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Emmett McLoughlin (February 3, 1907 – October 9, 1970) was a Catholic priest of the Franciscan order who became known in the 1930s as an advocate for low-income housing in Phoenix, Arizona. He left the priesthood in 1948 in order to remain superintendent of St Monicas (later Phoenix Memorial) Hospital (Time, 1948), and wrote a number of books, including his autobiography People's Padre. Time magazine (1970) called him "America's best-known ex-priest".
Born John Patrick McLoughlin. He grew up in Sacramento, California, and entered St. Anthony's seminary in Santa Barbara, California. He took the name Emmett during his novitiate in the Franciscan Order.
After his ordination in 1933 he was assigned a parish in Phoenix, Arizona, and began work there that would last for 14 years. Time magazine (1948) said that "soon young Father McLoughlin began to be almost as well known in Phoenix as the mayor." During that time he founded and directed St. Monica's Hospital, organized a slum clearance campaign, was instrumental in applying for federal funds for the Matthew Henson public housing projects (opened in 1940), was appointed as the first chairman of the Phoenix Housing Authority in 1939, and served as secretary of the state Board of Health.
His Franciscan superiors charged him with neglect of his priestly duties and ordered him to resign as superintendent of the hospital. McLoughlin decided that his work for the hospital and urban renewal was more important than his vow of obedience. He resigned as a member of the Catholic priesthood on December 1, 1948 to remain head of the hospital with the support of its board of directors, many of whom were Catholic. On August 13, 1949 he married Mary Davis (Time, 1949). He met her when she came to work at Phoenix Memorial Hospital working in the Medical Records Department. Friar Emmett was already disillusioned about the church hierarchy. He reports in his book, "People's Padre",that he did not lose faith in God, after leaving the priesthood/Romanism/Catholicism, but found he read more of the Bible and religious periodicals. He achieved more national prominence with the publication of his autobiography, 'People's Padre' in 1954.
He has been criticized in orthodox Catholic circles for not following the vow of obedience to the Church that he had taken as a Franciscan. McLoughlin, on the contrary, criticized the Church for requiring young men to take such a vow, often without having experience of life outside school and seminary. He also criticized the Catholic parochial school system, and alleged that a Roman Catholic plot had existed to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, criticisms which fed anti-Catholicism in America in the 1950s and 1960s.
McLoughlin moved to Oklahoma where he died on October 9, 1970. He is buried in Berwyn Cemetery, Gene Autry, Carter County in Oklahoma.
The city of Phoenix named the Emmett McLoughlin Community Training & Education Center in his honor ("City Dedicates", 2006).
- People's Padre: an Autobiography (Boston : Beacon Press, 1954).
- American Culture and Catholic Schools (New York: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1960).
- Crime and Immorality in the Catholic Church (New York: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1962).
- An Inquiry in the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1963).
- Letters to an ex-priest (New York: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1965).
- Famous Ex-Priests (New York: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1968).
CHAPTER 3 PEOPLE'S PADRE - A CORRUPT TREE: SOME QUOTES:
Gradually, as the years went by, it began to occur to me that something was wrong.
Middle aged and older priests seemed, for the most part, resigned but apathetic. The said Mass, they heard confessions, the preached sermons - but they did it as a job, not as a religious dedication.
I realised that my past, my present, and possible my soul, was tied to the Catholic Church.
Was I losing faith in God? No. Was I losing faith in the Catholic Church? Certainly.
Should I continue to give my life to a system that could involve the exploitation of my years of service for the political aggrandizement of the Catholic hierarchy?
The young priest leaving the protective shelter of the seminary to enter the active ministry in a parish is soon shocked by the lack of charity he encounters. He finds this lack among the clergy themselves.
The power of the bishop over his priests is as unlimited as that of a monarch of the Middle Ages. Only the right to capital punishment is denied him.
No Negro student was admitted to the St Louis University and a young Jesuit priest was hastily transferred back to California when he recommended that the student body protest.
How could I believe in the Mystical Body of Christ - and refuse to accept a Negro into a school, a church or a hospital?
The fact that a nuns hospital refused to teach white and Negro nurses together shocked me.
In Franciscan churches and in those of the secular clergy, the race for money goes far beyond the abuse of the ideal of poverty. It approaches greed.
Every priest who is sincere deplores the financial exploitation of the laity that is permitted - even promoted - by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy.
The fee for a low Mass is a dollar. The fee for a High Mass is from 5 dollars up. A solemn Mass requires 3 priests and the fee is from 25 dollars up.
I can remember working on an annulment case that lay undecided in Rome for a long time - until I met a count from Albania who knew an Italian cardinal. A generous donation uncovered a legal solution for the couple involved. They still live in Phoenix.
I thought too of Italy. How could its own pope, preaching the inalienable dignity of the human soul and its value before God, bless Mussolini's planes as they swept over to annihilate the Ethiopians?
No priest who has ever heard priest's confessions will deny that sexual affairs are extremely common among the clergy. The principle concern of the hierarchy is that these affairs are kept hidden.
Another priest colleague of mine decided that the companionship of a nun was preferable to converting Indians on the Arizona desert. When the nun fell pregnant the bishop offered to transfer the nun to another state and let the priest stay put. The priest refused. The last I heard is that they are married and living happily in Chicago.
Many a priest who remains in the Catholic priesthood relaxes into a life of laziness.
I came to the irrevocable conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church had misrepresented itself to me.
I only heard this week of Father Emmet Mc Loughlin and ordered this book published between 1954 (when I was 2) and 1962.
I am amazed that things were like he says in the Catholic Church of the 50s and 60s.
He gave 20 years service to the Catholic Church and the Franciscan Order.
Then he left to work in the slums among God's poor.
He admits that there are very good people - priests, nuns and laity in the Catholic Church.
But he concludes, that because the Church produces so much bad fruits it is a bad tree.
I agree with him.
Corruption in the Catholic Church is worse today than it was 50 years ago!
Priest at Belfast school quizzed pupils about sex - report criticises child protection failings
11A review of De La Salle College found serious flaws
By Allan Preston
June 22 2017
· A west Belfast school has been criticised for multiple weaknesses in its child protection measures after three pupils complained when a priest invited to the school asked them sexual questions in confession.
An independent review - ordered by De La Salle College's Board of Governors in January - detailed several flaws in how the school dealt with the childrens' complaints.
This included delays in reporting complaints to police, poor record keeping, and a lack of understanding of child protection issues.
The report centres on a visit by a Dublin priest to De La Salle College during May 2013, and of alleged inappropriate sexual conversations with three children.
The pupils complained separately to school authorities in June 2013, September 2014 and March 2015.
The PSNI previously confirmed the first complaint was dealt with in June 2013, but the remaining reports were not received until December 2014 and July 2016.
The review details that in May 2013, a session of confessions was held in the college over a number of days for some 160-180 pupils in years 10 and 11.
On June 14, 2013, a pupil told a teacher about his experience.
"He was asked if he masturbated, viewed pornography and how often," the report said.
"The teacher was concerned at this and made a child protection referral to the designated teacher."
A week later on June 21, an anonymous phone call was made to a Diocesan Safeguarding Office about the priest.
The office informed the school and referred the matter to the PSNI.
Two further referrals were made by teachers after pupils complained.
A long delay followed and the PSNI were not informed until November 2014 and March 2015.
Ultimately, as none of the pupils' parents wished to make a complaint, the PSNI did not investigate.
The report explained that the questions asked by the priest related to issues raised by pupils in class before the confessions.
The priest had been briefed about this and "this appears to be the rationale behind the questioning, however ill-advised and inappropriate".
The review team said that if the priest's questioning had been brought to the attention of Child Protection Service for Schools or social services, the advice would have been that it did not reach the threshold for a referral and should have been dealt with by the priest's parent organisation.
"The relevant church authority was advised of the concerns about the questioning and it did take action," the report said.
Serious problems with child protection in De La Salle were identified such as poor record keeping, a lack of cooperation between the safeguarding team and "the absence of a shared understanding on key aspects of child protection, such as, what constitutes child abuse".
Only the final complaint made in March 2015 had sufficient evidence for a full analysis by the review team.
"This case demonstrated good practice after a delay which exposed many system weaknesses," the report said.
The review team acknowledged that the "college staff has engaged in considerable efforts to rectify the deficiencies".
This includes a detailed Action Plan for 2017, although the report warned that constant staff changes and absence means there is "major concern" over the plan's long-term sustainability.
It adds: "This pattern must change if team members are to develop the appropriate competence in child protection matters that inspires confidence in members of the school community and ensures the best possible outcomes for pupils."
In an open letter to parents, De La Salle Board of Governors chair Monica Culbert welcomed the report and was "wholly committed" to implementing the report's recommendations.She added the governors were very grateful to the review team for its "conscientious and sensitive manner".