Perhaps it was coincidence, or perhaps it was some producer’s idea of a witty joke. Just moments after airing a report on members of Congress being pressured by the Catholic Church, among others, to oppose abortion rights within the health-care reform bill, Thursday’s AC360 aired a report about a wayward father in the Midwest. Evidently, the Father was a wayward soul when he was not in the pulpit preaching, and in the worst possible circumstances the Catholic Church could imagine, the Father was a father.
More than an isolated incident, it appears to be an ongoing theme in the life of Father Henry Willenborg. In fact, he is now under suspension from the Catholic Church for allegations statutory rape that allegedly occurred 22 years ago – while the Father was having an affair with Pat Bond, a parishioner who left her husband and three children to cohabitate in her Father’s house.
Most importantly about this whole issue, it is coming to light only because the son who had been fathered by Willenborg is now suffering from terminal brain cancer. The mother has come forth about her affair with Willenborg, saying she is free to do so, despite having signed a confidentiality agreement, because, she says, the Catholic church has invalidated that agreement by failing to provide adequate financial support.
Since her revelation, the Catholic church has stepped up in its support, but one cannot help believe she is not correct when she says the Church cannot wait for her son to die so they can be removed from the whole sordid affair.
As for Father Henry. Well, he is somewhere in hiding as he awaits the latest charges against him. From all accounts, he was a great priest except for one minor problem. He could not get past the celibacy requirements. His on-again, off-again affair with Bond, which produced a child and ended her troubled marriage, came to an end when he was caught having an affair with a married woman. A great priest – if he could have only dealt with that one small “catch.”
As a result, then Catholic Church is mired in a scandal that shows it to be hypocritical and immoral in its behavior. Rather than forcing fFather Henry to leave the clergy and face responsibility for his errant conduct, the Church sought to make a deal. For 22 years, it thought it had gotten away with it. Now, with no statute of limitations to protect the Church, it has been exposed.
But life has gone on, and the Catholic Church is pressuring for abortion opposition to be included in the health-care reforms. The message is clear: have the children, but what you do with them afterward is your problem. – George Curcio