Despite releasing the names of the 13 Southeast Texas priests who were considered “credibly accused” of sexual misconduct, Catholic church-goers still flocked to Mass Saturday evening at St. Anne Catholic Church.
“A lot of people are saddened by the news. I’m sad. I knew almost all of those priests and their work was good, they just made bad decisions,” Monsignor William Manger said. “This isn’t going to stop our worship or our services and by no means do I think the church will be empty anytime soon.”
Manger addressed the list in his homely to more than 100 Catholics.
“It’s a shame that young people have been abused by members of the clergy who have broken the trust of the church. We pray that the victims be helped, healed and continue to align themselves through Christ,” Manger said.
He asked parishioners to pray for the church and the victims.
“The message of Christ is special and it will always remain the same regardless of what some people do,” he said. “I ask that we pray for the victims and their families that they may find healing during this time. I ask that we pray for all those prosecuted of sexual abuse that they may find repentance and healing.”
Several parishioners said the unfortunate events won’t prevent them from living their faith.
“Everybody sins. Just because they are priests doesn’t mean they aren’t human too. They sinned. God knows that. Everyone has different temptations and God forgives people. So, none of that is going to stop me from coming to mass and believing in what I belive,” Barbara Dove, of Beaumont, said.
Another parishioner, a woman from Beaumont who asked to not be identified, said she has been Catholic her entire life and the list wasn’t going to change anything for her.
“I will continue to come to service and I will continue to live my faith just as I always have,” she said.
Manger said to his knowledge most of the priests on the list were not prosecuted and the one that did have charges pressed was not in jail.
“What that tells me is that what they did was not to a intense criminal standard,” Manger said. “Just because we went to seminary doesn’t mean it is just our job to live a holy life, everyone is called to live a holy life. We all fall sometimes and the important thing is that we seek God’s forgiveness and repent.”