There is in interesting story in Newsweek this week. Fr. Marcelo Rossi is a best-selling author who has also sold millions of musical records in Brazil. He was once dubbed a “pop-star priest.” Fr. Rossi is known for his engaging homilies and sermons. While speaking at a closing Mass for a youth camp attended by about 50,000 people, a woman rushed past security and delivered a strong shove that sent Fr. Rossi unceremoniously off the edge of a stage such that he disappeared from sight. Fortunately, he was uninjured and returned to the stage to complete his talk. The incident was widely publicized such that even the president of Brazil sent out a tweet, “All our solidarity with Father Marcelo Rossi. God looks [over] Brazil.” The report of this story in Newsweek suggests international interest.
In our own corner of the world, Sanibel, a similar event has occurred. Fr. Christopher Senk was attacked verbally by a woman and her family almost five years ago. His bishop, Frank Dewane, who might have provided security against unscrupulous assaults, did not provide any security. Instead he eventually participated in this attack causing Fr. Senk to suddenly disappear unceremoniously from the parish he had served so well. Unlike Fr. Rossi, who was uninjured and quickly returned, Fr. Senk has been injured in reputation and spirit. He has been essentially held down by his bishop, not allowed to speak or complete any of his ministerial callings to preach, to comfort the sick and dying, to foster a joyful community of faith. In the 33 months that Fr. Senk has been banned from public ministry, on the order of 100,000 people have been deprived of his weekly Sunday homilies and daily reflections at Mass. There have been no tweets of support from people in high places, only a barrage of pleas from the ordinary people in the pews to Bishop Dewane who seems to ignore everything that does not match his needs for esteem and money.
It is a sad that the far more sinister attack on Fr. Senk does not receive the attention that Fr. Rossi’s attack has received. This suggests that celebrity is far more important than the facts of a matter. People whose lives are shattered by war, immigration, and injustice receive less support and interest than many inconsequential actions of a celebrity. Priests who labor in difficult circumstances receive much less attention than the pretentious utterings of bishops.
Our Catholic Church has been rocked by sexual abuse scandals. The attention focused on the abuses by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Bishop Michael Bransfield comes only in hindsight. Although their indiscretions were widely known by many fellow clerics and members of the press, their celebrity earned them a pass until the overwhelming evidence of their misdeeds made further cover-up impossible. Action is needed against budding abuse to prevent its full-scale blossoming.
The woman who shoved Fr. Rossi has been arrested. We hope that she will be treated with justice for her action. Despite the fact that he has done more damage than that misguided woman, Bishop Dewane continues to pursue his agenda of oppression unchecked. The evidence of his inappropriate action in regard to Fr. Senk and in other elements of his leadership continues to build. One can only wonder how long the absence of celebrity will allow him to continue on his sorry course of suppression of facts and self-promotion while avoiding media scrutiny.
3 thoughts on “There is in interesting story in Newsweek this week”
our feelings have not changed except to realize the injustice of blaming Father Senk for the fact that someone wanted him to have something and she had the right to do what she wanted with her gifts! It is easy for us to know why she wanted to give him something — he was nice to her as he was to us and to so many others………….. he gave her time as he did for us………….. he doesn’t deserve to be treated like he did something wrong!
why is father being treated so badly for that???? Before someone dies they like to reward the people who meant something to them and were kind to them…. this woman wanted him to have something and it isn’t his fault that she did! It was her right to leave anything she wanted to anyone she wanted to give it to!
Personally- I think the church needs to give away its many riches to those who need or can use it to make their lives better……. the church has so much to give away……how are they going to get into heaven without doing that?
…. just like the family might complaining about this gift to father—-
strictly gift—————- not asked for or sought-
what about the catholic family complaining about the Vatican’s many riches being divided up and given to those in need of a sliver of their vatican wealth?? There would be people complaining about that too!!! But people who understand when someone is kind to them
and want to reward them in some ways –they really should be allowed to do that. we must honor that — if I choose to leave the bishop a gift and no one complains then he should get it! If I choose to not leave my sister or brother a gift— then they have no right to complain!
Father was nice to everyone and this lady was included in that number …… she was lucky to knowhim cause he included her in many nice events with many good people! t stop the bickering and give father what she wanted him to have and move on! If she could speak she would tell the church to give what she wanted to her friend- he was kind to her—-
get rid of some of that wealth in the Vatican while you are at it! We all onlyneed a little and the church doesn’t need monuments to itself forget that help thepeople at the order….. hot as it is today for all of us inthe country why not sell what you have and give it to the suffering hungry people in cages at the border?? What is wrong with a church who treats people like they are not important to God?? He made us all. not just those elete inthe church….
I am so tired of it!
release those captives and all captives — especially Fr Christopher who did nothing wrong to deserve this treatment from the church he has served so well for so long…….. does the church even care? why haven’t more come to his defense and speak out what they believe?
amen mary Jo Maher!
many catholics see the church in a new light these -no longer blind————-we see now when before we didn’t want to see- the Bishop is wrong in this case………… he needs to tell thefamily that their loved one wanted father to get s what she wanted him to have and they have to accept that!
maybe not easy -but fair is right and just!
Fire must be fought with fire!
When Demonic Bishops destroy good priests as Bishop Dewane is trying to do with Fr. Christopher Senk , silence and passive action is not the path. It must be KNOWN to ALL in the DIOCESE. It should be made public that the Vatican has done NOTHING in spite of the GREAT efforts of the FAMILY of Parishioners from St. Isabel’s Catholic Church.
Only if ALL Catholics realize that their beloved priests are in danger and the only arm they have to protect
what they have is to withhold funds until justice is served.
God Bless Fr.Senk , the suffering Parish Family and all the priests that are being slandered and persecuted by Evil Bishops along with those who have bee used and abused by the Criminals the Bishops are paying a fortune to cover up.
Amen! Amen! Amen! I totally agree with Kathleen’s message above. I had a personal encounter with they type of “UNGODLY” behavior of Bishop Dwayne this week. Let me explain my situation.
I have been the sole caretaker of my husband for the last nine years. My husband is the most wonderful, GOD fearing, and worshipping man his whole 81 years of life. That is why although this care taking of him, 24/7 for nine years has been extremely difficult, but only with GOD’s help I think I have done a pretty good job. I am not saying that to pat myself on the back, but to relay that one of my fellow Parishioners at Our Lady of Light in Estero asked if she could meet with me to discuss my journey, because a year ago her mother-in-law of ninety some years has now moved in with the family. This person thought it would be helpful just to share our stores with each other. So with this in mind I begin to reach out a couple of places which might be open for us to meet on a weekly basis. For I know first hand that without the beautiful friends I have in my living community I could have not survived the last nine in a GOD spirited way.
See below the message:
Dear Fr. Hugh & Hilary,
I have a very special request! Do you think a room could be available to Julie Nodland and myself on Monday of this week at 11:00 AM. We are two full time caregivers that need to do some personal sharing in a private environment. Out task is NOT easy and it really wears on a person. We would like to set up a time with each other where we can meet once a week in private. This week especially since Julie will be going out of town for two weeks next week.
It is our wish to set up a meeting place when she comes back where we can meet in private on a weekly basis. It would be in the mornings around 11:00 am for about an hour or so. Do you think this can be arranged?
We would really appreciate any help you can give us with this very important matter. We are trying to be good caregivers and showing GOD’s love without “putting” our loved ones in a home.
I would also appreciate some help from whomever in finding part time help to come in my home and I am not sure where to go. Would truly appreciate any direction you can give me with this as well.
Thanking you in advance for your attention to this matter.
In HIS love,
Betty Joyce Dietzel
This is the response I received:
Thank you for your email. With your permission, I would like to forward your email to Peg Carroll, our Director of Visitation, who may have some viable resources for you in regard to your immediate need as caregiver.
Once I hear back from you I will put Peg in touch with you directly.
Unfortunately, we are unable to assist you with your request for a meeting space on the parish campus. The Diocesan policies now for insurance have changed drastically and we are unable to allow “outside” groups, i.e. non parish organizations, to meet unless they have insurance with specific high limits of liability. Please know how sorry we are that we cannot assist with your need. Your understanding that these decisions are not made by us at the local parish level is appreciated.
We can assure you that our prayers will continue for you both, your families and all caregivers who give so much to their loved ones.
My Response Back:
Let me get this straight, Julie Nodland and I are both good parishioners of OLOL parish and have been for a number of years. We put in a request to use one of the rooms on the parish grounds to discuss our caregiving issues. We are told because of insurance concerns we can’t use a room?????
GOD can’t be smiling down on OLOL this morning. 😭😭😭
Then I receive a phone call asking me for a time that I can have a meeting with Fr. Hugh so he can explain to me why they can’t give us a room to use. I have to admit that with everything I have to take care of with physical therapy, doctors visits, dealing with insurance companies, going to a meeting to have it explained why we could not use a empty room for an hour, once a week, was NOT on the top of my priority list. But I made arrangements to get someone to be with my husband, and then went to Our Lady of Light.
What did I get at the meeting? Just the rule “This Parish is a Safe Environment for Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults. Our rooms are only available for “Bishop Dwayne” approved functions. I know that Bishop Dwayne has been controlling on who uses what in our parishes for along time but it did not affect me personally. This does so even though GOD has given me my current life situation to draw closer to HIM. That this is something I need to take the time to address. Not sure where to go with this un-GODLY actions by Bishop Dwayne, but I feel in my heart of hearts that he has “CONTROL” issues that are NOT helping our already ailing church.
HELP US LORD, PLEASE HELP US!!!
IN HIS LOVE and humble service,
Betty Joyce Dietzel