"phony former clergy and religious"

Father Bloom:

I enjoyed reading your responses to Peter at your website. God bless you!

I found you through a search regarding an anti-Catholic, former Catholic by the name of Richard Bennett (http://www.bereanbeacon.org/). Did you happen to find anything out about him?

I question whether he is truly a former priest and I am considering doing an article about the number of "former" priests and nuns who have anti-Catholic websites. I'm not sure, but I think there are a number of phony former clergy and religious at those sites.

I find it interesting that when a Protestant becomes Catholic he or she continues to hold their former faith in high esteem. But, when a Catholic becomes a Protestant (or whatever) he or she becomes anti-Catholic - often rabidly so.

Thank you, Father, for your work as a Catholic priest. You and your brothers are in our prayers.

Christopher M. Riggs
Wichita, Kansas


Dear Christopher,

Sounds like a good project. There is a tremendous amount of anti-Catholic propaganda out there. One is tempted to simply ignore it except for the fact that so much of it is directed to our young people. Some of it is quite subtle, like what comes across in the media, but a lot is open and quite vicious. And the fact is people like Richard Bennett, whether honest or not, have a large and eager audience waiting for them.

You are probably aware there have been some notorious fake priests like "Dr. Alberto Rivera" who pulled the wool over Jack Chick's eyes. Of course, Chick was willingly deceived and had no compunction about printing Rivera's outrageous claims in his comic book series. David Armstrong does a good expose which once again, I am sure you have read.

From reading Richard Bennett's testimony, I would say he either was a priest or a did a lot of homework. A few things are suspicious, but I chock them up to him looking back on his priesthood from his present anti-Catholic perspective.

As I mentioned to Peter, what amazed me was how a former priest could give such a distorted presentation of Catholic teaching. The only thing I can say in his defense was that he studied theology at a time when there was tremendous confusion. Nevertheless, it is hard to imagine he could be unaware of reasonable, biblical based solutions to the supposed "dilemmas" he presents. (Church-Bible, Faith-Works, Grace-Merit, Uniqueness of Jesus-Mediation)

Having said that, I did identify with his desire for a more purified, more coherent Church. It can be a great scandal when one encounters people who are paid employees of the Church, yet very cynical about its claims. And an even worse scandal when a person comes face to face with his own personal failings. But the solution, as history shows, is not to break away and set oneself up as a new pope. No doubt, Richard is seeing that Berean Beacon Ministries is also a mixture of saints and sinners - and that not all of his own sins have disappeared.

In my thiry-one years as a priest, I have had the privilege of receiving back one or two who have gone the way of Richard Bennett. I pray that he too will return.

Anyway, prayers for your project. And for you. We must make a greater effort to keep our focus on the Lord when we engage in the dangerous work of apologetics. Please remember me in your prayers.

God bless,

Fr. Bloom

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