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Dallas Morning News covers Fr. Crisp Resignation May 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic.

I discussed last week the resignation of Fr. Robert Crisp from Sacred Heart parish in Rowlett.  Over the weekend, the Dallas Morning News ran a story covering this topic.   A few things – the DMN article did not have much additional information concerning the resignation of Fr. Crisp, except to say that a police investigation was ongoing.  I had spoken with the Rowlett police last week, and they did not give me this indication – I understood the case to be closed.  Secondly, read the comments at the Dallas News site.  If some of the comments at the Dallas News site are to be believed, this is not Fr. Crisp’s first time to have problems at a parish.  I have been told on background similar things as reported in the comments, that there have been allegations about Fr. Crisp in the past.  There is more, but I cannot say due to confidentiality.  Third – I hope and pray the diocese and Fr. Crisp will strongly consider what is truly best for the Church with regard to his future ministry.  Based on some things I’ve been told, I am concerned that there may be a pattern here, if not of outright abuse, at least of a priest having consistent problems with being too familiar with female parishioners.  Yes, I know the diocese is desperately short of priests, and I know that we should be charitable and understand that a truly penitent heart should not be punished unnecessarily, but given the environment right now, I have to wonder if Fr. Crisp returning to active ministry is not an unnecessary risk?


1. Faithful Parishioner - May 24, 2010

The entire process that Father Crisp has been (and continues to be) forced to endure is absolute nonsense. Lengthy hugs?? ALLEGEDLY rubbing a foot on someone’s leg?? At best inappropriate IF TRUE, but isn’t it odd that it took the Dallas Diocese weeks to share that information with the parishioners at Sacred Heart? It even took nearly a full week before the unannounced “sabbatical” was sprung on unsuspecting parish members. The now Assistant Bishop (who you would safely assume was fully aware of the situation) read the letter from Father Crisp at all the masses the following week. Why should he do that, knowing that these HORRENDOUS ALLEGATIONS were looming overhead?

What the article does not mention (and couldn’t unless one has attended Sacred Heart for numerous years) was the political maneuvering of a few individuals who were very anxious to see him removed. Looking deeper into this story would indicate this is not the first Priest to have been shown the door at Sacred Heart by a handful of malcontents who spend way too much time adding links to a gossip chain full of accusations and rumors.

God bless you Father Crisp! You remain in the prayers of many at Sacred Heart who have known you for many years and respect those same many years of stewardship and service to this parish. The few members that were not happy with you have done their best to create such a hostile environment that we now have to deal with ALLEGATIONS of LENGTHY HUGS? Our prayer is one of peace for you Father Bob and that these extremely weak charges are dismissed promptly.

2. Richard Warren - May 25, 2010

As someone who has spent a lot of time around the church during the past 10+ years, I knew Father Bob as well as anyone. And, over the years, like a lot of others, I took a lot of verbal abuse from him, which was not warranted. However, I can also say that when it came to consoling women in our parish he took advantage of the situation. Along with a couple of other parishioners in the parish who are in and out of the church a lot, he has been caught doing a lot more inappropriate things, other than “extended hugs” and “rubbing his foot on someone’s leg”. In time, more “inappropriate acts” will surface. Agreed, Father Bob is a very spiritual man. However, he had sexual desires, as any man has, and was not able to control them, as he should have, as our priest. And, unfortunately, as everyone knows, one bad act spoils 99 good acts.

3. tantamergo - May 25, 2010

Obviously there is a divergence of opinions regarding Fr. Crisp among Sacred Heart parishioners. I had seen similar comments for and against at the Dallas News site. I have some concern, based on what I have read and been told, some of which I cannot reveal publically, about Fr. Crisp’s behavior at Sacred Heart and previous assignments. It is possible this is a case of a priest being unfairly maligned and persecuted, in which case, I pray he will receive this cross from Christ and bear it in charity. Easy to say, hard to do. But, if the allegations are supported by evidence, and there is a past history of such events, I pray that both Fr. Crisp and the diocese will very prayerfully discern his future in ordained life. I hate to lose a good priest, but at the present time, and in this diocese, another scandal would be very difficult to bear.

4. TravelerWithChrist - May 25, 2010

It is heart-wrenching to hear of another scandal, or potential scandal. I love my Church. But we cannot bury our heads in the sand. Priests are looked up to, and good priests will bring about an increase in vocations and an increase in the faith of all they come in contact with. Bad priests can and have put a black eye on the diocese, on priests, and on Catholics in general.

This priest appears to have been moved about quite a bit – is this because of complaints? If so, this isn’t a one-time accusation.

I pray for strength for our priests – strength to stand up and resist temptations to sin, and strength to resist criticism and complaints when they are defending the faith and acting in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church and the vows they pledged at their ordination.

5. Faithful Parishioner - May 25, 2010

Father Crisp has faithfully served as the Chief Shepherd of Sacred Heart Church for over a decade prior to this unannounced sabbatical, and I would not consider that as one who has “moved around quite a bit”. What is the usual length of service for a priest assigned to one parish is expected to be?

One comment above states, ‘In time, more “inappropriate acts” will surface’. I suggest that until (or more likely IF) that ever happens, we can discuss it at that time. The rest is unfair persecution based on rumor which caused removal of a good priest from his parish.

tantamergo - May 25, 2010

I understand your concerns, which is why I have tried to be as moderate as I can in my coverage.

Just a thought, with the idea of perhaps gaining some insight, you might want to contact the diocese to determine how many times in the past Fr. Crisp has taken a similar sabbatical. You could also try to align those sabbaticals with his parish re-assignments. That might shed some light on the present case.

Faithful Parishioner - May 26, 2010

Thank you for your attempt at balance in your coverage. The Diocese has not commented further on the issue and it is unlikely they will because of the seriousness of the allegations and the possibility of legal action. IF any charges prove to be true, I believe all parishioners (myself included) will demand and support an appropriate punishment.

The problem remains that outside of the vague allegations currently circulating, nothing supports the statement of the Diocese that this is a voluntary sabbatical requested by Father Crisp, nor has anything been presented that unquestionably required removal from his parish.

6. Another Faithful Parishioner - May 26, 2010

Faithful Parishioner:

When I first heard that Father Bob was leaving, my immediate thoughts were the same as yours, since my understanding of Father Dan’s removal may have been political. However, with Father Bob, no one person or group is responsible for his removal. The decision to have him removed was done by the Bishop, after a number of complaints had been filed, not just one or two. As far as these allegations being rumors, I wish they were but they are not. I am not familiar with the allegations involving the two girls. However, I am familiar with two other incidents witnessed by myself and one other parishioner, where Father Bob was involved in activities not appropriate for a priest. Plus, the consensus of the staff is that he did not have the temperament to be in charge of the parish. And, as pointed out, there’s a lot of previous parishioners who left, for whatever reasons, returning. So, it appears that Father Bob’s leaving has, overall, been a good thing for the spirit of Sacred Heart. Father Bob has had a great spiritual career and has been an inspiration to a lot of people, including myself. Therefore,I hope God will continue to bless him, provide him with a great retirement package and allow him to continue as a priest in some other role.

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