The Bishop Be Damned
Adult Catholic's perspective: Regarding your column on Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien, masterful is an understatement ("The Divine Sociopath," Michael Lacey, April 15). What is so hopeful about what you said is this: You are an adult and a Catholic, and you think like an adult, not a dumb and docile child. Which is the way too many adult Catholics think and act when it comes to the church.

It's hopeful because what you said gives hope to others who are perhaps too scared to think and give voice to deep opinions about the lunacy of our church leadership and the even greater lunacy of showing partiality to criminals simply because they have a title. Jim Reed is just as dead, whether it was O'Brien or some poor drunken driver who killed him.

You said it all so well and so honestly.

Thomas Doyle
Via the Internet

Horrifying indifference: You do a wonderful job of telling the story of Bishop O'Brien's horrifying indifference to human suffering in all its dreadful details, even while you tell us the mystery of your return to the pews. You have got it right without spelling it out to people. We do need the institution to pass on the old story -- and somehow get past whoever is at the altar and focus on the resurrection of life and love.

Nobody should become an impediment between God and the children of God.

Rea Howarth, coordinator
Catholics Speak Out
Quixote Center
Hyattsville, Maryland

Survivors take heart: Hooray! I applaud your recent article regarding Bishop O'Brien's perverted cover-ups and twisted lies. Your staff has consistently told the whole truth for the last 15 years -- the other side of the story that no one else wants to touch or acknowledge.

As a survivor of these cowards, it brings me hope each time a new piece of the sick puzzle is brought to light. I thank all of you for that and want you to know it helps gives me strength and encouragement to press forward. I know other survivors feel the same.

Keep up the awesome work!

John Starkey

Welcome back to the church: Excellent article! Thanks for the research and giving a behind-the-scenes account of the workings of the diocese. Very revealing stuff.

On a personal note, as a practicing Catholic whose sister was abused by a priest, I commend you, Michael, for not allowing the criminal priests to take away your faith in God. The church is most certainly a mess, but if those with integrity choose to leave, the problem only gets worse. Welcome back.

Paul Pfaffenberger

I love your paper again: I just read your recent article in New Times about the church and its tribulations. A damned fine piece of writing. I had about given up on NT, but this type of journalistic excellence brings me right back.

Jack Katz

The bishop will get his: I couldn't agree more. As a practicing Catholic and product of 12 years of Catholic schooling, I was appalled and disgusted at how the Catholic Church has turned into big business, and the courts have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to its evildoers. The only solace I can gather is that Bishop O'Brien will receive his just deserts in the life to come, if not this one.

Mike Carara
New York City

God, please punish the cretin: Bishop O'Brien is a feckless, immoral clown who isn't worthy of the job or the title. Hopefully, your story will receive wide coverage and the church will realize it better punish cretins like O'Brien if it ever intends to regain some semblance of integrity and honor in the community.

Hopefully there is a God, and O'Brien will have to answer before Him. The church is presently rotting from the head down and will take years to recover, if it ever can.

"Illegitime non Carborundum," which I believe means: Don't let the bastards wear you down!

Gene Brennan
Chatham, Massachusetts

Michael Lacey Lives!
Glad somebody got it: I think your article is thoughtful and well-written. A difficult one to compose, no doubt, but I agree heartily that preferential treatment was obvious in this case -- and it's most disturbing. The power of the church marches on.

I am glad you are not ill.

Emily Long
Via the Internet

Some were left wondering: I'm curious. Is Mike Lacey really sick? With cancer -- hospice, morphine drip, adult diapers and hopelessness about your booty? Or not? Mike, in your column "The Divine Sociopath," did you get hopped up on stuff to write a bad nightmare, or is it truly an insight to your impending demise? Fingers crossed that all is well with you.  

Bobbie Ulloa
Via the Internet

But seriously, Mike: I do not know if you were serious about your terminal illness; I have not read the entire article you wrote yet, but, if you are suffering, please be assured of my prayers for your needs. God bless you and comfort you.

William David Kirkpatrick

Break on through, dude: Mike, sorry to hear about your condition, but glad you're still feisty enough to turn out such a revealing and insightful piece. I've enjoyed your work and will miss your contributions, wit and especially that wry humor! May your pain end soon, my friend, and like Jim Morrison said: "Just break on through to the other side!"

Say hi to my pop when you see him.

Gary Swartz
Via the Internet

Editor's note: Though we haven't bent him over to examine firsthand, we can say with some authority that Michael Lacey isn't dying of rectal cancer. So, Gary, he won't be saying hello to your pop anytime soon. God willing! The introduction to his column was what we in the news business call "a grabber." It was meant to capture -- hypothetically -- how tedious, how dreadful, it might be to have Bishop O'Brien show up at one's deathbed to offer the counseling the court has ordered him to perform. The terminally ill may croak on the spot at such a sight.

Look Out, Bill O'Reilly!
Your head's up your booty: James Reed killed himself by getting drunk again and walking into heavy traffic. I suppose if he had gotten drunk and fallen into a canal, Lacey would want to see SRP execs go to jail.

What if Bishop O'Brien had been an atheist ACLU member, Mike? Wouldn't you be decrying what the "white man" has done to the poor Native American by selling him whiskey?

Mike, are you sure you don't have brain cancer? Because your head is usually in that same area.

Horace Gutman

Give it a rest, Lacey: Just finished reading your most recent diatribe on Thomas O'Brien. Your ability to spin would make Bill O'Reilly envious. Hope it's helping to get the poisonous hate out of your system. Following are some spun quotes taken from your article followed by the quote un-spun:

"But no one loved this sinner as much as his judge."/"But no one loved this sinner as much as God, or maybe his mother."

"Convicted by a jury of felony hit and run after killing a man and fleeing the scene."/"Convicted by a jury of felony hit and run after fleeing the scene where an inebriated man walked into the path of his oncoming car in the dark of night."

"Judge Gerst belabored the court with his picayune analysis of 99 other hit-and-run cases and the sentences those defendants received in an unusual attempt to justify his leniency."/"Judge Gerst took the time necessary to explain his sentence with a detailed analysis of 99 other hit-and-run cases and the sentences those defendants received so as to remove any doubt about the sentence being deemed too harsh or too light."

"By the time Judge Gerst bungled the sentencing . . ."/"By the time Judge Gerst handled the sentencing . . ."

"How does belief withstand a procession of assaults? The truth is that often faith cannot survive."/"How does belief withstand a procession of assaults? The truth is that often misplaced faith cannot survive."

"Bishop O'Brien's sentence for fleeing the scene where he'd left a man dead in the street after running over him is grotesque."/"Bishop O'Brien's sentence for fleeing the scene where he'd left a man dead after that man, in a state of intoxication, walked into the path of the bishop's car, is considered by many to be too lenient."

"In prison, they kill child molesters. In Judge Stephen A. Gerst's court, they forgive them."/"In prison, they kill child molesters. In Judge Stephen A. Gerst's court, they tried the bishop for felony hit and run, found him guilty and sentenced him accordingly."

"There are too many who have left the church in deep pain over the pedophilia scandal. What they have lost is their faith."/"There are too many who have left the church in deep pain over the pedophilia scandal. What they have lost is their trust in the fallible people who are the authority figures in their church. Hopefully they have retained their faith in an infallible God."

"Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien snatched that faith away from too many innocents."/"Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien snatched away a misplaced faith from many misguided innocents."  

Michael, do yourself a big favor and pray for the willingness to forgive. Get over your own misplaced trust in the legal and judicial system to deliver what you deem to be a fair sentence. Get over your desire for vengeance. Displaying your resentment and outrage at Judge Gerst and Bishop O'Brien, as if that is going to hurt them or turn them to your point of view, is like swallowing rat poison and expecting them to get sick. It ain't gonna happen! And while the bishop's sickness (protecting pedophile priests) may be well documented, your own is being displayed through your continued vitriolic coverage of him. Give it a rest.

Patrick Mertz
Via the Internet

Gays are to blame: We have a homosexual crisis, not a pedophile one! When are we going to admit this? Why are we so afraid of homosexuals? About the statements, "Our church was founded on a pedophile act. Mary was 13 or 14 and Joseph was in his 30s" -- what Catholics in their right mind could think or say such a thing? The conception of Our Lord was through the power of the Holy Spirit, not Joseph. Get real here. That's an insult of the highest nature to a Catholic.

Jane McCaffrey
Via the Internet

Back to Catholic Basics
Principles of Modernity: What a powerful article for all Catholics to read. I must admit that I was left wondering how you could avoid more than simple insinuation of eternal judgment for these wicked men. I also found somewhat suspect the comment regarding John Paul II as "homophobic." This is perhaps the most liberal pope in our 2,000-year history. Many blame his acceptance of the principles of "modernity" in the church for the ensuing scandals.

Jim Cox
Arlington Heights, Illinois

Blind eye to pedophilia: I enjoyed reading your article "The Divine Sociopath." I want to give you a little perspective about how I feel about this issue. I am a "traditional" Roman Catholic. This means that I am one of those who abandoned the church after Vatican II. We recognize that after the council, the faith took a nose dive, and in fact, this new religion has taken over the Roman Catholic Church.

The actions of Bishop O'Brien come as no surprise to me. The conciliar church at best turns a blind eye to pedophilia, and, at worst, actively promotes it by its "ministries" to homosexuals, which is no more than active participation in sin.

Sean Murray
Lancaster, Ohio

Skulls of rotten bishops: I have posted Michael Lacey's article on Bishop Thomas O'Brien in our April 20 edition of The Daily Catholic, an online daily magazine at I have placed it in one of our features called "Deprogramming Diabolical Disorientation," for truly what O'Brien has wrought is exactly that: diabolical.

In these times, were it not for the secular media, the sins and scandals of so many ecclesiastics would still be hidden under the rocks of cover-up, denial and intimidation -- a total misuse of the divine charge they were given through their sacred vows and Sacrament of Holy Orders. The first official doctor of the church wrote of the bishops of his day during the devastating Arian Heresy of the fourth and fifth centuries that "the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of rotten bishops." We would have to wonder today how high that floor will go to accommodate the charlatans who have abdicated their apostolic authority. I fear O'Brien and the disgraced resignations of Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston and Archbishop Rembert Weakland in Milwaukee are only the tip of the iceberg in uncovering the rot that has infested the church Christ founded. He has promised in Matthew 16:18 that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," but he did not say the devil would not give it his best shot.

There are still good and loyal priests who will tend to souls and nourish them with the infallible truths the Catholic Church has always taught. That would be those who are not affiliated with modernist bishops like O'Brien, Cardinal Roger Mahony in Los Angeles, Cardinal Francis George in Chicago, Cardinal Edward Egan in New York and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in Washington, D.C., to name but a few. The good priests refuse to obey unlawful ways. These good priests have remained loyal and true to all the church taught and upheld from St. Peter through Pope Pius XII.

To Catholics in Phoenix, look to the Society of St. Pius X's Our Lady of Sorrows Church at 750 East Baseline Road. It is truly Catholic, and no one can refute that. Those who have been away, come back home. At Our Lady of Sorrows, you will find that nothing has changed from the Catholic character that was so prevalent and trusted before the revolution of Vatican II.  

Michael Cain, editor
The Daily Catholic
Kimberling City, Missouri

Rage against the machine: I picked up the link to your O'Brien story from the Abuse Tracker, which is a digest of links supplied by the National Catholic Reporter. I have to admit that irony and satire are descriptive ways to help capture my imagination, and the opening words of your article caused me to reflect on what a bedside visit would be like, and if I would avail myself of that "service."

Yet what I found more compelling is that at the end of the day, you helped describe my faith. I do believe in communion. Yet I do wish to possess the rage Jesus felt at the Pharisees.

Thank you for helping us to realize that this rage is a good thing!

Phil Leonard
Cudahy, Wisconsin

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