Matt C. Abbott
New York priest wouldn't say pedophilia is a sin
By Matt C. Abbott
March 16, 2011

Father Robert Kennedy of the Diocese of Rochester, who's presently in public ministry and presumably a priest "in good standing" [click here], wouldn't say that pedophilia is a sin and said the Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality, according to a book by Paul Likoudis, news editor of The Wanderer, a Catholic newspaper.

Likoudis' book, AmChurch Comes Out: The U.S. Bishops, Pedophile Scandals and the Homosexual Agenda, released in 2002, is still timely and contains a wealth of information.

The following excerpt comes from the chapter titled "Bishop Matthew Clark and Gay Activism":

    'Among the facilitators at the October 26, 1996 'Day of Reflection' was Father Robert Kennedy, assistant professor of Liturgical Studies and Coordinator of Student Formation at St. Bernard's Institute, who, at the time, 'has been in ministry with gay and lesbian Catholics for 15 years.'

    'At a talk he gave earlier in March that year, reported extensively in The Wanderer of April 18, 1996, Father Kennedy taught not only that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality — he said the Church has no teaching on pedophilia.

    'Scriptural passages which 'fundamentalists' interpret as condemning homosexual acts, he said, must be re-interpreted in terms of the cultural beliefs of the time, and are no more binding than ritual prescriptions which bar the eating of shellfish or the wearing of clothing made of two or more different fabrics.

    'At the end of his talk, during the question and answer period, one of the audience asked Kennedy if pedophilia were a sin, and Kennedy responded that he didn't know of any Church teaching on the subject.'

Now, technically speaking, the Catechism of the Catholic Church doesn't mention the word "pedophilia," but please! How about paragraph number 2389 of the Catechism? Given the context of what Father Kennedy was talking about and the fact he was attempting to justify homosexual behavior, one could easily conclude by his response to the audience member that the Church somehow tacitly approves of adults having sex with children. (I can just hear the chorus of Catholic-bashers now.)

Again, Father Kennedy reportedly made those remarks in 1996, several years prior to when the clergy abuse scandal first "exploded" in the news. I've seen or heard nothing that he's since publicly retracted them. However, I'll bet anyone a dollar that, if asked the same question on pedophilia today, he'd have a different response.

Of course, should Father Kennedy e-mail me a clarification saying that he fully supports and promotes the Church's magisterial teachings on sexual morality, I'll gladly print it.

Also of note: In 2004, Father Kennedy was one of 35 priests of the Diocese of Rochester who joined 23 priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago in signing a letter protesting "the use of violent and abusive language directed at" homosexual persons by "the Vatican, bishops' conferences and individual bishops." (Source) Given that the Diocese of Rochester has been a cesspool of heterodoxy and moral corruption for years, this isn't at all surprising.

A few bad apples? More like someone poisoned the orchard.

(For those interested in purchasing a copy of AmChurch Comes Out, please e-mail me for the ordering information.)

Related links:

"My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality"

"The Truth About the Homosexual Rights Movement"

The Courage Apostolate

The Wanderer

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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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. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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