Dishonorable Bishop O’Brien will not be honored

Declines tribute under pressure

In a bizarre misstep, this save-the-date invitation to a black tie gala was sent out to members of a Valley faith-based community.

One of the trio of honorees was former Bishop Thomas J. O‘Brien. After widespread criticism erupted, O’Brien, who served as bishop for two decades, rightly declined the award of the charitable and philanthropic group.

The group’s president, Donna Marino, apologized in a prepared statement to those who resented the decision to honor the bishop: “The executive committee of the board of directors did not anticipate the reaction of the public before the selection was made, which was based solely on (O’Brien’s) role as the founder of the organization and the event,” she said. “We are sorry for any pain and suffering this has caused victims of abuse and their families. We offer our apologies for not having shown more understanding and compassion,” according to a report in USAToday.

In 2003, O’Brien signed an agreement with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office acknowledging he protected pedophile priests, transferring them to unsuspecting parishes where they continued to sexually abuse children. He avoided prosecution by acknowledging that he had covered up reports of sexual misconduct.

The agreement he signed said in part: “He allowed Roman Catholic priests under his supervision to have contact with minors after becoming aware of allegations of criminal sexual misconduct. He shall further acknowledge transferring offending priests to situations where children could be further victimized.”

Within two weeks after his admission of collusion in these depraved acts, O’Brien was involved in a hit-and-run fatality — striking and killing Jim Lee Reed, a 43-year-old carpenter, as he was crossing a Phoenix street. A jury convicted him of the charge and he was sentenced to four years probation and community service. Even then his arrogance was extreme as he asked the sentencing judge to deduct travel time from 1,000 hours of community service he received. He faced up to 45 months in prison.

During the three-and-a-half-week trial, O’Brien stated from the witness stand that he had no idea he had hit a human being with his car while driving home from an event, insisting it might have been an animal or even a rock that shattered his windshield and caused the “loud smash.” The victim was 6 feet tall and weighed 250 pounds.

O’Brien admitted in testimony that he had inspected the damage to his car upon arriving home, but was unable to explain why he did not call the police, even after hearing the next day from one of his aides that detectives were looking for him. Instead, he called a diocese secretary to locate someone to replace his windshield. When the police came to O’Brien’s home two days after the fatality to question him, he did not respond — explaining later that he “simply wanted to be alone.”

It is only fitting that disgraced  former Bishop O’Brien should be alone the night of Saturday, April 14, 2012, when the gala takes place without him.

10 Responses to Dishonorable Bishop O’Brien will not be honored

  1. Villanova says:

    It was an absurd and incredibly thoughtless decision to “honor” this vile man. Glad the invitation was “declined.” But it shouldn’t have been considered in the first place.

  2. garvan says:

    Contrast O’Brien to his replacement, Bishop Olmstead. When the latter arrived in Phx, the gaggle of heterodox, modernist, dissenter priests who who had been nurtured/tolerated by O’Brien informed Bp. Olmstead that nothing was going to change, that if he tried to reform any of O’Brien’s liberal, homophilic excesses, they would all take a walk.

    He told them they could take that walk. They blinked, not him.

    • Matt DeGennaro says:

      Interesting information, garvan. Thanks. The priests have everything provided for them, and then some…wink, wink. Where would they “walk” to?
      As to O’Brien: That little creep should have been jailed for both of his vicious crimes. What absolute nerve for him to ask the judge to deduct his travel time to and from his community service. He was lucky that was all he got!

  3. Teller Of Truth says:

    For a stark view of this man’s staggering arrogance, read this report which in the New York Times. Its mind-boggling that he could be so haughty, especially in view of the seriousness of his crimes. I was taught the Church teaches humility. Bishop O’Brien must have been out carousing when that lesson was given.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/07/us/bishop-is-requesting-leeway-in-sentence.html

  4. Brandy Baron says:

    O’Brien has always been a creep. I was about 8 years old when he was at St Theresa’s and even we kids could tell well a jerk he was. We joked all the time about him running around with his nose in the air. I was stunned that he got as far as he did in life… but then again, I left the church because of idiots like him and attitudes like his so I guess it should be such a shock. It was certainly no surprise that he didn’t give those priests what they deserved or that he could run someone over without stopping. I doubt if he’ll ever get what he truly deserves in life so I’m hoping he gets it in the afterlife.

    • garvan says:

      I understand how you feel, Brandy, but we shouldn’t confuse the Church with her churchmen. After all, the other eleven Apostles didn’t bail out because Judas Iscariot turned out to be a traitorous rat.

      Even St. Peter denied Christ; a far worse transgression than anything O’Brien did. But our Lord didn’t send him packing.
      Read Mt. 16:18.

      We human beings are fallen creatures, so it stands to reason that a certain number of priests and bishops are going to crash and burn, morally speaking.

      In fact, the history of the Church since Pentecost is replete with rotten churchmen. Here’s something to think about: If the Church were not from God, she would have died out and disappeared within a generation or two of her founding.

      Those are some of the reasons my family didn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater on the several occasions when churchmen even worse than O’Brien did us wrong. And I mean real hurtful stuff.

  5. Braveheart says:

    Thomas J. O’Brien “simply wanted to be alone” so he could dry out. He was busy concealing evidence of his drinking and repairing his shattered windshield, impacted by the very large man he hit, killed and left in the street. He knew it wasn’t a rock. And if he actually thought he had hit an animal, wouldn’t he have stopped as any normal person would have done? He is a liar, a murderer and a procurer of young boys for his deviant buddies. Yuck. Double yuck. Who would think THIS is a man worthy of homor?

  6. Proudly ProLife says:

    Here O’Brien admits his part in the crime of hit and run. He was able to skate on the other crimes against children by signing a statement and doing community service that he tried to hedge on.
    http://articles.boston.com/2004-03-20/news/29199425_1_judge-stephen-gerst-bishop-thomas-o-brien-first-catholic-bishop

  7. VinoAZ says:

    There is never a right way of doing a wrong thing. Covering up evil is very wrong. Great harm was done to the good priests, faithful Catholics and the church. I would have made him live in the shelter for four or more years. According to liberals it is “just another life style”.

  8. I grew up in AZ, that's why I don't live there now says:

    Well said!!