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USCCB MONITUM: Fr. Ken Roberts

kroberts13.jpgFr. Kenneth Roberts is a priest of the Diocese of Dallas, Texas who has been suspended from ministry and also had incurred restrictions (such as not being able to wear clerical garb and from presenting himself as a priest in good standing). He is supposedly living in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and had allegedly been celebrating home Masses and associating with children and teenagers in violation of his suspension and earlier restrictions.

Father Roberts was suspended back in 1998. He is well remembered for his books, tapes, appearances on EWTN, retreats, and support for the Medjugorje apparitions and messages. I have remarked before about the tragedy of the author of PLAYBOY TO PRIEST.

See also:  FALLEN TV PRIESTS

Discussion about Father Roberts

JOE:

It is my understanding that the sad case of Ken Roberts is being referred to the Holy See. He is to be laicized.

FATHER JOE:

In addition to the issue of purported abuse of youth, Father Roberts was evidently disobedient to his bishop about several matters of discipline, including the continued wearing of clerics and putting himself forward as a priest in good standing.

ANNE:

Please PRAY for priests— the priests who have left and who have had other things happen to them— they are being tempted by the DEVIL. Remember him? I believe that a priest like Fr. Kenneth Roberts is suffering just that. Pray that you do not experience any of this demoralization.

FATHER JOE:

I do not doubt a demonic influence, but he could still have chosen to resist such a terrible sin. There is nothing that gives Satan more glee than a so-called “healing” priest who is himself convicted of mortal sin. I know he has his defenders, but other than the matter of possibly molesting a child, we know for a fact that he disobeyed his bishop… and that for a priest constitutes serious sin. Yes, we need to pray for him and all priests… and for victims.

WI CATHOLIC:

Having really liked what I knew of Fr. Roberts, this adds to my grief. I grieved to hear the news when it happened awhile ago, and this adds to that grief. Obedience, according to many saints, is the first step toward holiness. May the Lord have mercy on him.

SEAN:

I met Fr. Ken Roberts in 1993 while in Medjugorje. I found him a wonderful priest and very approachable. I was very saddened to hear of his present situation. I live in Ireland where he is not well known so it is difficult to get information about him. I can only pray for him in the hope that the truth will come out….whatever that will be. This is neither accepting nor rejecting the allegations.

PATRICK:

I was curious about what happen to Fr. Ken Roberts. I will keep him in my prayers.

I met Fr. Ken in a religious book store, when he was in Detroit visiting friends. I thought it was a coincidence, because I had just read his book and was searching for truth (I consider myself a “cradle”/ “convert” Catholic). He invited me to the residence where he was staying for evening Mass. I went there that evening and found him to be a really nice person.

Not all the people there were Catholics; many were Baptist. There were many children as well, all crammed into this house where Fr Ken Roberts was to perform Mass. I will never forget that Mass. Fr. Ken took the time to explain each part of the Mass from beginning to end. He made it so interesting, that even the children were glued to what he was saying, because he would talk to the adults and then the children in their own language. I will never forget how many people talked about converting afterwards and how they misunderstood Catholic teaching. I hope the best for him and will keep him in my prayers.

ANNE:

I have written several times to see if there were any news on Fr. K. Roberts. It seems that no one knows or cares. I still believe in him despite all the remarks made about him. I pray for him every night and I’m not sure if he is alive or dead. Is there no way you can find out? Or perhaps you just don’t want to find out?

JOHN P. BERTOLUCCI:

FATHER JOE, I PRAISE GOD YOU ARE STILL IN GOOD STANDING.

PERSEVERE IN THAT MANNER AND HUNGER AND THIRST FOR HOLINESS. I AM A “CHARTERED/RETIRED” PRIEST AND I STILL HUNGER AND THIRST FOR HOLINESS. THERE ARE MANY OF US, PERHAPS IN THE THOUSANDS WHO ARE LIKEWISE.

WE REACH OUT TO OUR WOUNDED BROTHERS TO ENCOURAGE THEM, NOT IN DISOBEDIENCE TO THE CHURCH, BUT IN OBEDIENCE TO THEIR BISHOPS, THE POPE AND MOST OF ALL JESUS CHRIST. THEY AND WE ARE STILL PRIESTS BECAUSE OF THE INDELIBLE AND IRREVOCABLE COVENANT MADE WITH OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST THRU ORDINATION. WE ARE PENITENTS, MAKING AMENDS FOR OUR SINS AND PRAYING FOR THOSE WE HAVE SINNED AGAINST.

WE WISH TO FIND KEN ROBERTS. CAN YOU HELP US?

SINCERELY, YOUR BROTHER,
JOHN PATRICK

FATHER JOE:

You are very much in my prayers. My email address is frjoe2000@yahoo.com. I wish I could help you about Father Roberts, but despite rumors I have no recent information about his whereabouts. If I hear anything I will email it to you.

MIKEY:

Greetings from Malaysia,

I happened to Google on Fr. Ken Roberts and came across this page. I met him in 1988 at a time when I was suffering depression as a returning foreign student in Colorado. Fr. Ken had led me to back to Catholicism via the Holy Rosary and Our Lady.

In 1990, I backpacked Europe as a pilgrimage from Denver to London, Paris, Lourdes, Rome, Assisi, Loreto and ending up with what was supposed to be 10 days in Medjugorje; it ended up being a month. There by chance I bumped again into Fr. Ken by surprise on a ferry from Ancona across the Adriatic Sea.

His fall is mighty sad news to me as I continue to pray and seek God’s wisdom. He is such an amazing individual. I continue to use his books for my work with youth and the Catechism.

All judgments and opinions will pass as I continue to focus on Our Lady who leads me to Jesus and The Holy Trinity. I would very much like to contact Fr. Ken too as we continue to pray for all.

Peace and Love, Mikey (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

DONALD:

My wife and I know Father Roberts personally. We have been at his retreats and talks, and know of his travels with St. Louis’ youth to Medjugorje. His teachings have changed our lives and that of the many people to whom we have given his books and tapes. We even paid for him to come to a parish in Sterling, Illinois to talk to the people here. Isn’t it strange that a layman can sin seriously and still help in Jesus’ work and not be censured?

He told us at a couple’s retreat in Belleville, Illinois that he talked to a high school in Clayton, MO. where the teachers from a Catholic School took their classes out of the auditorium when he talked about sin. They did this when he talked about the things I learned in High School. I am 77 years old and my kids were led out of the Church by the crazy liberal teachings of priests at our high school. My second son was led out of the Church by the Jesuits at St. Louis University. I know that if Farther Ken committed a sexual sin with a youth it is a terrible thing. But what about the sins of false teachers that caused 3 of my 5 kids to leave the Church? Sin is sin.

ANNE:

You say that you have no knowledge of the whereabouts of Fr. Roberts. Gee, even prisoners get visitors. It seems the Church or YOU are being very unfair to this man and to his public who are very positive about him. I’m on the verge of contacting all the dioceses in that area to see if I can find him. I guess I am just Christian. You know Fr. Joe; his sins won’t rub off on you (if he has some).

FATHER JOE:

I don’t know what you are talking about. It is not my job to trace the whereabouts of retired or deposed clergy. We can pray for him. Maybe it is best to leave it at that? As far as I know he is free and living his own life.

SEAN:

As already mentioned in my previous comment, I am sorry to hear about the allegations against Fr. Ken. I am living in Ireland and did not hear about him. I was visiting friends in America recently and they said they had heard that Fr. Ken may have taken kids to movies that were inappropriate (by this I mean that contained mild sexual scenes and were age inappropriate). If you combine this with his drinking problems, I am not surprised he has gotten into trouble. I will pray for him.

RICH:

I am writing in response to what I’ve read and heard about Fr. Ken Roberts. This man, I believe, is a very good Catholic. Think back to the time he was accused; people were coming out of the woodwork making allegations against priests, Many were in search of money from the Church.

I truly feel sorry and pray for true victims of abuse by priests. These men committing such terrible acts behind the collar of a holy man will be dealt with by God. As it says in the Bible, better a millstone be hung around their necks and thrown into the sea then to harm a hair on the head of any of these little ones.

However, many good priests were suffering from false accusations and guilt by association in our society for just being who they are.

Father Ken Roberts is a very holy man. He bought many people into the Church with his powerful talks about the Church and its beliefs. The secular anti-Christian media had a field day I’m sure seeing the allegations on such a strong Church defender and advocate, and his removal from the air-waves.

Father Robert’s teachings on EWTN brought me fully into understanding the Church and helped me at a time (my teenaged and young adult years) when I needed an anchor in the storm. I will be forever grateful to EWTN and to him for being God’s messenger for me.

I truly believe the devil and his secular anti-Catholic partners had a hand in this, and remember the words of Jesus, “LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE.” God bless you all.

FATHER JOE:

When I first heard about the charges a few years ago, my sentiments were very similar to yours. This man did so much good, how could one who professed such a wonderful and orthodox faith possibly be guilty of such crimes? I am still perplexed by it. But there are negative factors that cannot be ignored:

First, there have been multiple incidents and charges. There are at least seven known (purported) victims. One might be faked but when there is a history and accusers line up, it becomes harder to argue innocence. Ordained in the mid-1960’s, there was an early charge of child molestation. He was moved to a church in Garland, Texas, but more problems there resulted in his removal. He was sent to St. Louis for psychiatric treatment. In 1989, there was an incident with a boy in Peoria, Illinois. Sent to St. Louis, he got into difficulties again and the diocese made a monetary settlement about a boy in 1994.

Second, Fr. Roberts was given talks, retreats, days of recollection, pilgrimages to Medjugorie and hosted EWTN programs, even after he had been restricted in his faculties and told not to dress as a priest. Bishop Grahmann in 1995 pushed Father Roberts into medical retirement. The Dallas diocese had to put out a $30,000 settlement. Although he was told to end all public ministries, including his Internet presence, and in 1998 was formally suspended, he resisted his orders. This shocks me as much as the charges; I would have thought it unbelievable that such an incredible priest would be disobedient.

Pray for the victims and, YES, pray for Father Roberts. The monitum from the U.S. bishops warns us that he might be saying home-Masses and working under another name. These Masses are illicit. The last I heard he was in Cincinnati.

JUDY:

Because of this week’s Illinois Supreme Court decision, it appears that Fr. Ken Roberts will walk free where he now lives in Cincinnati. This is very troubling to me, for kids are not safe. The Supreme Court of Illinois Opinion was filed on September 24, 2009. The background information is what needs to be read:

If anyone has been sexually abused by this priest, please contact law enforcement and get help.

Thank You, Judy Jones SNAP Director Ohio Valley
snapsteubenville@gmail.com

LINDA:

Is Father Kenneth still in Cincinnati? Is he still alive? I would like to meet him. I have read everything he has written. May God have mercy on us all.

PETER:

I did my initial priestly training with Ken Roberts in London, and we became good friends at that time, though lost touch when we went to major seminaries.

I was enormously saddened to read the news. Ken may have sinned at times when the flesh became stronger than the spirit, but he was basically a good man and was a good friend to me in the early 60’s.

DESIANNE:

I was heartbroken when I found out about Fr. Ken Roberts. He seemed to be so sensible and I made it a point to watch EWTN whenever he was on.

What in the world is going on within the Catholic Church? I feel betrayed and deceived. All these pedophile priests, yet they preach about the evils of things like birth control and pre-marital sex. It is hypocritical, to say the least.

However, I will always remember Fr. Roberts, and my prayers are with him; if he’s guilty of the charges, then he’s sick and needs help right away. God have mercy on him.

KONDO:

Why is it that priests who are powerful and inspirational, gifted in the ability to communicate and energize people, are suddenly accused of something? Is it a coincidence? The very thing that is hurting our Church from reaching its potential (preventing it to grow) is deeply rooted within our “higher-ups” of the Catholic Church! The truth WILL come out. Fr. Roberts will be cleared of all lies of which he is accused. He, like so many others, is surrounded by a cloud of evil. I invite all who read these messages to pray for that cloud to be destroyed and the truth revealed. We, as a people, need religious leaders like Fr. Roberts to teach us and to motivate us to follow our Lord and His call for us. There is power in prayer!

FATHER JOE:

The truth may not be what we want it to be. Those who made the charges seemed extremely credible. Families very close to him were hurt. Apparent victims are still suffering. It appears that initially there was reluctance on his part to abide by the restrictions put in place by his bishop. However, he was obliged to be obedient. This also hurts his case. I read his book, FROM PLAYBOY TO PRIEST, when I was a boy and it got me thinking about the priesthood. Part of me also has trouble believing that a man who taught so beautifully about the faith could have had such a monstrous dark side; but it does happen, as in other cases that fooled us. We need to pray for everyone involved. As for the priest, if the allegations are true, he should spend the remaining years of his life doing penance for the harm done to persons and to the Church. He is elderly and will soon see God. Hypocrisy often dismantles much of the good that is done and legacies are lost. His books will no longer be published. I was also told that the masters to his tapes and videos have been largely destroyed.

KONDO:

The destruction of his books and tapes may be true, but the impact that his message has made in so many will never be destroyed. THAT is what is driving this conspiracy to disarm him of what he excelled in the most— the power of communication. I met him, traveled with him and there is NO way these allegations are true. Some higher ups in our Church have obviously felt threatened by his popularity and success. They have given in to their own jealousy and chosen to shut him down instead of rising up to his level. This, unfortunately, was not the first time this was done to a popular priest in our Church. As I said before, the truth WILL come out and Fr. Roberts will be cleared. Justice will prevail in this life or the next. For the sake of those who are behind this conspiracy, I hope it will be in this one.

SHERYL:

I reserve judgment on Fr. Ken Roberts. I thought he was excellent on EWTN but as for his personal life— who really knows? I do not, however, believe in ANY of the so-called apparitions of Mary. They are just a bunch of superstitious wannabe visions by some over-zealous fanatics. The over-adoration of Mary is a glaringly obvious example of idolatry, yet Catholics continue to sugarcoat it with the term “honor.”

FATHER JOE:

I am not sure what to make of you. How can you say that Father Roberts was excellent on EWTN and then in the next breath speak detraction against the Blessed Mother? He was always talking about Mary and offering intercessory prayer to her. While he may have had serious personal faults, his teachings of the faith and his overall “external” devotion to Mary were excellent. I am not sure about Medjugorje either, but you would have done better to focus more on content and less on style. Veneration or honor is not divine worship. All true worship and prayer finds its principal object in Almighty God. There is no idolatry. This is Catholic doctrine. Catholics believe in spiritual and/or invisible realities. Be careful that your prejudice against Mary and Catholic faith does not slide you into a kind of atheism that regards all theism as superstition. I suspect that you would have labeled the apostles as fanatics in that they put aside all to follow Jesus. Our Lord said that he would have us on fire for the kingdom.

CLIFF:

Approximately seven years ago I traveled back to my home town of Cincinnati, and was accompanied by a co-worker who is Orthodox. I wanted my friend George to see the Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center, formerly known as Mount Saint Mary of the West Seminary in Norwood, Ohio. On previous visits, I had picked up audio tapes of Father Ken Roberts, and was taken at how powerful a preacher he was. On this particular visit we arrived late in the evening but the doors were still open. As we walked the halls, I asked a janitor if the library was open. He said no, it had closed. I took a second look, and recognized him as Father Ken Roberts. We chatted for almost an hour, and he was as thrilling to listen to now as he was in those tapes from EWTN and the Merv Griffin show. I had heard though the grapevine that he no longer had faculties, so I did not question his civilian attire. God bless him and every priest who has been called, and may those who have been tempted by any means find forgiveness and peace.

CINAED:

It is my considered belief that Fr. Roberts has been suspended not because of the accusations of child molestation, though those are the official charges, but because he publicly lauded the Society of St. Pius X and other traditional groups in following the traditions of the Church. Shortly after that, he was removed from public life as priest— just a coincidence? I think not.

FATHER JOE:

Sorry, but the suspension from his bishop was spelled out and clear. It was because of alleged misconduct. The Society of SPX played no part in the matter.

ED:

Does anyone know his whereabouts or status as of 2011? I was a student and parishioner at the parish he was at in the 1980’s. I haven’t seen him in well over 20 years. Thanks!

FATHER JOE:

I have no clue, sorry.

CHUCK:

I think Satan ruined this good priest, because he had great impact, same with Medjugorje. I reserve all judgments unto God, not men.

ROB:

I don’t know exactly what Fr. Ken did but I’ll pray for him and all priests who have done wrong, whatever that may be. We, non-priests and priests, have to strive for holiness. What that means is that we have to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbor. If we lose sight of this, WE, non-priests and priests, will fall flat on our faces and commit all sorts of sins.

Of course, we cannot love God and our neighbor as we should if we are not sincere about living up to our calling to love and not to count the cost. Love your wife, love your children, love your husband, love your boss, love your enemy, love your superiors, love Jesus, and love the Church. I’m not talking about blind love but real love, the one that Jesus taught us. By living this way we will be holy and God’s light, truth, love, wisdom and beauty will remain with us.

Let’s challenge ourselves to be holy and then WE, non-priests and priests, will be loved by God and our neighbor alike. God Bless, Rob (a seminarian and future priest)

SOPHIE:

I have just read Fr. Ken Roberts book, “Playboy to Priest,” and I believe that it is one of the most important books I have ever read. I feel it is a gift from God to the Catholic Church. I am so saddened to hear that it is no longer in circulation.

I wanted to find Father Roberts, hoping that he was still alive. It is devastating to hear what has happened to him. Even worse, it is hard to hear how he has been crucified and cast out to be dammed for all eternity by the very Christians who should show an example of God’s forgiveness and the redeeming grace of his love.

Jesus said “ye who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Well they cast the first stone all right— they crucified him— as Father Roberts is now being crucified. I believe Father Roberts is truly loved of God, which is why he has been given this cross. I will not judge him for his sin because only God knows the truth of it. Satan only attacks those who are a threat to him. Temptation has always been his most powerful tool against the flesh.

What I will say is that today the Roman Catholic Church and all Christianity is under tremendous attack. We need revolutionaries like Father Ken Roberts to wake us up to the reality of what we face. People are losing their faith; we are dealing with radical atheism in an increasingly secular and materialistic world. Pope Benedict recently warned that society has lost its moral compass and is in a state of moral relativism.

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” If Father Ken is guilty of what he has been accused of, I forgive him. I pray that his victims can find peace in forgiveness; I know that God has already forgiven him. Only then can we recognize the good that he has done and can still continue to do. I would love to know how he is, and what he is up to now. God Bless!

JOAN:

I would love to know where Fr. Ken Roberts is now. I still have so many of his tapes and I love listening to them. I can’t imagine him doing anything so bad as to not be able to be a priest anymore.

FATHER JOE:

He will always be a priest although he cannot function in public. His witness has been terribly harmed by the scandal and it is my understanding that much of the audio and video have been destroyed. I was a big fan of his YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT program on EWTN. It was a wonderful show. Unfortunately I never made a copy. I share your pain about this. People trusted and loved him. One of the victims shared his sense of betrayal and pain. I weep for all those hurt and for the Church.

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17 Responses

  1. Dr. Nash – I am truly sorry for your misfortune. I pray for your healing and that you will one day find peace and forgiveness. If truly guilty, then Fr. Ken will answer to God in the end. However, I assure you that he has NOTHING to do with young children. He has been stripped of his dignity, does not even wear a priest’s collar in public, and does not even come out of his tiny apartment except to go to the grocery store or go to Mass on Sundays. He is following the bishop’s rules to the letter of the law and does NOT administer the sacraments to anyone nor will not even let anybody inside his apartment when he is saying daily Mass. He says it alone. My assumptions are for him not being in prison – is that no court of law ever found him guilty out of 6 trials.

    FATHER JOE: The initial post copied from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is several years old. I think it is best to end this thread. This issue has devastated the Church. Around the world many children were hurt and they must be first and foremost in our prayers. The physical, psychological and spiritual welfare of our children comes first. Let us then pray for the Church that she will emerge from these scandals as a more effective source or witness of truth and healing. And finally, let us pray for all priests, good and bad. May God forgive our sins and make us holy.

  2. As a baby boomer, kids were to be seen and not heard, I’m sad to say. There were a wide variety of abuses many within the confines of a child’s own home during this era… Are kids any better today with the trash their exposed to? I have to wonder. Yet, I am up against the same type of retarded mentality today when it comes to a variety of individuals in positions of power. Would a physician ever step up to the plate and say what one of the cohorts did was unacceptable??? Well I am undergoing a women’s worst nightmare today, because some nut-head doctor dumped a specimen into a sharps container from a “cyst” he aspirated from me, after I specially requested it be sent for cytology. Priests/bishops are not social workers, and unfortunately the Church is learning the hard way of how they should have dealt with these sick priests. Satan isn’t working over time on the girls at the Bunny Farm, he already has them. Pray for priests.

  3. Dear Jeff,

    I have debated with myself if I should take down the post on Father Roberts. But then I get comments and emails from people who need healing or just the chance to tell their story. Thank you for sharing yours. We differ on a few important issues and I lament that you left the Church, but I certainly appreciate the courage it takes to come forward, even many years later. No one had the right to take advantage of you or to violate your trust. Our children must always come first in our priorities. Please know that I will add you to my prayer list. It gets longer all the time. There are so many who feel angry, hurt or abandoned by a Church that was supposed to nurture and protect them.

    May you find peace and know happiness in your life,
    Father Joe

  4. I know Matt Nash. I was two years ahead of him at Bergan High School.

    I too went to retreats where Ken Roberts was retreat master in the early 80s… Such a thrilling coup to have such a celebrity-priest concerned about MY spiritual health.

    A that time, I had a very turbulent relationship with my father. I was struggling with sexuality. I was vulnerable to an older man who expressed care for me.

    Roberts’ behavior was the most manipulative. He would express love and concern and support, and then make his move in the confessional at the climax of the retreat. At a time when the boys were most vulnerable and it could be easily hidden… “Jesus loves you….” . “His mother, Mary loves you…” . “I love you…” ….

    Roberts was a predator. He knew what he was doing and carefully planned it. He cultivated a public image that made him nearly invulnerable – beyond reproach. This careful image also afforded him continual access to an ever-changing pool of vulnerable boys and teens…

    I later went to the seminary and explored a vocation. I ended up leaving, primarily because I couldn’t reconcile the hypocrisy I was seeing with the teachings of Christ.

    One night, late, at the sem, a small number of us were talking very honestly, and I discovered that Roberts behavior was not a unique experience that only happened to me.

    I was not as courageous as Matt. I didn’t report it. I didn’t know what to do… I was afraid and without a support network. I was afraid that it would be revealed i am gay, and therefore, in some twisted way, deserved it or welcomed it… By the time I was strong enough to report it, I had already separated from the church and focused those energies on founding my own life.

    Many years later, I found out from a friend who is now a priest that he’d been removed from ministry and was possibly being laicized. I felt sufficiently vindicated and have never felt the need to pursue any civil remedy.

    This is the first time I’ve publicly spoken about my experiences with this man. However, I feel compelled to support my former classmate, Matt, and tell you that I believe he speaks truth. I suspect there are MANY alum of Bergan who can offer similar support if they were courageous and safe.

    As an adult, I no longer have a relationship with the church. I admit that I miss it and occasionally wonder how different things might have been…

    My only wish is that the church would stop trying to blame the behavior of these men on homosexuality. Gay men are not pedophiles. Banning gay men from a life of service to the church does not, in any way, address this evil.

    I have a good life. I am an out gay man. I have been in a loving relationship for 22 years. I have been blessed with a measure of prosperity and love that fulfills me.

    Matt Nash speaks the truth.

  5. Glory, sick people do not belong in prison! They belong with the
    right doctor! May God be with him…whether he is still on this side
    or not…and may Mary reward him for all the good he’s done.
    I knew much goodness from this man in the 80′s. Mercy on all of us.
    Who among us has not sinned.
    Eileen

  6. Dear Fr Joe,

    It is very sad and it concerns me that Mr Anker, and many like him with that rather strange attitude of denial and protection have been the very reason why so many paedophile priests have been able to get away with their terrible abuse for so long.

    I knew a man who went on to abuse children, I still see him from time to time but he is no longer a friend even though I wish him no harm. My thoughts are always with and for the victims and also to ensure, through diligent intervention where necessary, he is never again put in the occasion of sin. Remember Jesus’ dire warning to anyone who causes the little children to ‘sin’.

    Putting a jar of candy right next to the door of a sweet shop is a very unwise thing to do, but that certainly does not negate the sin of theft.

    Evil only flourishes when good men do nothing, when good men refuse to witness the truth for what ever reason that only allows the shepherd to continue to trade as a wolf.. Didn’t Jesus even admonish Peter with: “Get thee behind me satan” And that was for a far lesser crime.

    If the Church (finally) has interveined to effectively sack this priest for good reason then the question must be asked: “Why would anyone go to such extraordinary lengths to try to disprove a truth and yet still claim to ‘be a catholic’?”

    Judas Iscarriott must have had some good points for Jesus to have called him, and yet he sold our redemption for 30 pieces of silver and then hanged himself. Am I to suggest that Judas should be held up on a par with even one of the evangeliists?………….no! God will judge him but I would do well to avoid putting him on a pedestal and pretending that it ain’t true. And I can say that as a victim of clerical abuse. I would not want anyone to have to experience what I endured in my childhood and it was only because my father, just like Mr Anker, refused to believe what was really going on; the truth in other words.

    Thanks, Fr Joe, for doing what you do,
    With love, Paul

  7. Father Joe,

    God laid it on my heart to find my precious dear friend, Father Kenneth J. Roberts. When God lays it on my heart about someone, I know to follow His lead because there is always a reason. Today, I have read many things and am burdened by what I have found; as I think it is all Satan’s work and Father Kenneth Roberts is being used by someone. In the late 70′s and early 80′s my own children were around Father Roberts; they LOVED HIM and he left a WONDERFUL impression on them.

    FATHER JOE: I met Father Roberts briefly and had supper with him back in 1989. I have books autographed by him. I loved his program on television, YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT. I read his conversion and faith story PLAYBOY TO PRIEST. As a young man it moved me deeply. However, the allegations are serious and the facts about his response are part of the public record that cannot be brushed aside. Was he used by someone? Was it the devil’s doing? Maybe so, but I would not disqualify human weakness and sickness.

    What I don’t understand is, Father Joe, you are suppose to be a man of God, yet with all my search for Father Ken, all I have found is a lot of gossip from you.

    FATHER JOE: No, not gossip, although there have been responses from people who loved him and who were purportedly hurt by him. As much as I admired the priest, it would be morally wrong to negate the stories of pain and betrayal from the victims that have come forward. Further, the Monitum which constitutes the post is not my own but is a warning from the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. It was forwarded to the various dioceses and was released as part of our effort to protect other children from sexual abuse. It is true that I dialogue with people who comment; but, such is what I am also doing here with you. The Church and priests are obligated to embrace openness about such matters and to extend what consolation and healing we are able.

    It sounds like you are a bit jealous of Father Ken, so you have to put him down and use a John Doe (someone that doesn’t have the courage to use their own name) as a person Father Ken has molested.

    FATHER JOE: Actually, the names of some of the victims are online and public knowledge. There may be cases that we withhold names so that the victims would not be victimized by others who would deny their stories and/or ridicule them. They are very courageous to come forward and given that there are multiple testimonies, the allegations seem credible. I hope that I am not personally jealous of any priest’s gifts. Father Roberts had many gifts that I deeply admired. That is what made the situation so much more terrible.

    As all the priests I know can tell you, I call a Spade a Spade and am not shy about standing up for what is right. You, Father Joe, are making a judgment call on Father Ken and have done that from what I have read for years now.

    FATHER JOE: His sluggish response to his Ordinary’s demands is a certain fact. One of the victims who has gone on the record was the son of the woman who helped distribute his materials (like his videos and tapes). The judgment, as you label it, was not mine to make. He was removed from ministry by his bishop. Because of stories that he might be doing house liturgies, the USCCB sent out a warning that he is not a priest in good standing. Without faculties, he cannot licitly offer the sacraments. Some priests in such situations have sought a community with other ousted clergy so that they might pray and make spiritual reparation. I would hope that he would follow this lead.

    Will you ever stop?

    FATHER JOE: Stop what? Churchmen are in trouble for a policy of silence, dishonesty and placing children in jeopardy. The Church will never make that mistake again. The Monitum about Father Roberts was published in clergy newsletters throughout the United States.

    God is the ONLY one that will judge us all, not you or me or anyone other person.

    FATHER JOE: In terms of salvation, only God is our judge. But, we are not speaking about that question here. Indeed, you are judging both me and my motives. And, you are very wrong. Priests are men under authority. The bishop is charged to make judgments about the clergy who function as extensions of his ministry. Father Roberts was judged by his bishop and the Church. He was removed from ministry. I should add that an element of every confessor’s identity is the role of judge. Of course, it comes along with other facets as well, like spiritual physician, healer, counselor, loving father, etc.

    Another thing you are telling people that is not true is that Father Ken’s books are no longer in print and they are because I have found them on several sites. You see Father Joe, I am 99% P. I. and I always get to the bottom of things and find out what I am looking for…that includes finding out if the books are still available and they are.

    FATHER JOE: The books might be available, but they are warehoused or used. He is out of print, and such is by order of his bishop. He is not permitted to write or to have a web presence. His online site has been down for years. Many of the tape masters were destroyed. Look at the copyright and publishing dates in the books: Playboy to Priest (1974), You Better Believe It (1977), Rest of the Week (1988), Mary the Perfect Prayer Partner (1990), Play It Again Sam (1991), Up on the Mountain (1995), and Nobody Calls It Sin Anymore (1997).

    Get your FACTS CORRECT and GET A LIFE. You are obsessed with Father Kenneth J. Roberts or you would not have things posted on sights that go back to the mid 80′s.

    FATHER JOE: The obsession is entirely yours. And as for the internet, did it even exist in the mid 1980’s? I first came online in the mid to late 1990’s. You cannot even get this fact correct. As a parish priest my life is full. I am saddened by the fall of old heroes, but I know that my greatest hero will never fail me, and that is Jesus Christ. Give your life and energy to the Lord and not to men who will fail you.

    Words have power and they say a lot about a person, I am not impressed by the vomit that is coming from your mouth and it sure doesn’t look good on a person.

    FATHER JOE: You say it yourself, but I would hold a mirror up to you and your words.

    My prayer is that you may ask for more of God and less of yourself, more of His love and to learn to love as He loves us.

    FATHER JOE: Here you go, judging me again, and do you even know my life… my celibate love… my obedience to the bishop… my regular and daily prayer life… the daily Eucharist I offer… the sacraments I administer… and so much more. Maybe you should pray as not to fall into the sin of presumption?

    I firmly believe we can’t love God if we don’t love ourselves and others, as Jesus has told us we must in order to love Him. Love is the answer to everything, loving the person and not their deeds. God has put such a love in me for ALL of His children that I couldn’t sit back and keep on reading what you continue to say.

    FATHER JOE: Hum, does not sound like love to me, but rather vindictive anger against a messenger and resistance to the Church and her truth. You should respect the Monitum as an expression of just authority. Your fight is not with me but with the bishops. Just because you want to imagine that the priest in question is innocent would not make it so. My counsel has always been to pray for him and for those who feel wounded.

    Prayer is the answer, not repeating over 20 years of the same garbage. Give it all to God and He will take care of it.

    FATHER JOE: Such passivity is not the Catholic way. Rather, we must be proactive in our response to those things which imperil souls and threaten the good of others. Yes, we pray, but we must also be active in protecting God’s children and in helping those disillusioned to find their way back to God.

    God is not surprised at anything that happens here, He saw/knew the end from the beginning, and yet He loved us enough to still allow us to be here. Jesus’ lineage come from Abram that said his wife was his sister, Rahab the prostitute, David who had a man killed because he wanted the man’s wife, which is lust. my Bible tells me if we “ASK for forgiveness, God is faithful to forgive us” and Jesus said, “You that are without sin cast the first stone.”; Jesus knew no one could cast a stone because we are all sinner’s saved by His Grace. Jesus paid a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay…….That is LOVE and God doesn’t keep on holding our sins over our heads once we have ask for His forgiveness and repented of our sins.

    FATHER JOE: But God does require repentance and restitution. Even sins confessed in the sacrament of reconciliation require penance in regard to the temporal punishment due to sin. As for this particular matter, the Monitum was to avert the further endangerment of children. God may forgive but we should not be foolhardy.

    Father Joe, Father Ken’s sins are his and not yours to keep on talking about. Too many years have passed for people to keep sticking a knife into this subject that has never been taken to court. It is not ours, but it is our duty to pray for Father Roberts because I know he is hurting and I know he is a wonderful person that God was using to bring HIM glory and no one else.

    FATHER JOE: Here is precisely the problem. You believe he is innocent and would silence anyone who would claim otherwise. Why should you be allowed to post a comment here and force others to delete theirs or not to respond? Might this further victimize victims? That is rather hypocritical, would you not say? The matter of Father Roberts has gone to court but the purported victims waited too long and it passed the statute of limitations.

    My thoughts and I will be praying about what I have learned today because God allowed Father Kenneth J. Roberts to be a friend, a precious gift to me and my family, and this was not an accident but was part of God’s plan for us and these things happen for a reason, there is something that each person brings into our lives as our paths cross. I thank God daily for Father Kenneth J. Roberts and will always consider it a blessing that I was gifted with such a precious friends.

    FATHER JOE: I am glad that you can still benefit from his past ministry and sound teaching. However, many of us feel that this business has poisoned the water hole. It is for this reason that he can no longer function as a priest in public.

    Sincerely,
    Anker

  8. I just thought about Fr. Roberts and was wondering where he was or if he is still alive! I went to 2 of his missions when he traveled across the US speaking, once in Denver and once in Kansas City! He taught me alot about my Faith and I remember alot to the things that he taught me! I will pray for him and remember his great Faith in God and the great teaching that he passed on to me! Thanks, Linda

  9. Joan, I know where he is. I pieced some things together and found out. He isn’t acting as a priest, but he has access to youth and unsuspecting adults. Frightening.

    Every day I live with the crimes ken roberts perpetrated on my husband. It’s almost unbearable reading how blind people truly are on this topic.

    FATHER JOE:

    If you have first-hand knowledge that there might be further misconduct, then YOU are obliged to go to the authorities. Failure to do so may make you criminally liable.

    Despite the hurt and anger we feel, all of us must be careful about any exaggeration or distortion that would constitute calumny. The apparent facts and public allegations are bad enough. Know that I will keep your family in prayer. Every priest feels shame when one of his brothers fails to be what he is expected to be.

  10. Dear Fr Joe,

    I am astounded at the number of very dangerous people who support any priest who has interfered with young children, or for that matter, gone against his vows. This is exactly the reason why the paedophile priests have been able to get away with it for so long.

    I suspect that Judas Iscariot had any number of good points before satan entered into him, but remember that after he betrayed Our Lord and hanged himself and was dashed to the ground so that his guts spilled out, Jesus was not quoted as forgiving him, but actually stated that it would be better had he never been born.

    Once a ‘priest’ has been seen to have gone off the rails, no matter how charismatic he might appear, nor how handsome he might present on the television, he is a danger to everyone. What on earth is wrong with these deceived morons who refuse to see the picture right in front of their eyes. It’s like trying to sell a dead horse and the sales man says, “Well it was alive this morning!”………..the horse is dead and will never live again. It should only be fed to the dogs.

    I am sure that if many more of the Church were more like Cardinal Arinze and spoke out with the truth and not with political correctness, then there would be no hiding place for these dangerous men within its ranks.
    Best wishes,
    Paul

  11. Matt, I cannot begin to know the terrible pain you endured. I sometimes think that the betrayal of our Lord in the garden was the beginning of his sorrowful passion; there are few things as agonizing as the violation of trust from a person we love and respect. To a certain extent I must reserve judgment, not because I fail to believe you but because of the public nature of this forum and not wanting to wrong anyone. I appreciate that you withheld any graphic details. I have no time machine to go back into history to fix things. There is no magic whereby a wave of a wand will make everything better. Abuse is a nightmare from which one does not entirely awaken because the memory will not go away. Men will always be sinners but I hope that this particular weakness and vice can be rooted out of the priesthood. It is certain that better efforts are being made today at screening and in seminary formation.

    I noticed the “MD” after your name. You have evidently dedicated your life to helping others. It is my prayer that you will have every success in such good work. It may be that the best remedy in this world against evil is to be steadfast in witnessing goodness and in bringing healing. Please know that the value of priesthood and the meaning of the Church are not exhausted by a few men. Christ is the eternal high priest. The sacraments still give grace and life. The call to holiness has not been retracted. Don’t allow sinful men to steal your faith from you. God sees everything and we must trust both to his mercy and to his justice. You remain in my prayers.

  12. Father, I have no problem leaving my name and title. I think an anonymous accusation is generally suspect. I can document what I have said and his relationship with our family. I could have become very graphic but chose not to.

    Ironically I came upon your site as I was recounting my story of abuse to a number of nurses on the unit last weekend. I googled his name to find a picture to show them and came upon your site. I probably wouldn’t have commented until I read a number of comments suggesting that he was a victim.

    If you ever find him (I think he is in the priest jail equivalent in Kansas) I’d love to have the opportunity to send him a letter. I know he knows who I am and I can assure you that Msgr. Rohlfs and Bishop Myers know who I am. (He wasn’t all bad; I really believe he was troubled.) He was a great speaker and an intelligent man with a great message— what a shame. But he zoned in on me, an insecure boy questioning his sexuality and capitalized on it over a period of 2 years, culminating in something even more horrible in a Springfield rectory on my 16th birthday. I idolized him and my parents sent me down on the train to see him in Springfield, IL over the weekend at my request. He drove me home in his white convertible the next morning. I can describe the day in detail. If you want to hear a great story of abuse and how screwed up the system was under Bishop Myers and Msgr. Rohlfs, shoot me an email. I’ll give you all the details, not only of the sordid Roberts’ issue but also of how former Rev. Mike Van Acker was moved out of his ministry position at then Bergan High School in the summer of 1988.

    Myers was eliminated from the panel on priest abuse because of how many had been sheltered in the Peoria Diocese. Bishop Fulton Gregory took his spot on the committee. At that time 8 priests lost their privileges; 4 of them regularly had dinner in our home and one adopted a male child. There were always rumors but my parents trusted in the Church and its hierarchy and refused to believe them. They learned. We all learned. (Roberts and Rohlfs were not all bad and did help me at points in my life.) That said, weighing it all, the things they did to help me did not compare to what they did to damage me and to completely destroy my faith in organized religion. It disgusts me that these people still hold positions of power in the Church.

  13. This is a real teaching moment, Matthew; however, if you should become concerned about listing your full name, let me know and I will edit the comments. As the moderator, I had a reservation about it, but did not want to short-change your personal courage. While I share your consternation, I think that secular authorities were also to blame. Stories have circulated in many cases of collusion to prevent scandal. All elements of society (government, church, the general public and the media) should be onboard in making the safety and nurturing of our children the first priority. God bless you.

  14. As a follow up, I read through comments lauding this man. I wanted the truth from a victim out there. I never sought retribution or sued the church and have nothing to gain from posting this. I also clearly posted my name and title. I did it so those of you defending this man could hear from someone who knew this man far better than you. He was a great communicator and youth minister and I am sure did good for many. But he was also a child molester and there is ample documentation to back this up. So it bothers me to hear this defense of someone which took advantage of me and damaged me deeply. I can very much assure you that he did not lose his privileges for nothing and would ask you all about the church that took being a priest away from him yet managed to keep him out of jail.

  15. Thanks for leaving access to my comments and for your thoughts Father Joe. In answer to the previous respondent: Father Roberts first met me at a freshman year retreat at Kings House just outside of Peoria in the Spring of 1983 where the abuse began. He became a good friend of my parents, stayed in our home, said Masses in our backyard. Then Fr. and now Vicar General Msgr. Rohlfs, was informed of the abuse when I was old enough to know what was going on. He implied that I was mistaken despite Church records documenting child sexual abuse of young boys by Fr. Roberts as early as 1967. When the abuse of this other boy came forward in the late 80′s and Fr. Roberts was asked to leave I again contacted Fr. Rohlfs from my dorm room at the University of Notre Dame to hear why. He would only reply that “things I may have told him may have been accurate.” … not I am sorry I didn’t investigate, can I do anything to help you or sorry I called you a liar … which was just more abuse from the great cover up Catholic Church.

    FATHER JOE:

    The American bishops, themselves, have said that some cases were mishandled. When I was a young priest, it was an issue that had barely raised a blip on the radar. We all knew of priests who liked a few too many drinks, but the issue of child abuse seemed absurd and limited to the aberration of one or two who fell through the formation net. I watched and read the news with shocked disbelief as dozens upon dozens of priests were exposed and the numbers of victims piled up (even from a single predator). Like the laity, many good priests also became upset that these men could take advantage of the trust given to priests and that passivity in official circles had allowed them to escalate their crimes. Many of us thought it should be obvious that the protection of our children and the care for our families must always come first.

    Priests by necessity must keep the seal of confession. We are good at keeping secrets. But outside the sacrament, we would have to learn that professional secrecy should not silence us when the flock tells us that a shepherd is really a wolf. Further, we tended to think that we could tell just by association who the rascals might be. It was hard to imagine that men intensely orthodox in thinking and externally pious might have a devilish dark side. Even when facing the facts, it may be that some could not get themselves to believe it. If we were naïve before, I suspect that we are more seasoned and alert today.

    In deference to men like Father Rohlfs, I do not know him and have never been party to any deliberations about such matters. However, I would suspect that priests in the past struggled with their confidences, their role as men under obedience and questions about how to proceed. Fear of scandal (which has canonical implications) and frequently threatened litigation might also have stifled a more forthcoming attitude to purported victims.

    While certainly not perfect, the policy endorsed by the U.S. Bishops is a real attempt to make a difference:

    >Assessing and taking serious credible allegations;

    >Contacting the police;

    >Suspending a priest while the investigation is underway;

    >Seeking professional psychiatric evaluation;

    >Offering counseling services for purported victims; and

    >Taking the appropriate pastoral action: hopefully to restore the name of a good man if the charges are false or to remove him from ministry if they are judged genuine. (This would also be affected if the man must serve jail time.) The Holy See has revised the steps whereby such men can be laicized.

    Since you mention Msgr. Rohlfs, I feel it is necessary to cite something that shows his perspective. Today, he is highly respected for his training of priests at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. I would direct readers to an article that ran in The Washington Post on May 4, 2010:

    He knew his seminarians would be entering an institution under fire over clergy sex abuse cases around the world. And he had seen the devastation a single bad priest could cause. He had often told them about the job he’d held before becoming the seminary’s rector— the one that sent him to bed many nights a broken man. For seven years, he had investigated priests accused of sex abuse in Illinois.

    …Rohlfs had shared the lessons he’d learned from 34 years as a priest. From the outside world, he warned them, they would encounter suspicion and, at times, outright disdain. From within, they would encounter something even more sinister: temptation. “If you remember nothing else from today, I would boil down all this advice to one thing,” he said as the class came to an end. “Fall in love with the Lord, and it will change everything. Fall out of love with Him, and it will change everything.”

    Such open talk of sex and the official dissection of temptations are things that have changed in the wake of the abuse scandals. Since Rohlfs arrived at Mount St. Mary’s five years ago, he has made extensive teaching on celibacy a priority. Seminarians spend an entire year examining its history, theological roots and practical challenges. And they pore over reports on the abuse scandals, looking for clues.

    It is a deliberately open approach for a man who, when asked to talk about the problem of abusive priests, takes off his glasses and rubs his face. A weariness creeps into Rohlfs’ voice.

    From 1998 to 2005, he was responsible for investigating accused priests as vicar general of the Peoria diocese. He was the one who had to hear the heart-wrenching accounts from abuse victims, who had to delve into the private lives of more than a dozen accused priests and confront them with his findings.

    “It was the most painful time of my life,” he said. “I had known a lot of these same priests growing up. But even worse was meeting the victims. You don’t know what to say to them. The pain they’ve felt. There’s nothing you can say that will change that.”

    He likened himself to a garbage man and woke up depressed every morning. Most of the priests he investigated had come from an era when celibacy was not taught at seminaries in a pragmatic, thorough way. Another thing the fallen priests had in common, he said, was that not one had kept up his daily prayers.

    So at Mount St. Mary’s, he has urged seminarians to pray at least one hour every day. If they don’t, he demands to know what they could possibly be doing that’s more important than talking to God?

    But not even prayer can substitute for love. That’s what stuck out most to Rohlfs in the wreckage of the fallen priests’ lives. “We can teach them everything we know, but, in the end, duty cannot do it,” he said. “It must be love – loving God more than you love sin.’’

  16. Very Sad Matthew Nash. Fr. Roberts was a frequent visitor to my parish where I grew up in the 80′s. I had never heard a thing about these issues until 20 years later! What years were you in contact with Fr. Ken? How can you see that he is still working with youth and where is that happening?

    FATHER JOE: It took some courage for him to comment here. I would counsel caution about questions. Any victim of such assault is deeply wounded and has a right to be upset and angry. As Christians we necessarily talk about mercy, healing and forgiveness; but some sins are so terrible that they cry out for justice. Matthew, I will remember you in my prayers and intentions for Holy Week.

  17. Fr. Ken Roberts molested me from the age of 14-16. The abuse is documented in the Peoria diocese and he was asked to stop youth ministry activities there in the late 1980′s. How terrible that he still has anything to do with youth. And with such a record I question why this sick man is not in prison?

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