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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.