Priest removed for gay cruising

Priest removed for gay cruising

A California priest accused of soliciting for homosexual sex during trips, including ones for Church business, was removed from his parish. Among other things, Father Michael Lastiri also hired a convicted felon to work at a previous parish. Court records indicate that the felon and the priest probably had a homosexual relationship. That felon was later convicted of sexually assaulting a six-year-old boy at the parish. (Remember, homosexuality has nothing to do with pedophilia.) So for those who say that a priest being homosexual doesn’t have to impact his ministry, try that one on.

That’s just one of the items of evidence posted on the web site of Roman Catholic Faithful. Evidently, Father was cruising for sex quite often, and setting up “dates” for trips, including a trip to Rome with his bishop, John Steinbock of Fresno. So what was the reaction of his parishioners to the removal of this priest whose sexual escapades have compromised him and led him to bring a predator into a parish and their reaction to those who exposed Lastiri’s hidden life?

  • Catholic bishops did not discipline abusive priests because they knew that the laity liked these priests and would protest if they were disciplined. The abusive priests are often great con artists and exploit the weaknesses of the laity. The weakness of the bishops in giving in to the laity and the weakness of the laity in placing style above substance are both culpable weaknesses

  • It is crushing to admit it, but I’ve found that to be true. I was as sure as sure could be in the spring of 2002, with the scandal raging, that finally, finally, a critical mass of the laity would be sick and tired of being sick and tired, and would rise up in some fashion.

    Didn’t happen. The greater part of the Church is slouching toward Gomorrah, singing “Gather Us In” all the way. Damn, I need a drink. Somebody stick a bottle of Knob Creek in my satchel, and point me toward Walker Percy’s “Lost Cove.”

  • Shouldn’t we pray for these misguided men?  Pray that they will receive Wisdom and the necessary knowledge so that they can pull back from the edge of the abyss?  I don’t condone their actions for a moment, but didn’t Jesus say something about “lost sheep?”

  • Our prayers have been answered. He (the wolf in sheeps clothing), was FOUND on the internet advertising for homosexual sex!  Now, he should go to confession, do penance and sin no more.

    Please have mercy on our Lord whom you have deeply offended, Father.  Have mercy on the souls whom you have scandalized and led into sin!  Have mercy on yourself, a soul created in the image and likeness of God who has behaved like a dog gone mad.

    Why not ask this priest to pray for himself?  I am sure Jesus would like finally to hear of his infinite sorrow.

  • Oh, Rod, must you be so cruel … forgiveness in every sense is always unconditional and no anger must ever be expressed. Focus on your own sins and show some reverence, dammit.

  • I agree with Dom.  Steinbock needs to explain what was done to investigate those charges made in those letters.  If, as I suspect, it turns out that nothing was done, Steinbock should resign.

  • Rod is absolutely correct in his assessment of the situation.  Recall the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:24-43.  The pastor at my Maronite Catholic Church, delivered a powerful homily on this gospel last Sunday.  He reminded us that justice is part of compassion. 

  • With heavyweights like Leon Podles and Rod Dreher concluding that ‘the end is near,’ how could anyone argue otherwise?

    I think a lot of Catholics do not find this behavior acceptable (especially the violation of children.)  I think that there’s an uncomfortable truce, in most cases.  Our mothers generally raised us to be nice guys and gals; and they raised us to mind our own business.  Two good maxims.

    Now it so happens that Diocesan priests are the business of the Diocesan Bishops, in general terms.  There’s no question that the Bishops have been stupid and in many cases, culpably ignorant.

    I do think that the relationship between the Bishop and the faithful has changed:  I do NOT think that the faithful accept the Bishop’s word for anything, anymore.  This change is subtle, but significant.

    A large number of current (and past) Bishops will therefore retire and die un-lamented.

    The Church will persevere.

  • The bishop in this case, when he announced the priest’d removal from ministry, praised the man’s brave struggle with addictive/compulsive disorder.  There needs to be compassion, no doubt.  And I’m not sure the parishioners who went searching for dirt on the priest were acting justly, charitably or with right intentions.  But at the same time the bishop should be criticized when he speaks irresponsibly as bishop and as an ordinary human being.  Nobody deserves praise in this situation.

  • The priest did not simply have a private problem, but was involved with a child molester, as well as preaching unorthodox versions of morality. Bishops still protect such shady characters in the priesthood, and what is the laity to do? Ignore such problems until more children are molested or the Church further disgraced? Anxious laity are forced to turn to private investigations and public exposure because bishops still refuse to fulfill their responsibility to oversee their priests.

  • Indeed, what are the laity to do when their shepherds decline to exercise the authority of their office?  It seems to me that all too many overly trusting souls are preaching what is, in effect, a Catholic version of the “cheap grace” doctrines so prominent in evangelical Protestant circles: just say a few words and all will be well.  I’m sorry.  I’ll never do it again.  Forgive me.  And so on.  But all of the forgiveness in the cosmos means nothing if an offender is not penitent, has not been made to do appropriate penance – including removal from circumstances which were for him the occasion of sin, and is not subject to discipline even after sending up 14,000 signal flares to the effect that he was heterodox is doctrine and life.  Cheap grace exacts a penalty in souls, both of victims and perpetrators, and that is reason enough to reject it.

  • Peter F.: And Iom/blog/index.php?”>

  • It’s curious to me how many of these clerical cases have come in the ‘bear’ variety of homosexuality—I think this was a prominent feature of the infamous St. Sebastian’s website as well.  This persona especially confuses the innocent, I think, who expect all gay men to be effeminate.