Like the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa enjoyed dancing on the dark side via the occasional bout of fame-mongering. But who wouldn't fall prey to the siren song of celebrity and fortune? Unlike the Dali Lama, however, Mother Teresa (née Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhi) defended pedophilic priests. In fact, the Nobel Prize-winning nun — now on the fast track to sainthood from the Vatican — defended a Bay Area priest accused and convicted of sexual molestation back in the 1993. An act that, in addition to reinstating the criminal man of God, resulted in more horrifying sexual abuse.
In a page-turning cover story this week in SF Weekly, Peter Jamison reports:
... [D]ocuments obtained by SF Weekly suggest that Mother Teresa knew one of her favorite priests was removed from ministry for sexually abusing a Bay Area boy in 1993, and that she nevertheless urged his bosses to return him to work as soon as possible. The priest resumed active ministry, as well as his predatory habits. Eight additional complaints were lodged against him in the coming years by various families, leading to his eventual arrest on sex-abuse charges in 2005.
The priest was Donald McGuire, a former Jesuit who has been convicted of molesting boys in federal and state courts and is serving a 25-year federal prison sentence. McGuire, now 81 years old, taught at the University of San Francisco in the late 1970s, and held frequent spiritual retreats for families in San Francisco and Walnut Creek throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He also ministered extensively to the Missionaries of Charity during that time.
Did Teresa know about the sex abuse allegations before championing McGuire's reinstatement? Alas, yes. The woman known the world over as the go-to comparison for acts of benevolence knew all about his "sad" acts. She even went as far as admitting that a cover up was imperative in order to protect the lucrative priesthood industry. Jamison goes on to explain:
In a 1994 letter to McGuire's Jesuit superior in Chicago, it appears that Mother Teresa acknowledged she had learned of the "sad events which took [McGuire] from his priestly ministry these past seven months," and that McGuire "admitted imprudence in his behavior," but she wished to see him put back on the job. The letter was written after McGuire had been sent to a psychiatric hospital following an abuse complaint to the Jesuits by a family in Walnut Creek.
"I understand how grave is the scandal touching the priesthood in the U.S.A. and how careful we must be to guard the purity and reputation of that priesthood," the letter states. "I must say, however, that I have confidence and trust in Fr. McGuire and wish to see his vital ministry resume as soon as possible."
Among some of McGuire's sexual abuse admissions? Showering with a teenage boy from Walnut Creek, "soliciting body massages" from the kid and allowing him to "read pornography in the room they shared on trips together."
According to a jarring April 2011 article by The Bay Citizen on Catholic child abuse in San Francisco, McGuire, now 80 and in federal prison, worked as a teacher and priest at USF from 1976 to 1981 "before being fired for highly questionable acts." He was also the head father at St. Ignatius Church.
Mother Teresa, who died in 2000, is best known for her work in Calcutta where (with limited success) she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, "while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries." The now-dead nun could also face losing any chances at sainthood provided the Catholic Church comes to its senses regarding the ingrained and, yes, unforgivable practice of protecting child-molesting priests.
Read the Jamison's article in its entirety at SF Weekly.