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As part of the #CatholicMeToo campaign, Church Militant has asked adult victims of clerical sexual harassment to write in and share their stories. This is one of the stories.
By John Smith
What happened to me almost seems minor in comparison to some of the things I've read recently. But I have my own story of homosexual predation by a priest.
Back when I was in my early 20s (40 years ago), I was struggling with sins of impurity. I had gone to confession many times before for this sin but I couldn't seem to make much progress in the fight. So I thought that maybe if I met with a priest someplace other than the confessional, I'd have the opportunity to discuss my situation more fully before going on to receive absolution.
I had heard of a priest in a neighboring parish, St. Gabriel in Kansas City, who was highly regarded for his homilies and approachability: Fr. Thomas Reardon. I called the rectory and spoke to the priest directly, and he arranged a privatemeeting at the rectory.
At the appointed time, I arrived and was taken to his office. He understood that I was interested in confession so I began with, "Bless me Father for I have sinned ... ." I then began to pour out my heart about my struggles with chastity. He asked some questions for clarification as I continued.
Then to my total shock, rather than offering assistance, he suggested we "jack off and see who comes first." I was so bewildered and afraid I didn't know what to say. He must have read my face because he quickly shifted from what he said and offered instead some words of encouragement. He could tell that I just wanted to "get the hell outta Dodge," so he gave me absolution and I left.
After I left, I played the situation over in my mind, wondering if he was just kidding around in an attempt to make light of my struggles. I put the incident behind me and out of my mind for years and never mentioned it to anybody.
Years later when the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal was coming to light in 2002, I remembered what had happened with Fr. Reardon but still never told anyone. Even when I found out Reardon had been accused of sex abuse and had left the priesthood, I still remained silent. I don't know the reason for my silence, and I'm still trying to figure it out.
About three years ago, in a private conversation with a fellow parishioner, we were talking about church-related "things" that had happened to us over the years. I mentioned the Fr. Reardon incident. Needless to say, she was appalled.
Then earlier this year, I told my brother (a very faithful Catholic) and he got angry. That caused him to do a little online research leading to more information about Reardon, who has been named in more than 20 lawsuits for sex abuse. Conclusion: Reardon was a homosexual predator, and it sounds like his activities were included as part of a big payout ($10 million) by the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese in Missouri in 2008.
I come forward now with my story because of the McCarrick scandal and because my current parish started drinking the Fr. James Martin Kool-Aid a few months ago. My eyes have been opened. I now know how deep and institionalized the rot really goes in the clergy, especially with the bishops and cardinals. It needs to be purged.