Buffalo’s Ex-Dean of Seminarians Blasts Clergy Hypocrisy

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by Christine Niles  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  December 23, 2019   

Stephen Parisi reveals more details about cover-up, double standards

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The former dean of seminarians in the diocese of Buffalo is blasting the hierarchy for hypocrisy and double standards.

Stephen Parisi, who resigned in disgust from Christ the King Seminary in August over its culture of cover-up and dysfunction, is accusing Bp. Richard Malone and others in leadership of condoning immoral conduct by clergy while slandering innocent victims, including seminarians.

In a lengthy Facebook post published on Dec. 17, Parisi reveals a number of troubling details, including Fr. Jeffrey Nowak's private meeting with Bp. Edward Scharfenberger; Malone's questionable living arrangements with a fellow clergyman; the adulterous relationship of the head of the diocese's pro-life office; Malone's openly lesbian sister and more.

Fr. Jeffrey Nowak

Parisi blasts Fr. Jeffrey Nowak, suspended in August over a homosexual scandal, for spreading "malicious gossip" about a fellow seminarian.

"[M]y seminary classmate was the victim of evil gossip, malicious slander, CANONICAL CRIMES and cruel treatment on the part of several priests of this diocese," said Parisi. "I saw how he was being treated and stood by him as a friend. As a result of confronting injustice, I was also stigmatized and my vocation in this diocese was on the line."

As a result of confronting injustice, I was also stigmatized.

"Unfortunately, a great deal of this gossip was perpetuated by Cheryl [Calire], Father Jeffrey Nowak & others," he noted.

Image

Fr. Jeffrey Nowak is shown in lay clothes

perusing condoms at a local pharmacy

The diocese placed Nowak on leave in August after former seminarian Matthew Bojanowski accused him of sexual harassment and breaking the seal of confession.

The suspension came only three days after the chancery received multiple complaints about a photo, published by Church Militant and received from a Buffalo insider, showing Nowak in layman's clothes appearing to purchase condoms at a local pharmacy. The person who took the photo remains unknown.

When Church Militant asked the diocese to explain the photo and whether Malone tolerated clergy who take donations from the faithful and lead double lives, former spokeswoman Kathy Spangler responded, "The Diocese is concerned about several issues relative to Fr. Nowak. Consequently, he was temporarily removed from ministry on August 13 and the diocese is actively investigating allegations of inappropriate behavior."

 
Three days after Church Militant's query, Nowak was placed on leave. Malone had known about allegations against Nowak, however, for nine months. 
 

Image

Fr. Nowak arrives at the chancery to meet with

Bp. Scharfenberger, Dec. 16, 2019 (Photo: Stephen Parisi)

According to Parisi, Nowak met privately on Dec. 16 with Bp. Edward Scharfenberger, named to the diocese after Malone resigned in disgrace last month.

"Could it have been about getting back into ministry in time for Christmas?" Parisi asked about the meeting. "I made sure I gave him a proper welcome when he arrived at the Catholic Center for his meeting. Surprisingly, his meeting was quite short."

Fr. Paul Miceli

Parisi also reveals details about Malone's questionable living arrangements with Fr. Paul Miceli, current vice rector of the Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary. 

"[W]hat about Bishop Malone and his longtime 'particular friendship' with the vice rector of #PopeStJohnXXIIINationalSeminary, Father Paul E. Miceli, who he lives with and owns a home with?" Parisi asks. "Not to mention, if you Google Miceli's name, there are scandalous reports on how he handled the Boston clergy sex abuse crisis."

 

Miceli, formerly a priest in Boston when Malone was auxiliary bishop there, was a member of Cdl. Bernard Law's inner circle. Miceli knew notorious abuser John Geoghan (accused by 150 boys of abuse, eventually convicted for his crimes and murdered in prison), and once told a mother whose sons were sexually assaulted by Geoghan "to try to not think about this; to forget about it."

Miceli went on to deny in a court deposition that he ever met the mother.

Another victims' advocate has accused Miceli of having "aided and abetted the sexual abuse of children by assisting in the transfer of abuser priests into unsuspecting parishes and schools."

Miceli and Malone are longtime co-owners of a home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts currently worth about $300,000. They've lived together for almost 20 years.

Double Standards

Parisi goes on to blast the double standard shown in the toleration towards Catholic leaders who live lives opposed to Church teaching, in particular the former head of the diocese's pro-life office, Cheryl Calire, and Malone's sister, an open lesbian.

Image

Fr. Peter Karalus, vicar general

"Cheryl has been the director of the #DioceseofBuffaloOfficeofProLifeActivities for approximately [10] years, including the years that she was remarried, without an annulment, while her first husband was still alive," Parisi wrote. "As a leader in the diocese and as a diocesan employee, she was bound to exemplify and uphold Catholic teaching in all its forms. Despite not living these up to these teachings, Cheryl was not removed from her position."

"Why did Bishop Malone and Father Peter Karalus give her a free pass?" he asked.

Karalus is vicar general for the diocese of Buffalo.

"Sources have confirmed that Bishop Malone's own sister has been in a long-term relationship with her female partner and taught in the Boston Catholic school system when Malone was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Boston," Parisi wrote elsewhere.

"Why was Malone's sister permitted to keep her job? Because her brother is a bishop and a double standard was applied?" he asked.

Towards the end of his post, Parisi laments, "I pity Bishop Scharfenberger for landing in the cesspool which is the Diocese of Buffalo; he has a lot of cleaning up to do!"

Parisi's full Facebook post follows:

As most of you know, I shared some personal information with family and friends concerning why I am no loner at #ChristtheKingSeminary. After sharing this information, I soon realized that I hit a sensitive nerve with some “traditional” Catholics because I mentioned the names of certain diocesan officials who have caused much harm to this diocese, victims of clerical sexual abuse, and to priestly vocations. Among the names mentioned was Cheryl Calire, the director of the #DioceseofBuffaloOffice ofProLifeActivities and #MotherTeresaHome #MotherTeresaHomeBuffaloNY.

I must make a correction with some of the information I posted concerning Cheryl Calire. I stated that in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church, that Cheryl, is the director of a diocesan office even though she was divorced and remarried without an annulment. THIS WAS TRUE FOR MANY, MANY YEARS, but I was not aware that her first husband died a few weeks ago. I stand corrected and I apologize for not knowing this information before posting.

First, let me say that I am TOTALLY in favor of pastoral care and genuine sensitivity for those who are divorced, remarried, homosexual or living with any difficult life issue. The point I was trying to make in naming Cheryl is HYPOCRISY and DOUBLE STANDARDS.

Cheryl has been the director of the #DioceseofBuffaloOfficeofProLifeActivities for approximately 20 years, including the years that she was remarried, without an annulment, while her first husband was still alive. As a leader in the diocese and as a diocesan employee, she was bound to exemplify and uphold Catholic teaching in all its forms. Despite not living these up to these teachings, Cheryl was not removed from her position. Why did Bishop Malone and Father Peter Karalus give her a free pass? Countless single, pregnant women, who taught in Catholic schools within the #DioceseofBuffalo and throughout the country have been pushed into early maternity leave and then forced out of their jobs. Do I agree with this? I can only say that it is not consistent with being Pro-Life. How is it being Pro-Life when a mother makes the decision to keep her baby only to be forced out of a job, leaving her little to support her unborn baby or newborn? Is an infant’s life only sacred while it is still in the womb? Did Father Baker have this attitude when he opened a home and training center for unwed mothers? Bishop Malone and many other bishops said gay couples who may even be in committed and monogamous relationships were not permitted to adopt children by Catholic Charities because they were not living in accordance with Church teaching. Gay people can be, and are fired from Catholic institutions because they are not living according to Church teaching. Yet sources have confirmed that Bishop Malone’s own sister has been in a long-term relationship with her female partner and taught in the Boston Catholic school system when Malone was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Boston. I have not asked her myself to see if this is indeed true. Why was Malone’s sister permitted to keep her job? Because her brother is a bishop and a double standard was applied? Other employees of Catholic institutions can and have been terminated from their jobs because of similar circumstances in not upholding Church teachings. Is it just for the Church to make these decisions? Maybe each person can only answer these questions according to his or her conscience in light of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church. Some say it is the Church’s right as a religious institution to make these decisions. Are they always made equitably and consistently?

And before I forget, what about Bishop Malone and his longtime “particular friendship” with the vice rector of #PopeStJohnXXIIINationalSeminary, Father Paul E. Miceli, who he lives with and owns a home with? Not to mention, if you Google Miceli’s name, there are scandalous reports on how he handled the Boston clergy sex abuse crisis. See http://archive.boston.com/…/spot…/abuse/betrayal/chap1_4.htm . Perhaps it is a platonic and supportive friendship. Supportive and loving friendships are a gift from God! Who am I to judge? BUT that does not stop authority figures in this Church from judging HYPOCRITICALLY! When this is done, a frank response is appropriate and a person’s anger is righteous and just!

If so many people are fired for not upholding Church teaching, including in this diocese, why was Cheryl given a free pass? Not only was she permitted to keep her position and job, but the diocese PAID for her and her second husband to live and share a bedroom at #MotherTeresaHome #MotherTeresaHomeBuffaloNY! Cheryl knew this, yet judged others based on vicious rumors from a predator priest. A few months ago, the vicar general, Father Peter Karalus even called Cheryl into the office with concerns, but as usual, Bishop Malone and his administration did NOTHING.

As I mentioned, my seminary classmate was the victim of evil gossip, malicious slander, CANONICAL CRIMES and cruel treatment on the part of several priests of this diocese. I saw how he was being treated and stood by him as a friend. As a result of confronting injustice, I was also stigmatized and my vocation in this diocese was on the line. Unfortunately, a great deal of this gossip was perpetuated by Cheryl, Father Jeffrey Nowak & others. This brutal gossip stemmed from the alleged theft of my classmate’s personal property while Father Jeffrey Nowak, HIS CONFESSOR AND FORMER SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR was in my classmates’ home. A stolen document was kept for three years and later used against my classmate because he rejected the sexual advances of this priest. The stolen document was privately shown to various people at the Catholic Center and malicious gossip was spread throughout the diocese based on grossly erroneous assumptions. Various priests of the diocese even said that Father #JeffreyLNowak warned them that my classmate was a sexual deviant, all because Nowak’s advances were rejected. Father #JeffreyLNowak told my classmate that because my classmate “cut him off, he could no longer be recommended for acceptance into the seminary.” #FrRicoPassero, a classmate of Father #JeffreyLNowak's, who allegedly ran gay personal ads as a seminarian, even asked one of my fellow seminarians to stalk my classmate because allegedly Father #JeffreyLNowak informed him of my classmate’s “deviancy.” There is a document stating that Father Andrew Lauricella warned Bishop Malone about Father Rico Passero’s behavior. In addition, Father Andrew Lauricella told me and my classmate that Cheryl played a very active role in spreading this gossip; various priests used this information to try to get my classmate removed from the seminary. Multiple sources have said that Cheryl shared the stolen document with Catholic Radio 101.7FM #TheStationoftheCrossCatholicRadio and  #NicoleDelisioWright came to Cheryl’s defense and bullied me on Facebook, even saying that if I don’t stop posting comments, people will start making comments about me. Hate mail and harassing calls been received by parties involved, myself included, and proper authorities are now actively investigating.

As documented in the news media, Bishop Malone knew full well what was happening and did absolutely nothing. Someone with connections from the Catholic Center allegedly sent a picture of this stolen property to Channel 2 News. Malone still covered up this abuse and did not address the situation, even though he was given multiple chances to act as a responsible leader. As a result, my classmate’s mother made a news appearance and it was only until after this appearance that Father #JeffreyLNowak was finally suspended from ministry.

RECENTLY I LEARNED THAT FATHER #JeffreyLNowak HAD A MEETING WITH BISHOP SHARFENBERGER YESTERDAY AFTERNOON AT 4:00 P.M. See pictures below. Could it have been about getting back into ministry in time for Christmas? I made sure I gave him a proper welcome when he arrived at the Catholic Center for his meeting. Surprisingly, his meeting was quite short. I am posting pictures of Father #JeffreyLNowak’s arrival to his meeting. Every concerned Catholic in this diocese should be absolutely OUTRAGED if Father #JeffreyLNowak is permitted back into ministry! How could this predator be permitted to hear confessions and represent the sacred priesthood going forward?

With this said, I have two questions:

1. Is it right that Cheryl Calire was not only permitted to keep her job, but receive housing for her and her husband even though she was not living in accordance with Church teachings? Is this apparent preferential treatment just, even if so many divorced people experience difficulties in obtaining an annulment so that their second marriages can be recognized by the Church?

2. Do we expect a leader of our diocese, the director of the Pro-Life office, to participate in vicious gossip, so heinous that it greatly contributed to the abortion of the vocations of two seminarians? How is this Pro-Life? Even if Cheryl heard some damaging information about someone, couldn’t she have the decency to pull my classmate aside and ask if something was true or not? If she knew I was his friend, couldn’t she privately ask me if some information was true before gossiping? Most importantly, since she knew Father #JeffreyLNowak was my classmate’s confessor and spiritual director, she should have refused to listen to, let alone spread such evil gossip. Is this behavior acceptable from someone who represents the Church in diocesan leadership?

As I said, I do not intend to sound as if I believe that divorced and remarried people or gay people should not be treated with respect and sensitivity. I am not God and I do not know the particular circumstances people are facing in their lives. Life issues are complex and are not black and white. True charity, impartial treatment and mercy are vital. Only our loving and all-knowing God has the right to judge people.

Some people say that I have never met Cheryl Calire. This is not true. I have met Cheryl while at the seminary on several occasions and she knows who I am. What I have said is true, and as many people know, I have various forms of hard evidence to back up my statements. Many so-called traditional Catholics are quick to point out if someone is not upholding Church teachings, including matters such as marriage and countless other moral issues. Why did so many turn a blind eye and why were certain “influential” Catholics quick to defend Cheryl without knowing all the FACTS? One priest even contacted me to retract my comments because Cheryl is a personal friend. Maybe he doesn’t know his friends as well as he thinks! Maybe some people turned their heads because they were either unaware of all the facts or because, like Bishop Malone, they pick and choose which people are accountable to live up to the Church’s teachings.

By gossiping about seminarians, Cheryl, the Pro-Life director, did a great injustice, and perhaps even abused members of what the Vatican calls, a “vulnerable” group. As a seminarian, I had to have my own cell phone, car, pay for gas and car insurance, books, supplies, clothing and personal necessities. Sub-par health insurance was provided, and it was far below the quality given to priests. One of my classmates had a very difficult time paying off an emergency $5000 surgery bill. When this seminarian brought this to the attention of the rector and certain diocesan officials, he was told to "take out a loan," and that “seminarians should not be getting a free ride!” The diocese can’t afford to cover a seminarian’s medical emergency but it can afford to pay and give room and board to an adulteress, not to mention keeping pedophile priests on the salary payroll? So much for our Pro-Life Church advocating affordable healthcare as a moral issue! The diocese only gives seminarians $100 a month with a possible exception for $200.00 a month. Loans can be given by the diocese but they must be repaid if a seminarian leaves and/or sometimes they are forgiven after ordination. Seminarians are in the seminary at the will of the bishop. They can be dismissed at any time, for any reason including for no reason at all. With this in mind, if a seminarian leaves or is dismissed, he is usually in debt and without a job. It is extremely dangerous for a seminarian to speak his mind or even live up to his faith by standing up for truth, justice and morality. It is going against the “boys club” and there are severe consequences for doing so.

Seminarians also experienced countless other forms of abuse at Christ the King Seminary, including sexual harassment, verbal harassment, stalking, power abuse, economic abuse, and academic abuse that were committed by priests and seminary faculty members such as the academic dean, Michael Sherry. One priest told me that I had to either accept sexual harassment by priests; while also asking myself if these are the kinds of people I want to live and associate with. Some members of this diocese were angry after I spoke up for justice and said they are glad that I was never ordained a priest. My answer is that I’m glad, too, in fact, I’m simply overjoyed! I quickly realized that diocesan priesthood in this diocese is not of God and if this is the kind of “priesthood” that is being offered, I do NOT want it! It is evil and has a cult-like mentality! Thank God I saw it for what it is sooner rather than later!

Some of you may think that my classmate’s mistreatment was none of my business. I would probably still be a seminarian if I did not get involved. But what kind of a priest, what kind of a friend, let alone what kind of a Christian would I be if I did not offer moral support to someone who was enduring targeted, horrible treatment at the hands of priests, seminary officials and department directors of this diocese? I take my faith seriously and I firmly believe that I had a serious moral obligation to take a stand. I knew the repercussions for going against the chancery “boys club.” Again, if this is the kind of priesthood that the diocese is offering, I do NOT want it.

It all comes down to this. Father #JeffreyLNowak, a CONFESSOR and SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR, allegedly rummaged through my classmate’s home, stole a document, sat on it for 3 years, and then used it to sabotage my classmate’s vocation and reputation because he rejected the priest’s sexual advances. Cheryl knew these details, yet actively participated in spreading vicious rumors based on invalid assumptions. It resulted in relentlessly cruel treatment. Any serious Catholic who values the sacraments should not only be mortified that Bishop Malone would not protect the Seal of Confession; they should be mortified that priests, diocesan department directors, and many lay people spread vicious, relentless, ugly rumors about a seminarian who gave up a successful career to serve this diocese as a vulnerable seminarian. This is not over just because Malone “voluntarily” resigned after reading the report of the apostolic investigation. Lives have been ruined by so called “Good Catholic” people. I expect that they will continue to bully, because they do not like being called out for their hypocrisy. I have not and will not stop proclaiming the truth for the sake of justice! If you have not yet read the book, Inside the Closet of the Vatican, by Frederic Martel, please do so. It even contains a chapter describing how seminarians can be used and exploited by church officials. Unfortunately these tactics that were experienced at #ChristtheKingSeminary are not uncommon, they have been used for centuries throughout the Catholic Church.

I pity Bishop Scharfenberger for landing in the cesspool which is the Diocese of Buffalo; he has a lot of cleaning up to do! I pray that Cheryl Calire will be forced to resign from her position at#MotherTeresaHome #MotherTeresaHomeBuffaloNY for the role she played in this truly tragic scandal. A petition may come soon. People expect more from leadership in this diocese and juvenile and unethical behavior should not be tolerated.

So, I say thank you Bishop Malone. Thank you, #ChristtheKingSeminary. Thank you, Father #JeffreyLNowak and other abusive priests. Thank you, Cheryl Calire,#DioceseofBuffaloOfficeofProLifeActivities director. Thank you for aborting two vocations!

 

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