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September 27, 2007


Gustavo Arellano

Jubal: Greenhut did get his fact wrong on the timing between Urell's deposition and his Canada visit. I can't speak for the other reporters who've been on this case, but the only thing I find sensationalistic about the coverage are the various actions by the Orange hierarchy documented in their own writing, depositions, and PR stunts. Just check out my cover story today, along with the corresponding documents online (up later this afternoon) for proof.

As for the court order telling Urell to return for depositions, read here for further details.


So Urell was not ordered to complete the depo the next day. He was ordered in late August to finish on 9/17 (per Gustavo's story). Then he almost immediately decamped for Canada, presumably because appropriate facilities were not available in OC (they are). Jubal, you keep asking if his detractors are mind readers. I'm not, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

BTW, whether or not Urell's testamony is "critical" is not for you or me to decide. That's the judge's job.

And the fact that California law permits out-of-the-country depositions doesn't mean that the party in question has to cooperate.

At the very least this whole episode shows how completely out of touch the diocesan leadership is.

Too bad these guys can't be recalled by the laity.

Dan Chmielewski

Matt -- I appreciate your loyalty to Msgr Urell, but if his testimony isn't that critical to the cases under investigation, then what's the underlying reason for the acute anxity disorder? I am keeping an open mind on this but I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. The Church Hierarchy doesn't have a good track record in being forthright here.


Then he almost immediately decamped for Canada, presumably because appropriate facilities were not available in OC (they are).

RP: When did a week become "almost immediately"?

Then he almost immediately decamped for Canada, presumably because appropriate facilities were not available in OC (they are).

Such as, RP? Being you are the expert on where priests suffering from acute anxiety disorder ought to go for treatment.



I would refer you to the statement from Monsignor Urell's attorney on what triggered it on.

cathollic, but not proud

I think a week becomes "almost immediately" when this case, this issue, has been dragging on for years.

The incidents happened a long time ago. He only suffered the anxiety when he had to admit/discuss them.

And, again years after the incidents, he fled when forced to testify.


Well, why quibble about the meaning of the word immediately? Anyway, let's do. To make a plan to leave the country he must have decided immediately, or almost immediately.

I find it quite strange that the man who was such a basket case he needed hospitalization put himself (or was put on)on an airplane for an international flight with all the attendant anxiety an airplan trip creates. Sounds like he was functioning okay to me.

As to the second question: Why is a priest with anxiety disorder any different than anybody else with anxiety disorder? Any psychiatrist can prescribe anti-anxiety medication, and Orange County is full of them; if he needed hospitalization he could have checked into St. Joseph's right there in Orange.

The inescapable fact is he left the county before the date judge scheduled for him to complete his legal obligation. Decamped, fled, vacationed, recuperated, polar bear hunted - it all amounts to the same thing: he's as gone as the wild goose in winter.

Catholic and proud

Well, looks like we have ourselves a couple of psychiatrists here able to render diagnoses and peer into the hearts and souls of others via the Internet.

Neat trick.

Socorro Soto

If you can't see past the media sensationalistic articles and the greed driven attorneys, I feel sorry for you. Really I do, your world is much bleaker than mine. I personally like the facts, and the fact of the matter is...Msgr. Urell has no direct impact on this case, yet the articles seem to imply it. Has the Diocese made specific and intentional policy and procedures that will prevent and impede for abuse to ever happen again? YES, they have. Can the victims of abuse find healing? Probably not because they find unscrupulous greedy attorneys in their path. Let us all pray for each other as this is clearly not about restoration and healing.



Wow, finally a breath of fresh air coming out of an otherwise wholly polluted issue. These "journalists" who continue to paint a scathingly inaccurate and untruthful portrait (or those who simply buy what these journalists are selling at face value), not only of Msgr Urell but of the whole Andrade case -- which, as you point out so well above, has nothing to do with Urell in the first place -- boggle my mind. One wonders what, exactly, those who are desperate for this deposition to conclude would presume to hear from Urell? Since his job was ONLY to deal with priests' cases and Andrade is a lay person (second verse same as the first...), what possibly could he have to offer that would alter this particular case? Absolutely nothing. So then why, possibly, would it matter to anyone where he was being treated?

Yet, as I continue to watch (and read) while this whole episode plays out, it is clear it has been nothing but a very well-orchestrated opportunity (read: witch hunt) for those who harbor ill-will and anger toward the Catholic Church. It's an opportunity to join the torch-carrying mob all the way to the doors of Judge Andler's court, where apparently not she, but Mr. Manly, is presiding...


Jubal, yours is an able media critique, but it is wasted on such as Reperegrine and "Catholic, but not proud." Their minds are made up and they'd rather not have them unmade to any degree by unwelcomed facts.

In their minds, the priest is guilty. Of what, they don't care so much.


Cicero, your statement is an insult to your namesake. I didn't say Urell is guilty of anything - yet.

I simply stated some pertinent facts:

1) competent psychiatric help is available right here in Orange County.

2) the good Monseignor bugged out prior to the completion of his deposition.

If he doesn't complete his deposition - just like less well-connected members of his flock would have to do - and if the court cites him for contempt, then he will be guilty of something.

As for the part he played in the cover-up/stonewalling in the pedophile cases - that's something between him and his conscience (or between him and the Deity if he's so inclined).

Nobody has presented any "unwelcome facts" - only paeans of tribute to Urell's job as a parish priest.

Karen A Finn

I want to 10-9 this to all who have not read it before.

To whom it may Concern:

I was very harsh on Msgr. John Urell when I first heard about all this crud. I lost my father less than (2) months ago and the first person I called to his bedside was Msgr. John Urell. He came out as soon as I called. (It amazes me how the Lord works) Msgr. John Urell helped my father and me go through a time that was so hard you could not even imagine. I asked Msgr. John Urell for his forgiveness. He gave it to me without a blink of an eye. I am not taking my father’s loss to well right now.
Msgr. John Urell was taken away from me when I need him the most right now. I want my Bishop to tell me how he can make Msgr. John Urell his escape goat? I will not stand for it. This is my church and school and I want my Msgr. John Urell Back now!
I need Msgr. John Urell to help me get through this. He is the only one that was there that knows what I am going through, and poof he is gone just like that?
I want him back Bishop. Now you have me on your tail. Trust me I have only just begun. Our School needs him back. We miss him badly. I miss him badly.

God Bless,
Karen A Finn

Socorro Soto

Dear Karen,
Thank you for speaking out about the wonderful man Msgr. Urell is. He is truly a remarkable man and it is most unfortunate that he is suffering at this time. Please believe me when I say, he is ill. He was not asked to leave by the Bishop at anytime. I know you are hurting but looking around to blame someone does not make things better. I would be the first person calling the Bishop if I didn't know first hand that the Bishop had nothing to do with a very true and serious illness. All these people who are trying to make him the center of a case that has very little to do with him, have accomplished their goal IF they manage to fool you into thinking that he left for any other reason, please I beg you to remember Msgr. Urell as you know him and trust him. Join all the people who are praying for Msgr. Urell's recovery and I promise to pray for you and yours, as only God could bring healing and the love that you so much deserve into your life.

Birds of a Feather

At first I was not sure whether or not to accept Jubal's defense of Mr. Urell but now Ms. Finn has made the entire situation much clearer to me.



Your comment is an insult to thinking. What do you actually know about Urell's mental condition? I'd wager it's only what you've read in the biased media coverage. Yet you airily maintain he can get the attention he needs here in Orange County. That would assume you know what attention he needs, which I sincerely doubt is the case.

Urell is a priest. I gather you would simply send him whichever psychiatrist is on the HMO provider list, get him some meds and put him back on the stand. Even Mr. Manly understands Urell is in a fragile state. He did, after all, agree that Urell didn't need to finish his deposition.

But in such a vulnerable mental state, in the wrong hands a priest could lose his faith and abandon his vocation. If he had some shrink he thought religion was piffle and told Urell, "Look, maybe the source of your problems is your Catholicism" -- poof! So long priesthood.

Otherwise, your word choice tips your hand. Please drop the pretense of objectivity, because it is painfully apparent you have none in this instance.


Cicero, you can make the same argument about any vocation - lawyer, doctor, teacher, policeman, etc., etc.

Sorry if I continue to find it peculiar that if he was so fragile, then why was he subjected to added stress by being trundled off to Canada?

All I know is that he missed his deposition and now he's out of the country.



You are reduced to using loaded verbiage in order to cast a sinister pall over Urell checking into a center in Canada for treatment...one that specializes in treating priests.

Are you a psychiatrist? Do you have some special expertise that enables you to say a plane ride to Canada is stressful? Do you possess some unique insight into Urell's mental state or have consulted with his physician. Or are you just impressing yourself with your own cleverness and vocabulary?

At least you finally admit the limits of what you know, although even that small amount is incorrect. Urell didn't miss his deposition. He hasn't completed it yet.


And the fact that California law permits out-of-the-country depositions doesn't mean that the party in question has to cooperate.

Okay, another short primer on California civil litigation for you armchair attorneys.

Yes, there is a chance that Msgr. Urell would be sanctioned for failure to complete his deposition. But much more likely, and much more damaging, would be the sanctions against the actual defendants in this case: the Diocese of Orange and Bishop Brown. You see, if the plaintiff's attorney is actually trying to prove a case before a jury, rather than try it in the media, he would make a simple motion to compel the completion of this deposition (which, by the way, would have been done long before now if Msgr. Urell were even a necessary witness much less a critical witness). That motion to compel would be granted, resulting in a court order - to the Diocese - to produce Msgr. Urell for completion of his deposition.

If that court order were ignored, plaintiff's attorney could then move for sanctions - and not just monetary sanctions. They could move for issue sanctions and evidence sanctions against the Diocese, making their case that much stronger/easier to prove before a jury. And yes, they could also move for monetary sanctions against the Diocese.

None of this has come to pass (at least, it hasn't been reported - but we've seen the completeness and quality of the reporting on this subject to date). By failing to take the steps any first year attorney would take in a situation where a defendant organization was failing to produce an employee who is a key/critical witness, plaintiff's attorneys demonstrate with crystal clarity that they have no interest in Msgr. Urell beyond using him as a flashpoint in the media to drum up ire against the Diocese of Orange. That, or they really really want to be sued for gross malpractice.


Cicero,I'm so sorry you think my language is "loaded" and that it "casts a pall" over your hero's departure. I'll say it one more time - real simple - so you will get it:

1) the judge scheduled the completion of Urell's deposition.

2) Urell went to Canada and the date passed.

If you choose to place your faith in the explanations put out by Urell's lawyer and the Diocese that's just swell. Others may not.


You're making progress. You now have your facts straight, but as you know, facts and truth aren't synonymous.


When the purported truth strains credulity one should be forgiven for questioning the official interpretation of the facts.


A shame your questioning only goes in one direction.


The banter of presumed knowledge regarding Msgr's health and the reasons for departure is at best a poorly constructed conjecture. More like a targeted agenda of distorted facts. To presume some special insight or expertise as a sideline shrink is reckless behavior and validates the transparency of your agenda to promulgate a smear campaign.

This case is not about a pedophile priest, rather a former employee of a catholic school who by the way has already admitted to his crime. Due process is not some reckless abandonment to a targeted media and propagandist campaign.

Those blessed to know the man, priest and spiritual leader who is Msgr Urell know that his life has been dedicated to serving the needs of others, those afflicted and those considered by many to be well forgotten. He is a man of great personal integrity and his current health is his private concern and not some punch line to advance your agenda.

As a practicing Catholic, I am outraged at the abuse that has occurred and gone unreported for so long. I pray for the healing and restoration of all the victims abused by catholic priest. I pray for you Mr. Manly and those in the media to examine your own conscience and irresponsible behavior. May God bring peace and healing to all concerned.

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