Bishop Camillo Ballin, MCCJ
Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia
P.O. Box 25362
Road 4603, House 127, 125 Block 946
it pains me greatly to have to send you this letter. None the less, it seems several points needed to be underlined, regarding your recent answer to Mr Charles White of the "Thoughtul Catholic" blog.
I have attached both letters, to this document.
Your Excellency, you have been given by the Holy Father, the difficult task of being the spiritual and administrative leader of the Vicariate of Northern Arabia.
We all understand the magnitude and difficulties of this task.
The Catholic community of this Vicariate is unique, in its diversity, origin, and the sensitive geo-strategy of its location.
This is why, we must all be mindful of threading carefully.
The point at hand being, the acceptance in your Vicariate, of Fr Louis Camacho, hailing from the Archdiocese of Guam.
Priests do change Diocese often enough, that is not the issue.
Mr White, took the time, upon the discovery of this new assignment, to write to you his concerns, regarding the checkered past of Fr Louis.
You chose to reply to Mr White in a cavalier and condescending way, without really addressing the core issue of this case.
Over the past several decades, our Church has been plagued by a never ending story of sexual abuses, of young people at the hands of Catholic clerics.
More often than not, these situations were mishandled by the Bishops, when not totally buried. It has been a long and difficult process to earn back the trust of the faithful in that matter. Unfortunately, in the process countless families have been destroyed, reputations sullied, and lives ruined. This is one of the main reason that many conferences of Bishops have adopted detailed and serious policies to avoid, deter and punish when necessary the sexual abuses within our ranks.
The Archdiocese of Guam, an American territory, has put in place such a policy. While being criticized by local politicians and activists representing victims, for being a "de facto" gloss over, this policy does exists on the books at least. The problem for Guam, is that the person in charge of said enforcement, has so far not done his job, and has failed to do any kind of serious investigation in the several cases where abuses have been alleged. This has earned the Archdiocese of Guam and its Archbishop very bad reviews from several advocacy groups.
The case of Fr Louis is particularly telling. While in the Local Seminary, (RMS Guam) Louis Camacho was widely known on the island to brag about his feminine conquests, and his liking of parties with young ladies. Many faithful were quite scandalized about such speech and behavior. Despite many concerns Fr Louis (the nephew of the first Bishop of the CNMI) was ordained by Archbishop Apuron, and given the difficult task of running not one, but two parishes of the south of the island.
This is during this time, that he was caught in flagrante delicto by the police into the performance of cunnilingus on a minor, in a car, at a remote public park.
He was arrested, and released in the care of the Archbishop.
Shortly after he resigned his post, while the police was still investigating, and a canonical investigation was supposedly in the process at the Chancery, Fr Louis was spirited out of Guam to reappear at the Domus Galilae compound of the NCW, in the State of Israel. Earlier this year, you accepted him in your Vicariate, and posted him in Qatar. While some knew immediately about this situation, we were asked to be cautious, due to the complex and volatile situation in that region of the world.
This is a wish that was followed, until some faithful at ' Our Lady of the Rosary in Doha', who were aware of Fr Louis past, and who apparently had voiced their concerns to your office, became so incensed at seeing Fr Louis put in charge of a Youth retreat, they decided to blow the whistle.
This whole situation, could have, and should have been avoided. This has created a lot of unnecessary heartache, feelings of disgust, and whole out questioning of your motives and plain judgement. You could have elected to answer Mr White in a fatherly and understanding way, accepting his concerns and reassuring him, that you would monitor the issue personally.
Instead, you took a very flippant and condescending approach, which only alienated thousands of people around the world.
Personally, while I was not surprised, since I read some of your answers to the pleas of some of your parishioners; but I was saddened, that a man of your education and experience, could resort to such non pastoral ways. You had a chance to lead by example, instead you opted to lecture and advance irresponsible arguments.
How can you, a responsible Bishop pretend that this sexual abuse was "strictly personal to Fr Louis"?
How can you in the same breath pretend to have taken a responsible decision, when RMS Guam is known for not vetting its candidate to the priesthood, and that Fr Louis was actually arrested in the commission of a sexual crime with a minor, breaking of his vows of celibacy, less than a year into his functions?
This is more than cavalier, it is bordering the unconscious.
How can you, a responsible Bishop, ignore the findings of numerous working groups on sexual abuse within our church, and their recommendations?
Frankly your excellency, this boggle the mind.
Thousands of people are now aware of this, thanks to the social medias. It is my understanding that several regular media outlets are also picking up the story.
Lets pray, that Fr Louis does not reverse to his old ways, while under your responsibility.
I would suggest amicably, that you reach out to Mr White and the faithful of Our Lady of the Rosary, to apologize to them, and reassure them that you shall take proper measure to protect the youth in your care, while finding responsibility for Fr Louis, that do not entail interaction with young people.
Short of this, I am afraid this story will grow beyond anything you thought possible, and cause grave and irreparable damages to the Vicariate in your care.
I shall pray that the Holy Spirit guides you in this difficult journey, and gives you wisdom and serenity.
Yours in Christ,
CC: Fr. Robert J Geisinger SJ. Office of the promoter of Justice
Sons of the Sacred Heart of Jesus