Thursday, November 12, 2009

Father and his boyfriend.

The Advance ran an obituary the other day for a priest, Rev. Daniel Cassiero, who had served in several Staten Island parishes and schools during the 70s, 80s and 90s. Passing away at the fairly young age of 66, the Advance detailed the various milestones of Father Cassiero's life and career. Towards the tail end of the standard obituary verbiage, the following bombshell was inserted nonchalantly:

"Father Cassiero retired from the VA in 2004 and moved to Albuquerque with his partner, Craig Stoebling. While there, he enjoyed volunteering for the VA pharmacy in Albuquerque.

“He served in a variety of ministries, where he was known for his humor and the quality of his preaching,” said Stoebling, his partner of 10 years."

Whoah.

Obviously, these 2 short sentences don't provide too much information, but I think the fact of a gay priest merits some notice and discussion. I have questions. When did he first break his vow of chastity? If it was during his time in the Church, is it possible that no one noticed that he had taken up with a "partner"? And if they did, why was nothing done about it? He served as an Air Force chaplain over the course of 9 years, with a brief interlude as master of ceremonies at St. Patrick's Cathedral. How did this young and obscure priest from the boonies of Staten Island obtain such a prestigious position? Why does the phrase "Lavender Mafia" come to mind? After retiring from the Air Force, he then became a public school teacher in Virginia. That seems very odd. What was the reason for his early retirement and subsequent career as a public school teacher? Why Virginia? He then returned to the Island and taught at a local Catholic high school. How did he explain his unusual career path to whomever interviewed him at Moore? After getting a Masters in social work, he then spent the remainder of his working life as a social worker with the VA. Why? Did he have a religious function there or was his position purely secular? How was that allowed by his superiors? What kind of priest was he? Was he the kind of priest who inspires young men to consider the priesthood? Or was he the kind of effeminate gay priest who repels young men from anything having to do with religion? If he was breaking his vows, and living an unnatural lifestyle contrary to the Magisterium, how faithful and orthodox could his leadership have been? What could his "quality" preaching have been like if his lifestyle was in such contradiction to basic Christian morality? I would be interested in hearing what his former parishioners have to say about that.

I went to the website of the Albuquerque parish that is burying Father Cassiero. The church describes itself as "a multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-cultural inclusive Christian Community." To be charitable, the wording may be unintentional, but "inclusive" is usually a euphemism meaning that "the rainbow flag flies here".

And again, to be charitable, the quality of journalism at the Advance has sunk to such horrendous levels that their inept grasp of the English language may have misrepresented Father Cassiero's business partner as something totally different. Judging from his Facebook page, I would say not though. (Note- the Facebook page has been changed- here is the original picture:
It took the sex abuse Gethsemane of recent years for the Church, led by Benedict XVI, to take positive action against the pernicious cancer of homosexuals in the priesthood. God willing, the Pope's directives will be effective. How many actively gay priests are still in the priesthood is anyone's guess, although I've heard too many high-pitched lisps and slack morality from the pulpit to think that the number is negligible. No doubt we'll see more reports in coming years of priests retiring to sunny climes with their boyfriends and an Archdiocesan pension. But let us not respond to these monstrous revelations with either resigned silence or meaching tributes to their sense of humor, their prize winning gardenias or the delicate skill with which they threw a tea party. Let us name them for what they are: liars, con artists, oath-breakers, deceivers, and a Fifth Column of corruption within Christ's Church.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just saw your post.Surfing the net & looked to see if this pervert was anywhere on the planet.He was a child molester and the church protected him by moving him around.He was an active child molester at Monsignor Farrell High School in New York in the seventies. Good post. You are right on target.

Staten Pilgrim said...

That's a serious accusation. Would you care to elaborate, or give us some more information?

Gay Christian said...

You publish vile lies. You know nothing of the priest, but you lie by calling him "an active child molester." You sound like a homosexual who hates himself very much for being attracted sexually to his own sex. Self-hatred is sad because you hate yourself and every other gay man in the world. Other people no doubt know you are probably gay. I detect it in your words. You hurt many people with your self hatred.

Google should not have allowed "Anonymous" to post such a piece of lies, libel, and hated.

You, "Anonymous," are a creature of the devil, doing nothing but stirring up hatred with your lies. From hell you came and to hell you shall return.

Staten Pilgrim said...

Gay Christian...

Because the allegation was made anonymously on an internet forum, I think Fr. Cassiero remains innocent until proven guilty. Still, I'd like to know what makes you so certain that they are lies?

Anonymous said...

I was sexually molested by this pervert while a student at Monsignor Farrell High School in the early seventies. I know for a fact that other students there also were.

Staten Pilgrim said...

I ask these two questions in all sincerity, and without any disrespect, as someone who never had to experience the horror of sexual abuse, and with the genuine desire to understand how this sort of thing happens... 1. How could this man force himself on a teenage boys like that? Weren't high-school-aged boys capable of physically resisting? 2. Why did no one report him?

Thank you in advance for your answer, if you choose to give one.

Anonymous said...

I was about 140 lbs and a little over 5 foot at the time. He was a big, heavy person. We did report it to Fr. Bergen then.

Staten Pilgrim said...

And this Fr. Bergen did....nothing??

Angry At The Lies said...

Well, "Anonymous" you certainly are one hell of a guy. Drag someone else's name through the gutter and you are so 'brave' you won't reveal your own. You are a coward and a liar. I too went to Farrell HS in the early 70's so I am well aware of what it was like there and if your accusations had even an ounce of credibility, they would not have been a secret even back then. You sound like a disgruntled former student with an ax to grind rather than a victim of any abuse. If you are so willing to come forward with these lies then reveal your identity. If your timeline is accurate, you are a man in your 50's now so have some guts . You say you know for a 'fact' that others were molested so I suspect now you will sign on under different names and claim to be those people as well. No, I am not someone who 'blames the victim' in legiimate cases of abuse, but you sir, are not a victim - you are a
pathetic 50-something man with some screwed up values.

Anonymous said...

I was a student of this priest in the early 70s. What he would do (allegedly) was administer corporal punishment to students he felt weren't doing well in his classes. I can say first-hand that he once took me over from class to his room in the priests' residence, and showed me a leather whip leaning against the wall of his closet. He said that if I didn't get a better grade on my next test, that I was to come with him and receive punishment (i.e., a whipping, I assume). One of my classmates told me that he was struck a half-dozen times for getting a bad grade. Sure enough, I didn't get the grade he wanted me to get, and he told me to meet him after school. I just didn't go - that's how I dealt with it. He took me aside a week or so later, and said he was "very very disappointed with me" - and that was it - no more overtures, no unjust bad grades - that, thankfully, was that. I think someone must've ratted him out at some point, because a few months later, he gave our class a teary speech about us "not knowing what love really was." It's a shame, because, except for this one abberation, he was an exemplary priest and teacher in every way. I'm sorry, but I don't think the vow of chastity is a natural one. A medieval literal-ness that needs to be rescinded - that's just my opinion. Too much repression, that, unfortunately, leads to perversion...

Staten Pilgrim said...

Wow, latest Anonymous, that is a creepy story. Corporal punishment is one thing, but using a leather whip on boys in your private residence is another thing. That's not proof of sexual abuse, but it's certainly veeeeery suspicious.

I disagree with your assertion that celibacy is to blame. That claim has been made and demolished many times. Celibacy has been lauded by both Christ Himself and St. Paul, and has been practiced since the first days of the Church, by countless saints and millions of clergy and religious. Is our age so extraordinarily randy that we can't control our passions like previous generations? If anything is unnatural, it is our age's idolatry of the sexual act, and its elevation to an unnatural place in our hierarchy of values, above soul, morality, and God. Protestant denominations allow clergy to marry, and they have had even more cases of sex abuse than the Catholic Church. The problem is that for a variety of reasons, homosexuals have gravitated to the religious life, in all Christian denominations. It's not a problem of celibacy. If otherwise normal priests couldn't cope with celibacy, they could easily have satisfied heterosexual lust in any number of places. But they didn't. Instead, they preyed mostly on boys who were just beginning puberty or who were in the early years of puberty. If these men weren't in the priesthood, they would have been doing this to Boy Scouts, students, younger relatives, etc.

Staten Pilgrim said...

For some reason, the following post by "Anonymous" does not show up here, so I am posting it:

"P.S.: Btw, I (the poster of the post just above)am a different Anonymous from the Anonymous in the first part of these comments. I don't take any satisfaction from airing this about someone deceased (may he rest in peace) but Father C. used to have a quote posted in his classroom that said: "The best way out is always through" - so in that spirit, I've tried to tell it like it was, in the hope that maybe someday, all of the testimony and evidence of experiences, a great many far worse than what I or my classmates went through, may add up and bring about a positive change..."

Anonymous said...

I grew up on Staten Island, steeped in the irony of Catholicism. My brother attended Mon. Farrell High School in the early seventies and Dan Cassiero was a good friend to him. Fr. Dan gave the most touching eulogy at my mother's funeral. My mother loved him. But as the years passed and my brother's behavior become more and more out of control I have often wondered about his "close" association with the priests at Mon. Farrell H.S. I always had a feeling that something was wrong. I knew Fr. Bergen as well, he was the principal at Moore High when I went there. He had a habit of ignoring what was right in front of him. I know this from personal experience. I liked Fr. Dan but I always suspected that there was more to him than just his love of god. As a straight woman who has had many many gay male friends, I think I knew what he was all about somehow. I hope now - not pray - hope, that his love for my brother was nothing but altruistic.

Staten Pilgrim said...

Thank you for your comments, Ms. Anonymous. Your story about your brother is thought provoking. I'm assuming that he is deceased, so you can't ask him directly? To be completely dispassionate about this subject, we can look at it two ways. First, when we examine the accounts of clerical child abuse, it is not unknown that boys maintained a good relationship with their abusers, even after the abuse stops. That was a manifestation of the psychological control the abusers had. Abusive priests also often wormed their way into the confidence of the families of the boys they abused. It is also known that the abuse often triggered self-destructive and anti-social behavior in the boys. So, it would be cause for suspicion if your brother only started acting out after he developed a close association with the priests. And from our perspective today, we look suspiciously on any sort of "association" between priests and young boys.

On the other hand, sometimes we can be guilty of ascribing evil motivations to the most innocent of actions. Perhaps the priests were trying to help a boy they saw as going down the wrong path? That is part of their job, after all. I recall when I was about 12 years old and went on a trip to the Jersey Shore with the young parish priest and two other altar boys. When we look back on that today, our first reaction is shock and horror. We automatically think that such a scenario would almost certainly lead to child abuse, and we wonder what kind of irresponsible parent would allow such a thing. However, in that case, things were as they seemed. The priest liked to work on his tan, and he was nice enough to give three bored kids a summer excursion.

So, it's a shame that these evil men have forced the entire priesthood to restrict so many aspects of their natural ministry, such as helping children, but unfortunately that's the situation we're in. Because of what happened, we have to be suspicious of everyone these days.

Brother Joe said...

So, let's see 'Miss Anonymous', you're up at 3AM, have nothing better to do,so you decide to write some completely pointless comment on a blog. You say things like 'suspected' and "I think I knew what he was really all about'and the only real response that really warrants is who cares? Really, who cares what you 'suspected' or what 'you think you knew'? And really, how dare you presume to know what someone else is "really all about". You, like most of the others on this site, have nothing to say other than pure SPECULATION about a man who has been dead for almost 2 years and can't respond to your 'thoughts'. What did you possibly think was the value of sharing these 'thoughts'?
While I do agree with you that Staten Island is 'steeped in the irony of Catholicism', you seem to have forgotten that it is also a very small community and even though you may hide behind the "Anonymous' label, you give sufficient information about your situation that you are easy to recognize for those who knew you then and know who you are. You conveniently leave out things such as dysfunctional family or the 'speculation' that maybe your brother finally had a positive male role model and upon graduation did not have that positive sense of self value that had been given to him by someone who genuinely cared about him - yes, JUST cared, nothing more. Did you ever 'think' about that scenario as a possibility? And bottom line here, maybe your brother's situation wasn't really the problem here for you was it? Based on your blog, I can say that "I think I know what you are all about somehow'.

Staten Pilgrim said...

I wonder what the "irony of Catholicism" is supposed to mean.

Paul Z said...

I was molested by "FR." Cassiero when I was a sophomore at Farrel in 1972. He accused me of cheating in English class and ordered me to his living quarters after school. He then proceeded to pull down my pants and underwear and paddle my ass. I was terrified, mortified, and deathly afraid to mention this incident to my parents or anyone else until now. It's comforting to know that this child molester is now rotting in hell. He ruined my life.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the earlier anonymous posters on this thread. The first one who said that he was an active molester in the seventies. I recently found out that he also molested my younger 'deceased now' brother. This haunts me. Just last night I was so upset about these experiences--and this is 40 years later. I wrote a letter to NY Archdiocese a few years back; they responded asking me if I wanted some counseling. I am not surprised one bit that 2 more victims have posted here. There are many more. The leather strap (whip) about 20 inches long, 5 inches wide, and a thickness of about 1/2 inch was used on me several times. He talked me into thinking that I did something wrong, that lying fuck, then as a stupid kid you succumbed to his pressure that you had to pull your pants down and lie across his lap to be whipped. There was more stuff too but one can only reveal so much because the hatred gets one crazy. These are not lies. These are but the tip of the iceberg. He would be on the lookout for kids from broken homes, family troubles, absence of a father--and offer help and comfort to the mom and kids: a weekend getaway, a dinner out, all to get a chance to abuse a child. Who would put their real name here? That's why we stay anonymous, but I bet we know each other.

Anonymous said...

This was not a secret. The priests knew. They would see boys going to his rectory room or leaving (not by the front entrance we were told by Fr. Dan (what a fucking joke).Also, I am not gay and am not a gay hater. Why do you think this pervert ended up shuffled around to so many places: to hide the problem. Then, someone must have finally turned up the heat and the asshole joined the Air Force. He could molest Air Force troubled young men there. Then he volunteered as a counselor at VA New Mexico to find more troubled potential victims. He's textbook. Wake the fuck up Mr. Gay Christian! And to Staten Pilgrim, the answer to your question is Fr Bergen did NOTHING. That's probably why he got promoted to Monsignor. And Brother Joe-you are on some other fucking planet.

Staten Pilgrim said...

Interesting development: Facebook has notified me that someone from the same city in Arizona where "Father" Cassiero and his boyfriend had retired has recently tried to hack the Facebook account for Staten Island Catholic. Naughty naughty! Someone is obviously very upset that public discussion of "Father" Cassiero's lifestyle is being conducted on the internet.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me if they know of any sexual abuse that went on in the seventies at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Staten Island, NY. I was told it was a teacher not priest.

Anonymous said...

Write a letter to the Archdiocese of NY on Park Ave in NY City ASAP to apply for a settlement. The Archdiocese has an outside law firm in Wash, DC reviewing claims. Easy to submit. Deadline soon.

The dissidents on this thread should tune into reality and think about looking for compassion and empathy for the sex abuse victims who posted here.

It does ruin part of one's life, never goes away. Like one poster, I also received the letter offering counseling. If a priest ever asks to go out of town with your son or a few boys, say 'no.' He is trying to get your son away to abuse him.