Another Bomb Drops on Atonement in San Antonio March 8, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, horror, scandals, sexual depravity, shocking, sickness, Society, the struggle for the Church.
As I posted in January, popular pastor Fr. Christopher Phillips was removed by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller rather suddenly and to the great shock and dismay of the people of the Anglican use Atonement Parish in San Antonio. Many could not fathom why the Archdiocese would take this action. There has been some speculation that it could have been due to Atonement seeking to join the Ordinariate and therefore a turf war over ownership of the really fabulous physical plant of the parish began. Having said that, and having heard very impassioned (and detailed) complaints against a certain Deacon James Orr from current and former parishioners of Atonement going back some time, I have wondered, largely to myself, whether or not an abuse allegation was not somehow involved.
Now, something has emerged regarding retired Deacon James Orr that could have been the instigation behind the San Antonio Archdiocese’s intervention at Atonement Parish. I have heard very troubling reports from family and others who have been a part of Atonement in the past regarding this deacon’s behavior around pre-teen and teenage boys. When I queried someone involved in the parish back in January, who seemed to have some first hand knowledge of the removal of Fr. Phillips, whether this matter of Deacon Orr could have played a part in the situation, this individual rather bluntly derided the idea.
But then there’s this:
I have strong indications from a confidential source who works in the Archdiocese that this may not be the only abuse complaint made against Deacon Orr. Others, of a more recent nature, may be forthcoming.
This puts a very different spin on the dismissal of Fr. Phillips. I feel more confident in coming forward with what I have heard for years, from people I know extremely well and explicitly trust, which is that Deacon Orr routinely had inappropriate relationships with young boys at the parish, involving, at the least, what some parents viewed as encouragement of alienation from their family and subsequent provision of financial support on the part of the Deacon when these boys had a final falling out with their parents and moved out of the family home. Some of these relationships were short, others have persisted for years. Some very pointed complaints regarding Deacon Orr’s activities have been made to Father Phillips , again, going back years. I was certainly not a party to any of those conversations, but I know at least some people associated with Atonement felt that Phillips failed to adequately address these concerns and may have even given the impression of dismissing them. Through it all, Phillips steadfastly defended this deacon.
This is the situation as I understand it, as has been related to me numerous times from multiple, independent sources.
I should stress that most people at Atonement have a great love for Father Phillips and continue to support him. But I would be remiss in not bringing up the very serious and mutually substantiating concerns of a minority whose complaints generally centered around Deacon Orr.
I do not know the specifics of the allegation made in February of this year. From what I understand, none of the inappropriate behavior of which I have been aware (as I describe above) ever degenerated to the level of actual physical abuse. I would like to caution everyone not to engage in either excessive demonization of Deacon Orr nor excessive defenses of Fr. Phillips in attacking those who have felt they have had very legitimate concerns for years, and whose concerns now seem to be amply justified.
We’ll have to see how this shakes out, but I was always a little suspicious that the Archdiocese of San Antonio would make a naked power play for several million dollars worth of real estate without some serious complaint behind them to back them up. This appears to be it. That doesn’t mean an ideology is not being served. That may well be the case, but it could be there were situations ongoing that had to be addressed. It’s difficult to say at this point.
PS – Some will say that the Archdiocese moved against Phillips in January, before this allegation was formally made in February. But I would be a hefty sum the Archdiocese knew of the coming allegation before it was officially made, and that may explain the timing.