first must be granted formal faculties by the archdiocese. In addressing the issue of Matson's having celebrated Masses in local churches, the vicar general said that he,

". . . has never requested nor been granted faculties by the Archdiocese of San Antonio . . . I've never even heard of him. . . There's no way he'll be allowed to function as a priest in any public way when he returns." (Ibid.)

The person resoponsible for requesting local faculties for Matson was the U.S. Superior for the Theatine Order and he, not surprisingly, was not available for comment.

And there it goes again, the Catholic Carousel is turning, turning. Who's to blame? Why, no one of course. Matson claimed that he was innocent. The local vicar general said that he had no idea what was going on and the boss of the Theatine Order could not be reached for comment. No one in the Catholic hierarchy admited to wrongdoing, yet a boy was fondled in a Honolulu park and a Hawaian jury found Matson guilty of doing that fondling. Someone fortuitously caused Matson to be transferred from Honolulu shortly after the fondling incident. Was it the ordinary of the Honolulu diocese? Was it the U.S. Superior of the Theatine Order? Was it the ordinary of the San Antonio Archdiocese? Surely, Matson did not just take it upon himself to leave Hawaii and come to Texas. In as structured and disciplined a society as the Roman Catholic clergy such a move surely would be unthinkable. Someone had to step aside in order that Matson take his place in celebrating Masses at several local churches. Surely the superior of the Theatine House of Study knew what Matson was doing. Yet no one admits to anything.

These are the people that Roman Catholic faithful look to for leadership, spiritual guidance, doctrinal instruction and guidance? What is that passage Rome so loves?

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
(John 21:15-17)

Offhand, I would say that those shepherds involved in this incident, those men who are called alter Christus, or another Christ, were not doing a very good job of caring for the sheep.

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