Matt C. Abbott
Suffering mothers keep the faith
By Matt C. Abbott
April 14, 2009

First, I'd like to wish all my readers a very blessed Easter season, and I ask for your prayers for my family members and me.

A reader in San Diego sent me the following (slightly edited) e-mail in response to my April 10 column about Catholic journalist Robert Kumpel's painful situation:

    'I have known Robert and Tiffany Kumpel for many years. I taught them natural family planning here in San Diego and have called them friends since.

    'I, like Robert, know what it is like to be black-listed. At one time I was director of 'Responsible Parenthood' here in San Diego. Once Bishop Brom took over the diocese from the dying Bishop Maher, that all changed. But things work out for a reason. Shortly after resigning my demoted position in the Family Life department, my second son tried to commit suicide as a result of prolonged molestation by the Catholic priest he saw for counseling. We hired an attorney immediately (after working for the diocese, I had a clue what we were in for). I'm sorry to say that Bishop Brom did nothing, never has spoken to us, never personally offered an apology for the hell our child and family went through.

    'Robert had me write down our trials with the Diocese of San Diego. He used my story, combined with his, to be published in the local Catholic News Notes. No, it wasn't the diocesan newspaper, but it was a Catholic newspaper all the same. Robert helped me find the courage to continue the fight. The diocese had offered us $5000.00 dollars with a gag order for our son's molestation. I told our attorney what the diocese could do with their 5000 pieces of silver. Fortunately, the State of California extended the statute of limitations on the molestation cases here in California. My son, I'm please to say, received a decent settlement. But nothing will repair the damage done by the hierarchy in this diocese, or the loss of my son's innocence.

    'In my estimation, what Robert and Tiffany are going through in Georgia is worse. The bishop has forgotten that he is a servant of God, and the parish priest has forgotten his vows and the fact that it is God's house. When will this harassment stop? Does the pope know this is going on? And why in all that is holy did the bishop and parish call in the local authorities? I know the South is a different place from Southern California, but God's justice is the same no matter what country, county or diocese.

    'Robert took up the sword of justice to correct the evil at the parish level. For that, the devil has led the bishop to turn a blind eye to his duty to God and God's flock under his care. If we don't stand up with Robert, we have no room to complain when darkness falls over the Catholic Church elsewhere.'

Also, on Mr. Kumpel's blog, Tiffany Kumpel wrote (slightly edited):

    'It was sad to go to Mass at St. John the Evangelist, Valdosta, on this holy day of Easter, without my family. I would not have gone if I were not playing in the music group. I sat there thinking of the hypocrisy of the priest talking about the renewal, the Resurrection, the hope of the future life and look around and see only my eldest daughter, age 10, in the audience.

    'Robert had to go earlier this morning to Mass to Florida with the three younger children, without me. It is a sad day in the church when they can preach forgiveness, unity, holiness, and continue to live as though they never said anything. The priests and Bishop Boland continue to give homilies in front of me about family, forgiveness and love. They preach about consoling the worst criminals, prison ministry and outreach, yet no one in authority from that church has yet to even speak with us about this situation.

    'They refuse to extend the hand of forgiveness, and refuse to practice love and allow for a family to go to Mass on the most holy days together. They will allow murderers, con-artists and child molesters into their church but not Robert, with whom they simply disagree with his 'brand' of Catholicism.

    'Practice what you preach, Father Killips, Father O'Connell and Bishop Boland. Let my husband go back to our parish. What you are choosing to do is beyond reprehensible, and you will have to answer for it to a higher authority than Bishop Boland some day. The bishop is such a coward; he continues this denial of sacraments to my entire family by saying that he 'can't drop the restraining order' when he knows this is a lie. The restraining order allows for Robert to go to Mass; the bishop is personally choosing to ban him of his own accord and nothing else. I pray daily that my fellow parishioners will continue to withhold their money from this church as long as this travesty continues.'

© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if those emails are marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)


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