Priest Placed On Leave After Alleged ...

Priest Placed On Leave After Alleged Misconduct

There are 69 comments on the WUSA Washington, DC story from May 4, 2007, titled Priest Placed On Leave After Alleged Misconduct. In it, WUSA Washington, DC reports that:

Rev. Christopher Buckner, 54, a faculty member with an area distance learning institution since 2000, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of an allegation that he engaged in ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WUSA Washington, DC.

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Parishoners

United States

#1 May 6, 2007
My husband and I have known Fr. Buckner throughout our grade school, high school, and college years, and we wholeheartedly support him and do not at all believe the allegations against him. We are praying for both Fr. Buckner and the accuser.
Support Father B

Washington, DC

#2 May 6, 2007
God Bless and protect Father Buckner and all the students he has been such an inspiration to over the years. His dedication to our parish and enthusiasm has brought many of us back to the pew.
Parishioners

United States

#3 May 6, 2007
While we have only known Fr. B for the last several years, we have found him to be a good and holy man. Our children have found him to be inspirational and a valuable resource in learning about the faith. We will keep him as well as his accuser in our prayers.
Concerned Catholic

Potomac, MD

#4 May 7, 2007
I wholeheartedly support the Arlington Diocese handling of the accusations against Father Buckner in their decision to place him on leave while the investigation into charges of sexual misconduct with a minor continues. In too many instances in the past the Church has not acted to protect minors from priests accused of misconduct, rather acted to protect their own first. If Father Buckner is innocent then he should be allowed to continue his service to the Church. If found guilty he should be sent to jail and should be dismissed from the priesthood. I will continue to pray for Father Buckner and for the person who has reported the misconduct to the diocese.
Student

Evans, GA

#5 May 7, 2007
I am a student of Fr. Buckner at CDU. I find him to be a very holy man and brilliant theologian. I can't imagine him ever harming anyone. I pray for God's justice and mercy for all involved.
David

United States

#6 May 7, 2007
I have personally known and served under Father Buckner countless times in the past 12 years. I have made the pilgrimage to the Holy Land with him. I have prayed with him, listened to him, and even cried with him once. I Love him very dearly as a friend, as a spiritual Father, Shepherd, and Teacher, as does my family and many other families I know. He is indeed a wonderful,Loving, deeply passionate and spiritual man. I cannot believe he would ever do such a thing. Regardless of his innocence or guilt, I Love and respect him and will continue to pray for him and all of those involved with him and these allegations. I pray also for peace and unity in the Church.
Another Parishoner

Stuart, VA

#7 May 7, 2007
I don't believe a single word of the allegations. Fr. Buckner is a good man and a holy priest who certainly had his detractors. I even understand that the current pastor at St. Mary announced Fr. Buckner's allegations DURING MASS!!! Just to spite him! God Bless Fr. Buckner and pray that our bishop vindicates him and repairs the damage done.
Another Parishoner

Stuart, VA

#8 May 7, 2007
Concerned Catholic wrote:
I wholeheartedly support the Arlington Diocese handling of the accusations against Father Buckner in their decision to place him on leave while the investigation into charges of sexual misconduct with a minor continues. In too many instances in the past the Church has not acted to protect minors from priests accused of misconduct, rather acted to protect their own first. If Father Buckner is innocent then he should be allowed to continue his service to the Church. If found guilty he should be sent to jail and should be dismissed from the priesthood. I will continue to pray for Father Buckner and for the person who has reported the misconduct to the diocese.
Perhaps so, but for those who know Father Buckner, they know he would never do something like this. Let the investigation go through its course - yes - but I wonder where Father Buckner goes to get his reputation back after this episode? Let us hope that if the charges are untrue or unfounded, Loverde has the wisdom and charity to replace what this allegation has taken away.
Annette

Studley, VA

#9 May 7, 2007
I believe that Father Buckner is completely innocent and that anyone who truly knows him believes the same. Before
rushing to judgment, I would beg
everyone to remember that ANY ONE of us could easily be accused of such a crime with no hard evidence. Once the accusation is made it is impossible to undo the damage even if innocence is proven. Please
give this priest the same fair treatment you would hope for yourself or someone you care about.
Thank you.
A reason

Galeton, PA

#10 May 9, 2007
I don't believe for a moment that this is true. Father Buckner is a kind and God loving Pastor.
Your a very good man father. Thank you for the time you were in fredericksburg, you are missed.
Jacob

Arlington, VA

#11 May 9, 2007
I cannot possibly believe that Fr. Christopher Buckner had anything to do with these allegations. I have served under him for seven years at St. Veronica's Catholic Church, and know him to be a very holy man. Let us pray for him, the accuser, and the Catholic Church. These strings of priest accusations are hard on the Church.
Nico

United States

#12 May 9, 2007
False allegations are now a fashionable against a homosexually dominated Church. The Arlington Diocese's record on giving priests due process is dubious.
James

United States

#13 May 9, 2007
Nico is right. The Bishops who were the primary cause of the scandal are now throwing priests to the lions in order to move the inquiry from them to others. How many do you suppose moved known pedersts from place to place? Investigate the Bishop of Arlington's past and see if he can sustain the onslaught.
Susan

United States

#14 May 11, 2007
I am a survior of sexual crime and abuse, and like others who have dealt personally with these issues, I have an abuser/abused "radar." Having worked with and around Fr. Buckner closely for over five years and having chaperned a youth pilgrimage to the Holy Land with him, I can duly attest I have NEVER sensed, seen, felt, heard, or otherwise observed ANY innappropriate behavior with ANYONE (children, teens or adults).

While Fr. Buckner can be gruff and terse at times, he's one of the most holy, humble, faithful (and brilliant) priests I've ever met (and I've worked in a lot of churches). He isn't perfect, but he is no abuser.

A great injustice has been wrought here. His life has been turned upside down and he's lost nearly everything--including his reputation--and potentially his life's work. Though the incredible loss is obvious in his voice, he doesn't mention it. He only asks for prayers for his accuser.

Bottom line, although the accuser probably feels these things to be true, he is either misremembering or misinterpreting or fabicating these "memories." In any case he is greatly disturbed and is in need of our prayers.

Let us pray for them both in this dark night.
Heather

Fredericksburg, VA

#15 May 11, 2007
When I heard these allegations, I was sickened. My husband and I have been parishoners at St. Veronica's for several years and consider ourselves blessed to be members of that parish. I do not believe the allegations that have been levied against him. Accusing priests seems to have become "all the rage" as of late and it is disheartening.

When the truth comes out and Fr. Buckner is cleared, he will never be looked at the same way by some people again, which is tragic. May God comfort and surround him by His love.

He has our support and prayers during this difficult time.
Susan

United States

#16 May 11, 2007
For those that may not know Fr. Buckner personally or more than superficially, I'd like to add a little insight into this man.

He is a convert to the Catholic Faith. He studied under Fr. John Hardon, S.J.(who's cause for cannonization is ongoing). He is one of Fr. Hardon's spiritual childredn. Fr. B. also worked with and assisted in the writing of about ten books with Fr. Hardon as well as numerous theology classes.

Shortly after I started working with Fr. B.(five years ago) I recognized his name in one of my books (that he had helped with). This priest is so humble (and he'd be upset with me if he knew I was telling you all this now) that no matter how much I pestered him to autograph my book, he always either demured or conveniently changed the subject. And recently a mutual friend asked for him to autograph a book of hers and again he subtly "weaseled" out of it. He has never sought credit from the world for his outstanding work.

Fr. Buckner quietly helps the poor and those in need (even significant quantities) out of his own pocket/salary, never giving a clue that it was him that did the giving.

This occasionally terse and grumpy man would seem to be the last person you would want to go to for confession. While very firm in the Faith, his compassion and tenderness for sinners is immense--never would he yell at a penitent. He is truly a messenger of God's mercy and forgiveness.

The world needs more preists like him, not fewer.
StMaryparishione r

Vienna, VA

#17 May 13, 2007
Another Parishoner wrote:
I don't believe a single word of the allegations. Fr. Buckner is a good man and a holy priest who certainly had his detractors. I even understand that the current pastor at St. Mary announced Fr. Buckner's allegations DURING MASS!!! Just to spite him! God Bless Fr. Buckner and pray that our bishop vindicates him and repairs the damage done.
HERE COMES THE MUD SLINGING!!! Could the "announcement" have been an effort to bring out into the open a statement that surely was to be public soon after? Sounds like you have your own issues of prejudice, likes/dislikes about certain priests. What goes around comes around. God bless you. The Catholic Church, laity, clergy, etc. do not have to look far for enemies. They are right within their ranks. Supporting one another is not done. Too bad!!! WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?)
Kristen Laurence

Glendale, CA

#18 May 13, 2007
I am a faithful Catholic, very much in love with the Church. I have some understanding of clergy sexual abuse, and I would like to share a few ideas.

I do not know anything about Father B. except what I have read here and on prayforfatherbuckner, therefore I have no inclination personally as to whether the allegations are true or false.

When a parish first hears of a accusations against a pastor/priest, the reaction of parishioners is always astonishment and disbelief. In many instances of abuse, families have intimately known a priest for ten to twenty years before they learn that their own child was abused.

The overwhelming majority of children do not tell their parents that they were abused, even if asked directly. It is helpful to have someone other than a parent such as an older brother, sister, aunt or uncle ask. The children are more likely to be honest when not answering to a parent, even in a homeschooling-type family that communicates well. There are many reasons for this: embarrasment, fear, etc., and in the case of slightly older children (10-13 years) guilt because of pleasure involved and for having “allowed” it to continue. When young ones move beyond youth into adulthood, coming forth with the abuse becomes even more difficult, for fear of being called a "liar" by the Church, the public, friends and family. Victims who were indeed abused and have come forth have only done so with an extraordinary amount of courage.

Victims and families of victims need our prayers equally as much as accused priests. Their suffering endured cannot possibly be understood except by those who have endured it personally. As an example, in Kansas, five of one priest’s victims (all boys) committed suicide. Five boys. Five sons of five mothers. One priest. Clergy sexual abuse is no small suffering on the part of victims and their mothers.

Something to think about might be that we, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, are just that, a body. And as is the case of an injury to a human body, sometimes one member will suffer for the sake of the healing of another. May I suggest that even in the case of innocent priests who are accused, perhaps their suffering can be offered for the healing of true victims and their families, as Christ Who was not guilty, bore the suffering of the guilty for the sake of man.

Finally may I implore your consideration of the grave suffering of mothers and fathers whose sons and daughters were molested, raped and sodomized by members of the clergy. Even an accusation against or imprisonment of a holy, innocent priest is nothing in comparison to the loss of the soul of an eight year old boy, who left the Church because of the memory of having been sodomized repeatedly over the course of several years, some of those abuses occurring in front of the Tabernacle. Or the mother who still grieves on account of her daughter who was raped by Father O’Grady at the infant age of nine months.(True accounts.)

I write this in earnest, not to upset anyone who reads this, but rather to give a voice to the small innocents who need our prayers and our love just as much as all priests. It is easy for us to close our eyes to the hideousness that has occurred, and as a mother myself it can be very hard to imagine the terrors endured by so many children.

May I encourage readers of this blog to watch the newly released DVD,“Deliver Us From Evil”. It certainly is not a perfect documentary, as some of it criticizes the heirarchy of the Church. But I do believe it is important to see this from the perspective of the innocent victims who suffer every day from their abuse endured twenty years ago.

My prayers are certainly with all of you for Father B. If he is indeed innocent of the charges against him, what a beautiful cross he has been given from above for the sanctification of so many!

God bless all of you. In Christ,

Kristen
Zoompad

Reading, UK

#19 May 14, 2007
Kristen, thank you for standing up for victims of sexual abuse.

I was abused almost 40 years ago, and I can tell you that when you try to tell someone about it, you are met with both disbelief and indifference. I was treated as a wicked person for trying to tell people what had happened to me, and it broke my heart. It made me so low that I suffered years of mental illness. I was re-abused, because I was so vunerable. I used to cry most of the time.

I know a lot of abuse victims, and they all, without exception, tell me that the very worst thing was that they were either not believed, or, if they were, were treated with indifference and contempt, like being told to "Get over it", and play a little game that abuse victims call "Happy Families" because they are pressurised to socialise with their abuser, and pretend that nothing has happened! It is incredibly cruel to do that to someone!

So thank you, and may God bless you.
1995 convert

United States

#20 May 14, 2007
I took RCIA twice with Fr Buckner before joining the Church, as my husband was very hostile at that point, and I wanted to be SURE of what I was doing (we were former Evangelicals). Fr. Buckner took so much time answering our questions -- one lovely convert had been raised in an agnostic household, she wasn't even familiar with Adam and Eve, and he treated her with such love and sweetness. I am crushed that this man is going through this. Having dealt with an emotionally-abusive priest in this diocese who was "counselling" our anorexic/depressed daughter, yes, there are times you don't see it coming. But I would lay my hand on a Bible and vouch for this particular priest. I marched in DC with him and watched him grieve the lost unborn. He has a "wicked" sense of humor that made me laugh more than once. After having a sister sexually abused by a teacher many years ago, I know there are those clever, awful men who can do this and get away with it, right under our noses. I just feel instinctively that this particular man is incapable of inflicting such harm. I pray for him, I pray for the process, I pray for his accuser who must be suffering like my sister suffered and who never reported that teacher. "You are as sick as the secrets you keep." Abusive priests MUST be outed, but I am praying there is a horrible mistake here, and I am holding Fr. Buckner close in my heart -- he is my spiritual father and my Catholicism has been so dear to me ever since. Suicide, anorexia, depression, heart ailments -- his staunch faith has been a witness to me through some hellish times. God bless all involved, and may the TRUTH shine out.

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