In homily, San Jose pastor opens up about being abused by another priest

Father Brendan McGuire said he has heard from dozens of victims since his announcement

The Rev. Brendan McGuire stands inside the Holy Spirit Church in San Jose, California. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

To be a voice for victims of clerical sexual abuse, Father Brendan McGuire realized he had to come to terms with the abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest when he was 18. It was a secret he had held for 35 years.

He told the story of his abuse in a homily delivered at five weekend Masses Sept. 8-9 at Holy Spirit Church in San Jose, California, where he is pastor.

In a Sept. 18 interview with Catholic News Service, McGuire said that although he always writes his homilies for distribution via email and social media, it was the first time he read it word for word from the pulpit so he wouldn’t overlook anything he wanted to say.

Parishioners responded with “thunderous applause” at two Masses and “three standing ovations” at the others – atypical post-homiletic behavior, he said.

Since the homilies, McGuire said, he has heard from 45 men who told him they also had been abused. Five of the men were priests, he added, and four of those had been abused while they were seminarians.

“One man was 95 years old. He’d been holding it for 60-plus years, 70-plus years,” the priest said. “I thought 35 was a lot.”

Growing up in Bray, Ireland, near Dublin, McGuire said he first met his priest-abuser when he was 14, and did not recognize the four years of “grooming” by the priest for his “final play,” with the priest saying during the attack that he had waited until young McGuire had turned 18 “so it wouldn’t be child abuse.”

While the future priest successfully fought off his abuser – “I was one of the lucky ones,” he said in his homily – others were not so lucky. The priest, who was not named in the homily, had preyed on dozens in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, was imprisoned in 2004 and died in prison two years later.

McGuire added he was driven to write his homily after reading the first 400 pages of the Pennsylvania grand jury’s report on abuse allegations in six dioceses in the state dating back to 1947. McGuire sighed and said, “There was a whole other level of detail that I had forgotten about. Especially grooming.” Having read that far, he noted, “I just got so angry about it all over again, how these guys were so systematic about it.”

Full story at Crux.

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  1. I think this took great courage. Even though the perpetrator is deceased, the truth should be told.

  2. Again, more evidence that the problem is homosexuals and homosexuality. It is neither good nor neutral. It is something wrong in a person. The impediment should bar a candidate from Holy Orders.

    • EricOfNottingham says:

      The bishops have ignored the mandate to bar homosexuals from the priesthood for a long time. Good news is some seminaries have been cleaned up.

      • Of course they ignored it. If they had acted on it, they would have had throw themselves out. That’s why the problem exists OK? It’s a system of alternating favors and blackmail.

  3. Joe in San Jose says:

    This priest is an outstanding priest! Besides his courage in this instance, he displayed courage at another time when he said the baccalaureate Mass at Archbishop Mitty High School a number of years ago when my grandson graduated. His homily was about Christ, sin, salvation, grace and Catholic faith — all the things my grandson said were never taught in religion classes at the high school and never said at other Masses during the school year because they only talked about left wing politics and feel-goodism as religion there. Guess what? The priest was never invited back to say Mass there again. Fr. McGuire is one of the good ones!

  4. Linda Maria says:

    Reading this news story so surprised and shocked me– and deeply hurt me, for the sufferings of these poor good priests, victims of filthy, criminal gay sex pervert rapists– in the priesthood!! God help us! How can this be? 45 new sex abuse crime cases revealed, just since this priest’s homily — including five priests who were victims? This brave priest helped a lot of victims– bless his soul!

  5. So why did he not name the abusive priest?

  6. Linda Maria says:

    The forty-five victims of clergy sex abuse crimes, in the San Jose Diocese, who came forward with their tragic stories — were all MEN! Not one woman in the group of victims! Our very sick, corrupt “gay” Church is badly in need of purification! If the Catholic Church is not purified — no doubt, the wonderful young altar boys and seminarians who wish to serve God and His Church– may all possibly be at risk– of being the next crime victims!

  7. Unfortunate, however, that he tolerates applause from the congregants. Might he and other priests please put an end to clapping…for any reason wharsoever.

    • You can’t be serious. Would that clapping was the worst problem the church has right now.

      • It’s not a problem. Just evidence of a serious problem. The clapping will end with the end of homosexuality in priesthood. The homosexual mindset has poisoned the laity, they don’t have clue what the Mass is about. Reminds me of that REM song ‘Shiny Happy People’.

  8. Waited 35 years! The perp, in the meantime, went on to harass and abuse others and no doubt cost the flock a pretty penny.

    I fail to see the heroics. Nor is it suitable homily.

  9. Clapping has long been a sign of approval, with a standing ovation generally the highest approval. What else would one want the congregation to do?

  10. Frank Johnson says:

    Since when can’t an 18 year old man say the word “NO” when this degenerate suggested playing around?

  11. Linda Maria says:

    God bless this wonderful priest! Clapping in a church– especially, for Catholics!– is traditionally deemed inappropriate, as a church is a holy place of quiet prayer and worship of God! However– in this case- if I had been a worshiper at one of the Masses in which this wonderful priest gave his now- famous homily– I would have shed tears for him, and with all the others, would have stood and given him a big standing ovation! I would have been extremely shocked, and deeply moved, and would never forget it! A terrible shock for Mass-goers– especially with the current, tragic clergy sex abuse crisis, in our Church!

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