On January 12, our friends and part-time parishioners from Michigan, Hank and MaryJo Maher, shared with us a letter they received from Bishop Frank Dewane. It is the second response that the Maher’s have received from Bishop Dewane, having also received a letter from the Bishop on May 1, 2018. Both letters are strikingly similar, virtually identical in part. The biggest difference seems to be the increase of slanderous rhetoric in the most recent January 7 letter. We share that letter with you, and will follow with some comments.
With all due respect, Bishop Dewane is not always truthful, and nothing about the way he has handled Fr. Christopher’s persecution was “transparent,” in spite of his January 2017 pledge to handle the case in a “transparent manner.” Suggesting that Fr. Christopher’s case was more “complicated” than the Maher’s might understand, is surely meant to give Bishop Dewane an excuse for treating Fr. Christopher so badly. It is clear from the tone of his letter, that Bishop Dewane has already concluded that Fr. Senk is guilty of the “most serious violations of priestly obligations,” even before Rome has rendered a decision. His assertion in his first letter to the Maher’s that Fr. Christopher “was afforded the presumption of innocence” is laughable. From the very start of this lengthy saga, with only the State investigation and the lies of a greedy Baltimore family in hand, Bishop Dewane found Fr. Christopher guilty. We remind our readers that Bishop Dewane has never had a conversation with Fr. Christopher with the intention of discovering the truth. Never!
Bishop Dewane is categorically not telling the truth when he emphatically states that “there was evidence of serious violations of priestly conduct.” Had that evidence been present the State would have acted on their two-year investigation. Further, for Bishop Dewane to suggest that he possesses the truth because the “Diocese examined a much more extensive record of the civil investigation” than anyone else has is deliberately misleading. There is only one civil investigation, the one purchased by Parishioners For Justice over two years ago, and that investigation possessed little that was truthful, something the Diocese could have discovered had they actually engaged in a thorough “inquiry of its own.” Indeed, less than a handful of parishioners were interviewed for the Diocesan investigation, and the Diocesan-hired, former FBI person handling the brief Diocesan investigation deliberately asked leading questions meant to entrap the parishioners into saying something bad about Fr. Christopher.
Bishop Dewane states in his letter to the Maher’s: “Because some parishioners and Fr. Senk accused me of a bias and out of sense of fairness, I requested the Apostolic See to determine the consequences of Fr. Senk’s misconduct.” It is impossible to discern any fairness in what Bishop Dewane has done. He has never, ever, been fair to Fr. Christopher. Notice that in Dewane’s statement it is not a matter of Rome deciding whether Fr. Christopher is guilty, it is a matter of Rome determining the “consequences of Fr. Senk’s misconduct.” From day one, Bishop Dewane has desired to strip Fr. Christopher of his priesthood, in spite of never possessing anything that resembled “facts,” and he is hoping, with lies and innuendo, that he has convinced Rome to do the dirty work that he was too afraid to do. We ask once again what we have asked dozens of times, what kind of Christ-like shepherd behaves in this way?
Bishop Dewane’s implication that if the Mahers had “all the facts to make an objective judgment” they would think differently and be less loyal to Fr. Christopher is outrageous. Wouldn’t a Bishop who really wanted what is best for his priest be less eager to condemn and more eager to hope that Rome finds him not guilty of anything? If Bishop Dewane was in possession of anything that resembled facts he would have never begun this misguided process which has effectively ruined a good priest’s life and all but destroyed a thriving parish. Examination of the “facts” was never Bishop Dewane’s concern in Fr. Christopher’s case. Even the civil investigation, which began in 2014 at the urging of total strangers who were orchestrating the entire secret investigation, was built on lies and incorrect assumptions.
Most readers are aware that Bishop Dewane has never shared with Fr. Christopher and his lawyer the case that was sent to Rome, in spite of Rome asking him to do so. The Bishop’s refusal to follow Rome’s instructions, and Rome’s apparent decision not to force him to do so, causes us to wonder whether there can ever be justice for Fr. Christopher and St. Isabel parish. Bishop Dewane is not in possession of the “facts” he falsely claims are “needed to make an objective judgment in this case,” and his stating that he does is a fabrication.
Parishioners For Justice insist that Bishop Dewane refrain from making slanderous comments about Fr. Christopher Senk. This painfully long nightmare for Fr. Christopher and St. Isabel’s parish is the Bishop’s doing. We continue to pray, as we have since 2016, that Bishop Dewane will come to his senses and admit the wrong he has done to priest and parish. We pray that he restore Fr. Christopher to his position of pastor, so that we may begin the work of rebuilding the parish of St. Isabel which Bishop Dewane has so insensitively destroyed.