Matt C. Abbott
May 5, 2009
Revisited: Father Gordon MacRae
By Matt C. Abbott

I very recently received the following (slightly edited) e-mail, from Ryan Anthony MacDonald, in response to a 2007 column of mine:

    'Dear Mr. Abbott:

    'A few years back you published in your column a rather remarkable commentary about a priest who was driver to suicide by ancient accusations and the financial demands of contingency lawyers, and by his own bishop who published his name in an attempt to appease the media. [The individual] wrote rather bravely about the fact that no priest should have to sacrifice his life for insurance companies and contingency lawyers. Some of us who have researched this issue more carefully were impressed by what [the writer] had to say.

    'I am aware that shortly after this, Father Gordon MacRae, an imprisoned priest who maintains his innocence, sent you a copy of an article he had written for The Catalyst entitled, 'Sex Abuse and Signs of Fraud.' He attached to it a brief letter from the late Cardinal Avery Dulles commending him for the well written article. I have conducted over the last two years substantial research in this particular case and I was alarmed to see that you published the late cardinal's letter out of context and without the article by Father MacRae to which the letter referred [click here to see the column in question]. I was most alarmed by your apparent duplicity. In your column you established links to various commentaries about the MacRae case, including those in the Wall Street Journal and the rather one-sided toxic landfill to be found at; however, you neglected to link the one place where the truth about this case can be found:

    'In justice and in fairness I think you should include a link to this site, and include in your column the full article by Father MacRae to which Cardinal Dulles' letter referred. Publishing the letter without the article appears to be a rather cheap attempt to besmirch the late cardinal's good name at Father MacRae's expense. There has been no shortage of people who have tried to use Father MacRae and the scandal in the Catholic Church to further their own agendas. I would like to think you are not one of them.'

"In justice and in fairness," Mr. MacDonald, I think printing your e-mail should suffice.

From a news release (edited)...

In response to the University of Notre Dame inviting President Barack Obama to deliver the commencement address May 17, the Pro-Life Action League will erect two large billboards located near the South Bend, Ind., campus.

The billboards, to go up May 4 on the Indiana Toll Road, Interstate 80/90, look like this.

The League and its national director, Joe Scheidler, a Notre Dame alumnus and former teacher there, already called on the university's president, Father John Jenkins, to rescind his invitation to President Obama.

"As scandalous as the Obama invitation is, it presents us with a welcome opportunity to highlight Barack Obama's pro-abortion record something which was largely concealed by the Obama campaign and the media during last year's campaign," Mr. Scheidler said. "Obama's extreme pro-abortion agenda is out of step with the majority of Americans, and that news is finally getting out, thanks to this controversy."

One of the League's billboards will be located on Interstate 80/90 east, half a mile east of the Elkhart exit No. 92, about 15 miles east of the Notre Dame exit, and the other on Interstate 80/90 west near Rolling Prairie, about 25 miles west of the Notre Dame exit. The League has rented the two billboards for 30 days each, so they will be in place for two weeks leading up to the Notre Dame commencement, as well as two weeks afterward.

The Michigan-based pro-life group Citizens for a Pro-Life Society also contributed to the cost of the billboards.

© 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's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at

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