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September 14, 2007




Thanks for the new word, I guess.


Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful piece on Msgr. Urell. My heart broke for Msgr. Urell yesterday when I read the paper and listened to KFI. He is an amazing man and has done so much good for so many in the community. No one desverves to have their name and/or reputation tainted by the media. My only hope is that Msgr. Urell knows that his Parish supports him and prays for him.

9 Game Lead

We need Gustavo to weigh in on this -- Mikadeit acknowledged in his column today that he first broke the story on Brown last April.

Allan Bartlett

I have to say as a Catholic myself that I disagree with your assessment of Monsignor Urell. I don't believe it is a coincidence that he fled town right before he was to give a damning deposition in all likelyhood. The Church has squandered any benefit of the doubt with their conduct in these cases. Between Cardinal Mahony & The Orange Diocese, they have built a stonewall rivaling the tallest building. It's no wonder the Church lawyers wanted Bishop Brown's deposition sealed. Thankfully the judge put a stop to that and made the deposition public like it should have been. I hope to have confidence again one day in my church's leadership, but I don't see any reason to be optimistic right now.

Gustavo Arellano

Jubal: Your defense of men who knowingly allowed child molesters to remain in Orange County and Tijuana (you better read up on your Urell history) parishes--especially in light of your committed Catholicism--is vile. I'll respond at further length at the OC Weekly blog later today--I have a food review to write. For now, here's the annotated Bishop Brown deposition.


No, Gustavo, what is vile is implying, based on absolutely no evidence, that someone is a pedophile.

Re: Gustavo Arellano

Did you guys hear the latest news?

Gustavo Arellano is a pedophile.

Someone said it, so it must be true.

I better run quick and write a story in a crappy newspaper about it!!

Steven Greenhut


Urell is known for his harsh treatment toward abuse victims. You should talk to some of them and read some of the depositions. A lot of it is available if you want to do some research and not just instinctively defend Urell. By the way, Urell was deposed one day, then was on a plane the next day to Canada, where he just happens to be outside U.S. jurisdication. The diocese claims not to know why he is there, but that strains credulity. This is typical of how the diocese has dealt with victims, as anyone who has dealt with the diocese and this scandal knows.

No one is trashing Brown over the accusation from 42 years ago. The problem is that he should have lived up to his own policies. The diocese promised to release information about allegations. He should have fessed up, instead of covering it up.

And what about the promise to help with healing? Instead, the latest victim was subjected to hours of depositions about her past sex life. The diocese is trying to suggest that it was her fault that she, as a teen, had sex with an assistant coach. So much for healing.

The bishop, as we all knew, allowed a rapist to remain on staff, even working around kids. He admits that in the depostion. Why defend these guys?


Steven Greenhut

Here's what a priest who went to the Southdown Institute wrote about it in the Boston Globe:

"Only one thing makes this place uniquely interesting: Its clients are all Roman Catholic priests or members of religious orders. They are men and women sent to this institution for 'rustication,' as it is sometimes called in mental health circles. Some have been accused of various kinds of sexual misconduct; others are battling addictions; many are in the throes of clinical depression. But most share one thing in common: They have found themselves in embarrassing, compromising, or potentially sticky situations, and their superiors -- bishops and heads of religious congregations -- have hustled them off to the rustic hill country of southern Ontario in the hope that the various tempests which brought them all here will die down in the six months of their retreat, so that the faithful won't ever have to be scandalized by knowledge of their weakness and misbehavior."

Power to the Papists

Thank you Steven and Gustavo for being willing to say in print what many people are thinking. While many Catholic apologists, like Jubal, vigorously deny believing it, they tend to deify their church leaders. If you believe that your religious leader is the voice of God in your life, it’s understandable that there would be a little cognitive dissonance when it comes to believing that they have diddled children or protected other pedophiles. For those hard core Catholics there may not be anyone or any thing that can change their minds.


I don't believe it is a coincidence that he fled town right before he was to give a damning deposition in all likelyhood.

That is certainly the impression Manly is trying to create. But it needs to be noted Msgr. Urell didn't not leave before giving his deposition. He went in to be deposed, but was unable to continue. If this conspiracy to avoid deposition existed, Msgr. Urell would have gone to the Southbound prior to giving any deposition.



Do you know why Monsignor Urell went to Southbound?


While many Catholic apologists, like Jubal, vigorously deny believing it, they tend to deify their church leaders.

So it's just us poor, dumb Catholics who'll believe anything a cleric says, eh?

Really? And how would you know that? As you can read from my post, I certainly don't deify Bishop Brown.

But don't let me or anything for that matter, stop you from the expression of your prejudices.

Then again, when I began this post, I fully expected some anti-Catholics to pop out and use this issue as an excuse to vent their prejudices in a "respectable" way.


No one is trashing Brown over the accusation from 42 years ago.

Steve, that is exactly what Manly and Casteix are doing.

Urell is known for his harsh treatment toward abuse victims. You should talk to some of them and read some of the depositions.

I will read those depositions, and I will make my judgments on facts as I learn them.

But that's not what Manly is talking about when deposing Bishop Brown. He immediately gets to the issue of Msgr. Urell and instantly begins implying Msgr. Urell is a pedophile. No one has ever made any such accusation about Msgr. Urell. Neither you nor Manly have any evidence of such, yet you seem almost as delighted as Manly to put that idea in people's minds.

I wonder how either of you would like to be on the receiving end of that sort of rumor-mongering and innuendo.

Steven Greenhut


No I don't and I have never claimed to know why he went there, or implied anything about it beyond what it means for the ongoing deposition. The info I posted was the fairest explanation of what goes on there that I could find on a Web search. You have the diocese's chief point man on the sex abuse scandal leaving the country, which puts him out of reach of the legal system. Even if this is innocent, it's disturbing. The Globe reports that this is a place where priests with various problems are SENT by their church leaders. Meanwhile, the diocese's attorneys are grilling a girl who, at 16, had sex with a teacher for two years, in long depositions asking about her past sex life, with the obvious goal of suggesting that the affair was consensual. Par for the course with Brown and Co.


I have known MSGR John Urell for a very long time and my heart is broken to see him suffer from a breakdown because of the relentless personal attacks that are undeserved. I see the plaintiffs attorney as a money hungry predator who is preying on abuse victims by using them to build his own little empire of wealth. Msgr is 100 times over a much better person that Manly could ever hope to be. Remember that while there were priests who were guilty of abuse, there were also many who were by falsely accused. I for one am very glad that Msgr vigorously investigated these abuse allegations because it ulitmately resulted in guilty priests being removed as well as innocent ones being vindicated. He does not deserve to be critisized for doing his job. But during it all he suffered greatly and cared deeply for all of the abuse victims whos lives have been destroyed. And he IS a wonderful spiritual leader, a true man of God. He has never been accused of abuse and it irresponsible,slanderous and even libellous that he should suffer such allegations from these rabid dogs.


Thank you Matt for your well thought out and balanced comments. I have known Msgr. Urell for a long time. He was a wonderful counselor to my daughters and me during some very difficult times. I wish him well with his recovery. I hope Ms. Doe and the other victims find peace and forgiveness. It is too bad that in his ferver to win a lawsuit the plaintiff's attorney's have left a scorched earth that prohibits mercy and forgiveness to follow. As St. James writes "For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment."

Steven Greenhut

Read this LA Times article from May 2005 about how "For more than two decades, officials in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange covered up for priests who molested children, shuffling predators from parish to parish and diocese to diocese, protecting them from prosecution and failing to warn parishioners of the danger, according to church documents released Tuesday." The article details the role that Urell played in that process.


It's disturbing to see the lengths that some folks will go to defend the victimizers. A previous poster not only defends a minor having sex with an adult school official, but blames the kid!


To most people, Msgr. Urell is just a name in the papers, and if I based my opinion solely on what is recounted in the paper, I'd have a pretty low opinion of the man myself.

I'm not discounting what the LAT story said. But I also have not had the opportunity to hear what Msgr. Urell has to say about those matters. I'm not making any accusations against the writers of this story, I've had prior experience with the LA Times in which the omission of key information has completely altered how the reader viewed the subject of the story.

That said, my point is about Manly's insinuations, meant to public consumption in the media, that Msgr. Urell is a pedophile - an insinuation you have buttressed in your earlier comment. You have a low opinion of Msgr. Urell, but does that give you or Manly license to calumniate him in such a manner when you lack even a shred of evidence?

Jubal, you are exactly right. Reading the latest news articles and blogs, and listening to the radio (KFI's John and Ken, for example), I would never in a million years know they were talking about the Monsignor Urell I know and love (and, according to some, "deify", which is what I do with most of my friends...).

As much as these accusations and cries of his fleeing the deposition make the opposition's blood boil, there is no way to describe the anger I feel at reading about and listening to bald faced lies of a man who has given his heart and soul not only to his Lord and Church, but to his parishioners, as well. A man who was never accused of any act of pedophilia, but who suffers acute anxiety due to the stress of this scandal. Because what some people fail to understand is that priests are human beings with the same frailties and margin for error as the rest of us. Last time I checked, that does not make us all pedophiles.

The other thing people don't realize is that in some ways the Diocese must operate like a business. By that I mean Msgr Urell's administrative position in the sex scandal was handed to him, he did not choose it. The Catholic heirarchy picked a man that they knew would be compassionate in dealing with the victims. Some claim the court documents say he was harsh with the victims, but I don't remember the last time a document actually spoke out loud to me. So unless you were in that room hearing it for yourself, you do not know how he treated those victims. Don't claim otherwise.

Those who choose to only hear and read the vitriolic slander, and continue to perpetuate it because they want to see the Catholic Church go down in flames, will sadly not ever get the chance to know the truth about a man who is cherished by so many; and worse, will only suffer in their hatred.

Oh, and "defending the victimizers", Mr. Greenhut? No, just defending a friend. Wouldn't you hope your friends would do the same if you knew you were innocent and being slandered?

Prayer Chain

Judging from the supporting emails, it looks like Jubal forwarded his post to the entire church directory.

Mary Kay Pavlick

I have had the honor of working with Msgr. Urell for the past four years. Monsignor's love, faith, dedication and courage has built a strong community at St. Nobert Parish. We are here to support him as he has always supported each and everyone of us.


I forwarded the post to no one.


The truth is that none of us were in Msgr Urell's shoes nor were any of us at the table to know who made what decisions about priest who had abused innocent kids. Reporting that Msgr Urell fled is completely without merit and irresponsible, in fact an outright lie.

I am blessed these past 20 years to know the man and spiritual leader who is Msgr Urell. A priest who was the celebrant for my wedding, baptized my kids and was there for my family at any hour at the unexpected death of my younger brother. He is the priest who ministered to the lost youth in juvenile hall. He is the priest who in the last few weeks while experiencing much personal distress, still went to the hospital to minister to those needing a blessing or last rites. He is the pastor who welcomed the families and children back to St. Norberts for the new school year while he was quietly suffering. He is a person of great compassion, love and concern for those especially in need. His parish community believes in him, prays for his quick return to health and active ministry. We also pray that God will help to restore his good name.

Some may read this and retort with claims of how foolish or blind the faithful can be, to not see what they claim to so clearly or I should say reportedly know.

Msgr Urell is a man of profound integrity. Let's only hope to have the courage and faith he embodies.


As a member of St. Norbert Church, I am very distressed at the way Msgr. Urell is being villified. There's no doubt that the child molesting that has gone on within the Church is very wrong. But largely because of the way it's been handled in the media, so many now automatically assume that Catholic priest translates to pedophile/rapist. As all of us with a Christian background know, Satan works very hard to discredit institutions and people who get in his way of fostering evil. Msgr. Urell is a dear man and devoted servant of God and is highly respected and loved by those who know him. Satan is working overtime these days.

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