PFJ Action




Less than 24 hours after Bishop Dewane divulged to Fr. Christopher Senk that he had been under investigation by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department for two years (an investigation that ended six months before he spoke with Fr. Christopher, and before conducting any investigation of his own), Bishop Dewane placed Fr. Christopher Senk on Administrative leave, called the print and broadcast media to descend on St. Isabel Church at the first Mass after your disclosure, and simultaneously published a prearranged letter in the weekend bulletin of St. Isabel, virtually suggesting that Fr. Christopher was a “predator” who preyed on vulnerable elder adults. While he had proof of absolutely nothing, he nevertheless treated Fr. Christopher as guilty from the very beginning (October 28, 2016).


Recently, Fr. Joseph Gates, with his employee, business manager, Mrs. Khristy Scheer, riding “shotgun,” was stopped for impaired driving after a short chase by the Sanibel police. Indeed, the description widely posted in the local and area news described a person seriously impaired, who presented credit cards to the officer instead of his license, who nearly hit a hydrant, who drove over a curb, and who seemed to ignore the flashing lights that would stop most normal people, attempting to drive into the rectory garage. The obvious questions that arise are: why did Fr. Gates put himself behind the wheel; why did Mrs. Scheer let him drive in such a state; how did she not recognize that he was in a state that should not have been behind the wheel; if she was equally impaired, why was she out until after midnight with the local pastor, and how did she get home to her husband?


Fr. Joseph Gates, the substitute priest at St. Isabel, was arrested and spent several hours in jail, causing him to miss Sunday Masses. It is unclear who posted the bail for Fr. Gates, but in a short time he was represented by a Naples lawyer who apparently convinced him to plead “not guilty” to an extraordinarily specific account of his arrest. Is Fr. Gates’ refusal to take responsibility for his actions, an example to be emulated by members of the parish community?


The overwhelming question, is how can Bishop Dewane explain his lack of comment and action in regards to Fr. Gates’ “situation” when, by comparison, knowing the investigation showed no offense, Bishop Dewane placed Fr. Christopher Senk on administrative leave, banished him from Church property, including his home (rectory), within twelve hours, and notified the media to exploit a distraught group of parishioners at the Saturday evening Mass? Why has no statement about Fr. Gates been issued by Bishop Dewane, when in contrast Bishop Dewane initiated negative publicity about Fr. Christopher? Why has there been nothing done to the priest-in-charge or business manager, Mrs. Scheer, when the obvious evidence in this case is dramatically clearer than the lies of total strangers from Baltimore which torpedoed Fr. Christopher’s stellar fifteen years at St. Isabel? How, we ask, is it possible that a Bishop with clear information from the respected local police, has done nothing to correct, or even acknowledge, the actions of two diocesan employees under his watch, when he was so swift to move against Fr. Christopher on the word of total strangers with no investigation of his own? It is difficult to imagine any believable answer.


  1. It’s clear that the Bishop had an agenda to get rid of Father Senk. Father Joe is an appointee who can do no wrong.
    And the Pope wonders why American Catholics are leaving the Church.
    These Bishops have to be made responsible for their actions.


  2. We used to be able to count on our church– and priests— to be there for people who need a pat on the back —-or a kind word….some found and took time even when they were in hurry–some did not-

    …the good ones were the ones people turned to in times of sorrow of death or illness…..or concerns……….they were the ones we could look to and count on to show they cared. and might have a good word of good advice-it didn’t cost anything to go to one at those times.

    I know there are people in that diocese who could use some of that kind of caring priest (like Fr Senk was ) to come visit them when they have a loss or a problem of any kind……….I know there were and are still priests and maybe even bishops ? who do this—not just for the wealthy or well known parishioners…but for the good they might do —

    A young boy age 16 just took his life in Florida this past week- and perhaps the Church needs to attend to the work that Jesus gave it to do……you don’t even have to be catholic to reach out— just imagine the suffering and the hopelessness he must have felt- ………a whole family and school kids suffer——who is there to help them? Where will they hear words of hope??
    We DO need good priests to minister to young people—I am sure Fr Senk’s homily would be filled with caring—

    We need good priests and our church needs to reach out to those who are suffering
    and maybe help some young people starting a new school year find hope in our Catholic church once again — every priest isn’t perfect nor is every person but we all need to be better role models, too. Kids are hungry for good role models.

    I recall many fine priests in my parish whom I knew when growing up and I hope kids today still can find them in our church…maybe we can save a life by being there as good Catholics and good Christians with a kind word or smile or welcome? We need good priests still!
    The Church needs to lead us in this kind of work.
    we have lost so much—we have to be and do better.
    We dot need more CEO’s in the church we need those who care about the people!

    Please bring back good role models like Fr. Senk—willing and wanting to make things better for the sake of everyone ! For the good of all of us! For teenagers and children— In memory of ‘Antonio’ let us work together for greater love and peace .


  3. Jesus, spoke at lenght about the temple priests, who held themselves in high regard; and not attending to their flock;HE called them vipers ,hypocrites; and more.
    Apparently those in authority have also become hypocrites;for the comparison just made between Father Christophers case and now Father Gates behavior is a contradiction and thus reveals who the hypocrite really is


  4. my sons mom just passed sunday last;she (as far as I know) will be the first funeral Fr. Martin will participate in;for my sons sake I pray all goes well;ill know more when I call the office
    what I do know is the amount has been raised an incredible amount since I last asked;it is now $2500.00;which im sure some of which will go to venice;how much St Isabels keeps we shall find out
    Theresa m Dalton 01-21-47-10-20-2019


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