Monday, February 04, 2013

Accused New Jersey Priest, Rev. Michael Fugee, Appointed Co-director for the Ongoing Formation of Priests

"Don't mention the gays!
I did, but I think I got away with it!"

As Basil Fawlty would say, "Typical!  This is just typical!"

The Rev. Michael Fugee, who is barred from unsupervised contact with children under a binding agreement with law enforcement officials, has been appointed co-director of the Office of Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests, the archdiocese recently announced in its newspaper, the Catholic Advocate. - News source
Fr. Fugee is also, how you say?  SSA?  BSA?  Confused?  "...he described himself as bisexual or homosexual." 

What have I been saying about this stuff?  I just wrote about the problem here.  There are enablers amongst us.  What's it all about?  Is it organized Lavender Mafia stuff?  A Bella Dodd gay conspiracy? The ol' boys club mentality at work?  Protecting and promoting their own?

Rod Dreher seems to think it's just because priests get special treatment:
Because, you know, for many bishops and other church leaders, the welfare of the clergy is always and everywhere more important than the welfare of the laity and their children, or even basic moral integrity.

These guys never learn.

UPDATE: Let me clarify what I’m interested in here. I take it for granted that some bishops and church leaders make these kinds of calls because they are bad men with something to hide. But I think many others make this kind of call out of a malformed sense of charity, abetted by a sense, likely unconscious, that the clergy are “real” to them in a way the laity are not. I would love to hear from priests and laypeople who have knowledge of this mentality. Help me understand how it works. It is not, please note, a liberal thing or a conservative thing. That is a canard. Nor, I should say, is it an exclusively Catholic thing. - Not learning lessons...
Mark Shea pretty much agrees:
I think this is about right. An appointment like this doesn’t feel to me like some sort of malicious conspiracy so much as a conception of the Church which sees priests as the *real* Catholics who are working through their issues with sin and redemption while the rest of us–the ones with children at risk should the drama of padre’s struggle with his appetites take another turn for the worse–don’t really seem to figure into the equation. The thought that the rest of us might feel, oh, endangered by a guy like this being in charge of the formation of priests who will then bring his moral wisdom to bear on the rest of us and our kids doesn’t seem to occur to Abp. Myers. The main issue appears to be finding some way for this priest to work out his redemption. We laity seem to be bit players in that deeply clerical drama in which the ordained play starring roles. - Laity as bit players...
Perhaps they are correct.  Maybe it's little bit about about careerism as well.  Maybe there are investment issues which effect the decision process - the diocese educated a priest who is capable of filling a position in the bureaucracy - give him an office job, out of public sight if he has issues with chastity - problem solved.


I think it's worse than that.  Like I said, I write about this stuff all the time.  SSA men/priests find sanctuary in the Church.  Many in the hierarchy and priesthood do not agree with Catholic teaching on homosexuality - and if they do, they make exceptions to the rules out of compassion and charity, recognizing there is 'no accounting for God's grace."  SSA men also form friendships and sympathies... little cliques.  Sometimes little communities too.  As I wrote yesterday:
 I point this crap out not to delight over the fall of a priest or even a Cardinal, but to point out there were enablers, as well as the lack of discretion in accepting and admitting to ordination homosexual men - who are easily deluded into believing they are called to priesthood.  

 And it keeps happening.


News story Dated 12/5/10

Archbishop John J. Myers  on at least four occasions has shielded priests accused of sexual abuse against minors and one adult. In the four instances, the priests have either admitted improper sexual contact, pleaded guilty to crimes stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct or been permanently barred from ministry by the archdiocese after allegations of sexual misconduct.

From another view, the archbishop has failed to live up to the guidelines and spirit of what was set forth in Dallas. The most controversial example is the Rev. Michael Fugee, who confessed to police eight years ago that he molested a 13-year-old boy. Fugee was never ousted from the priesthood, and the archdiocese assigned him last year as chaplain to St. Michael's Hospital in Newark without telling hospital officials of his past.
On March 19, 2001, detectives arrived at St. Elizabeth's Church in Wyckoff and picked up the Rev. Michael Fugee, who was alleged to have molested a 13-year-old boy.

For the first 90 minutes of an interview at the police station, Fugee denied the allegations, Detective John Haviland of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office later testified. Eventually though, Haviland said Fugee admitted to the charges and "then made some unusual comments about his sexuality, being a compulsive masturbator. He also stated he was bisexual, and that he was a virgin. He also said that he was infatuated with crotches or penis size."

Haviland testified that Fugee then admitted to two separate incidents with the boy, where the priest "intentionally touched his crotch over his clothes. He said both times they were during wrestling, and that there were other people present, but he did not believe that they would have actually seen what he did. He described it as an urge."

At trial in 2003, Fugee recanted the confession, saying he lied to police so he could go home earlier. The judge ruled the confession was "totally voluntary," and a jury convicted him of aggravated criminal sexual contact while acquitting him of child endangerment. An appeals court later overturned the conviction, ruling the judge improperly instructed jurors. The appellate ruling did not question the validity of the confession.- Source

Myers did not view Fugee's
confession as genuine and
believed he could return to public ministry.

Thanks PML for the added material.



  1. It could be a case of someone not thinking it through; a guy not supposed to be around kids is probably not an appropriate formator of priests simply because priests will have parishioners who are kids. He may also have different opinions on which guys should be ordained.

  2. It really makes no sense to me. Well, email the Bishop and the Papal Nuncio and let them know your thoughts.

  3. Shea and thou have done a service. It's very much about clericalism which many Catholics never see close up if they live in one parish that always has wise priests. Once you see it closeup,
    that naive ship has sailed.

  4. Sojourer8:38 AM

    Lynne - off topic; I just read your conversion journey. Wow. So glad you wrote and posted it. God bless.


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