From the Associated Press:

"The leader of Maine’s Roman Catholics has taken the unusual step of threatening to punish an outspoken advocate for people who were sexually abused by priests, possibly by denying him communion.

Paul Kendrick of Freeport has been banned from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, and warned in a letter that if he tries again to contact Portland Bishop Richard Malone he risks losing any right "to participate fully in the sacramental life of the church."

Kendrick, a co-founder of the Maine chapter of the lay reform group Voice of the Faithful, has been a vocal critic of how church leaders have responded to abuse claims and treated victims.

The full story is here on The Washington Post’s website

Would that the bishops had, over the past decades, acted as decisively against abusive priests. 

James Martin, SJ

Comments

Anonymous | 12/30/2008 - 1:11pm
Sometimes it still amazes me how incredibly obtuse some church leaders can be. Our bishops need to recognize what damage the egregious handling of the abuse scandal did to their moral authority, and recognize how much more damage they do by simply threatening those who are acting out of justified outrage at the episcopate, especially when they feel that the bishops are not doing enough to redress the situation. And I don't say this with any judgment made on how the bishops have handled it, as I'm not really sure what all is being done or has been done outside of my own diocese. But there has to be a greater sense of compassion and patience among the episcopate in recognizing that the anger felt by many Catholics is the direct result of episcopal scandal and ineptitude.
Anonymous | 12/30/2008 - 7:01pm
Paul Kendrick and other activists here in Maine have made a positive difference for survivors and their families. Unfortunately, Bishop Malone can't say the same about his own actions. The bishop has never taken well to the consistent and steady advocacy from Kendrick reminding him that part of his job is to shepherd those who have been disenfranchised by the harm caused by the sexual abuse of specific clergy. In his latest actions, Bishop Malone has shown himself to be simply a bully. Flaunting his status and authority with a threat of interdict, Malone's reaction to Paul Kendrick says a great deal about himself as a man whose stubborn nature and hardness of heart knows no bounds.
Anonymous | 12/30/2008 - 11:29am
Bishop Malone is going to make Mr. Kendrick's point. Maybe the Bishop has figured out that the way to the Curia in Rome is to emulate Law and Burke. Pity. Would that most diocese elected their leadership in the way the Society of Jesus does, or in the way that Bishops were chosen in ancient times. The political arrangements in the Church are not doctrinal. They can be changed. Sometimes to get political change, one must force the powerful into taking oppressive action, so as to radicalize the complacent. I hope the Bishop follows through on his threats, as the system he represents is rotten in the truest sense, as it more befits life in the feudal middle ages than the governance structures that would be expected in a modern democracy. Most non-profits do just fine with democratically elected boards (including Catholic Charities, USA). We don't have far to look to both protect the assets of the Church and provide effective leadership. This is not to say that there should not be Bishops, but that they should be selected differently and that they should, like our Lord, never touch the treasury or be concerned with property and management.
Anonymous | 12/30/2008 - 2:18pm
The Maine bishop, Malone, does not communicate nor meet with us Victims/Survivors. I reached out to Paul Kendrick to help support us in 2003 when no one else was helping us at the Diocese. Thanks to Paul, we along with many other Victims, had been able to report the abuse. It has only been through Paul's help of standing in front of the Church, passing out leaflets, advocating for the names of the credibly accused priests to be announced so as to protect other children in the neighborhoods from the pedophiles, supporting Victims/Survivors with his time and own expense, etc. that anything has ever been done. Paul Kendrick is the true Christian. It makes me sick that Bishop Malone would make false claims against Paul Kendrick using outlandish tactics and threats, while Malone has done nothing to the pedophile priests! He even refuses to disclose how many Victims there were by our perpetrator. The bishop, Malone has done NOTHING to help us Victims. By his attacking our Advocate, he is attacking us Victims/Survivors. It is a known fact that doing what we are doing in seeking justice aids in the healing process of Victims and helps protect other innocent children from the trauma of sexual abuse. Marie Tupper Boothbay Hbr., Maine
Anonymous | 12/30/2008 - 2:07pm
I don't know anything about this particular situation in Maine, but I have seen how Voice of the Faithful has morphed into an organization with an agenda supporting women priests. What is particuarily bothersome to me is the snide aside comments made by some of the editors of this blog to the effect of, "Oh that the bishops had only acted thus in regard to abusing priests". Of course they did what they could at the time according to the culture of the time. Which included secrecy to avoid scandal and consultation with psychiatrists and other professionals.
Anonymous | 12/30/2008 - 1:25pm
Listen to an interview on a Maine radio station http://www.wgan.com/ today to hear rebuttals to diocesan charges. Kendrick has been forceful in his advocacy for survivors, but I believe it is only because of his advocacy that Bishop Malone took action for which he now claims credit: releasing the names of credibly accused perpetrators still alive, and confirming the identities of deceased priests identified by the AG. As I recall, it was Kendrick who obtained copies of AG documents and first posted them. When Malone acts, it is often in response to issues on which Kendrick has pressed him for a long time. As to the threat of Paul interrupting Malone at Mass, here is email about Paul’s contact with a deacon welcoming him to Mass: 'I sent this message to Brennan (the deacon) in response to his call assuring me that I when I came to the midnight mass, I would be treated with the same respect as any other Catholic. Further, he told me he would call head usher, Bob Shwartz, to ensure that I could sit in the front row or anywhere else I wanted and that no one would be purposely placed beside me or behind me.' ______________________________________________ From: Kendrick, Paul Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 1:07 PM To: john@johnsbrennan.com Subject: Thanks for your call John, You have my word that I will come in peace to the midnight Mass. It is an act of conscience for me to be there as a visible reminder to the Catholic bishop of Maine that he is not treating Marie Tupper in accordance with the gospel values that he is preaching. I intend to respect the occasion and all those in attendance at the Mass. It is enough for me to know that Bishop Malone knows the reason for my presence. I appreciate your thinking of me. Regards, Paul