Letter from a Priest in the Diocese of Scranton Ref: episode 40

Posted On January 8, 2021

NOVEMBER 02, 2019

Dear Angry Catholic


So, let me get this straight (BTW, this is from official court documents).


In 1996 a seminarian of about 27 years of age, who has just left his job as a nurse, discovers in the middle of the night an angry 22-year-old man who is not a seminarian and, therefore, is forbidden to be in the seminary at that time of the night. Not only that, he finds him arguing with a priest in the priest’s room. The priest in question is Rev. Albert Liberatore, who is the Director of Vocations and lives at the seminary. Furthermore, the young man, according to the seminarian’s own testimony, shouts out that he is a homosexual. Now, what is a homosexual young man doing in the middle of the night in a priest’s room in a building where he is not supposed to be? So, what does the 27-year-old nurse turned seminarian do? Does he drive him home? No, he quiets him down and lets him sleep in the priest’s bedroom(!!!) where, according to this young man’s testimony, he wakes up the next morning to find Fr. Al in bed with him and the priest’s hand on the young man’s penis!!!


I guess the next day or at some latter time the seminarian tells the rector (the one in charge) of the seminary about the incident. The seminarian does nothing else to expose Fr. Al, even though there is another incident involving the priest a year later witnessed by a group of high school students visiting the seminary. These are the only two incidents that we know of, but one can reasonably conclude there were more incidents of which the seminarian in question and the rector were aware of during the years Fr. Al was at the seminary.


Finally, in 1999 Fr. Al is removed from his position at the seminary and made a pastor. Again, the seminarian and the rector do nothing to expose the priest or warn the faithful about the sexually immoral and predatory nature of Fr. Al. They remain silent even after the whole sex scandal explodes in 2002, which one would think was a perfect opportunity for everyone who knew anything to come forward. Unfortunately, instead of promoting a kind of #metoo movement where everyone who knew about any abuse would came forward and expose it, it instead produced just the opposite: more cover up, namely, make sure that no one finds out who knew about the abuses in the Church. Coming back to our case, you can guess what happened.


In 2004 an allegation is made that Fr. Al molested a teenage boy at the parish he was currently serving at. There’s also another player in the story: The Vicar for Clergy who, although, did not make any accusations, expressed to Bishop Timlin “grave concern” regarding a DIFFERENT incident involving Fr. Al while he was at the seminary. Although, it was Bishop Timlin and not the Vicar for clergy who kept Fr. Al at the seminary and then later appointed him a pastor, the Vicar for Clergy did not expose Fr. Al or warn the parishioners. Also, when the University of Scranton decided to hire Fr. Al as a professor, that same Vicar for Clergy was on the board of the University. He again did not prevent the appointment of Fr. Al giving him access to potentially groom and abuse young male students.


Now keep in mind that the decades of sex abuse and the cover up was only possible because people in position of power, e.g. a Vicar General, a Vicar for Clergy or a rector of a seminary and adults (like a 27-year-old nurse turned seminarian) kept silent. Yes, they did not assign or reassign abusive priests themselves, but because of their silence bishops were able to keep moving abusive priests from parish to parish perpetuating abuse (I’m sorry but notifying the bishop who disregards what you say and keeps reassigning a priest does not count as doing something). Also remember that priests are called not be hirelings that run away when the wolf comes but shepherds who are willing to give their life to protect the sheep from the wolf (John 10:12), even if that wolf happens to be a bishop.


So, what happened to Fr. Al? He was found guilty of abusing the teenage boy at that parish and went to jail. The 22-year-old man sued civilly and the diocese settled for 3 million dollars in the middle of the trial, an amount that itself suggests there was much more dirt that could have been exposed and which the diocese wanted to keep covered up by going into settlement.


What happened to the people involved? The seminarian is now Msgr. Thomas M. Muldowney, the Vicar General (the second person in charge of the diocese after the bishop) and a potential candidate for the Office of Bishop. The rector, Msgr. Bohr, is the Secretary for Clergy Formation. The Vicar for Clergy is now the Bishop of Scranton. Isn’t it interesting that all the three main players have these high positions? Is it a pure coincidence? Furthermore, this is one case that we are aware of, but how many other cases are there which never reached the light of day, perhaps, simply because they involved young adult men and, therefore, are not criminal, even though they are clearly cases of abuse? Remember what brought Fr. Al down was a case involving a minor, while for years he groomed and abused many young adults.


Finally ask yourself: if the seminarian became a whistle blower, would he be ordained a priest? NO. If the rector and the Vicar for Clergy stood up to bishop Timlin, would they have kept their job? NO. Would Msgr. Bambera ever have become Bishop Bambera? A definitive NO.

Is this a clear case of corruption to the core? I let you be the judge.


Fr. Anonymous from the Diocese of Scranton


Paul Ciaccia

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