Saturday, November 9, 2013

An Open Letter to Father MacRae's Bishop, Peter Anthony Libasci

(This letter was sent to Bishop Libasci on September 24, 2013.  I have not yet had the courtesy of a reply)

                                                                                                            September 24, 2013

Bishop Peter Anthony Libasci
Diocese of Manchester
153 Ash St.
Manchester, NH 03104

Bishop Libasci,

Yesterday Father Gordon J. MacRae began his 20th year in prison for crimes that never happened.  Not only was he falsely accused and wrongly imprisoned (for life: 33 ½ yrs. to 67 yrs.), but his own Diocese played a major role in his sentencing. Bishop John McCormack, Fr. Edward Arsenault, Bishop Christian, etc. – all of “sterling” character – distributed a press release telling the public that Father Gordon was guilty of those crimes BEFORE his trial.  Everyone in the state had the opportunity to see that press release - especially the jurors. 
Bishop Libasci and Bishop McCormack
Father Gordon’s last correspondence with his bishop was a letter telling him that he, Bishop McCormack, had sent a letter to the Vatican, with no indication of what the letter was about.  Bishop McCormack would not speak to or correspond further with Father Gordon or with his canon lawyer, Fr. David Deibel.

Bishop Libasci, when you arrived, we the readers and the believers in justice, thought that at last a new bishop of the Diocese of Manchester would surely look into his case and see how unfair the Diocese had been to him, and would make some effort to correct that.  We thought the new bishop would at least visit Father Gordon since visiting prisoners (especially one of your own Diocese) is one of the duties of a shepherd. Your predecessor and his advisers made promises that were not kept. They deceived and lied to Father Gordon about how personal documents pertaining to him were released by the Diocese and published:

“When Bishop McCormack signed an agreement with the Attorney General's Office to publish the files of some 62 priests accused, a part of the agreement was that each priest would have a ten-day period to review and challenge publication of any files pertaining to him. Concerned that privileged legal documents and other materials produced post-trial by Father MacRae were about to be published, the imprisoned priest wrote to Father Edward Arsenault in January, 2003, asking that this ten-day review be afforded to him. He received no reply. 

Ten days after the files were published, in March of 2003, Father MacRae received a letter from an attorney for the Diocese describing what he must do to obtain his files and review them before the release. The month-long delay in his receipt of that letter has never been validly explained to him.

After the publication of this vast release of files, Father MacRae wrote to both Bishop McCormack and Attorney General Kelly Ayotte protesting the publication of files that were fraudulently obtained by the Diocese and published without regard for the priest's confidentiality rights. Bishop McCormack wrote that he tried to prevent the publication of files that were confidential, but was not successful. Attorney General Ayotte's representative wrote to Father MacRae stating that all files obtained by a Grand Jury in New Hampshire are considered confidential under law, but added that Bishop McCormack signed a waiver of confidentiality enabling all the accused priests' files to be published.”
(“Bishop Takes Pawn: Plundering the Rights of a Prisoner-Priest” by Ryan A. MacDonald, May 21, 2012,

Kelly Ayotte

So much for truthfulness to one of the Diocese’s priests. It appears that every dirty trick the Diocese could do to Father Gordon, was done in triplicate.  He has never said or written a negative word against his Diocese or brother priests.  No one from his Diocese has ever visited him.  In fact, the Diocese spread the word that Father Gordon did not want to have anything to do with his Diocese or his Church.  He has written to some of the priests of his Diocese and in turn received notes saying, “Please do not write to me again.” Father Gordon has not become bitter. He has become a better priest in prison and ministered to a lot more people in need than he could have in a parish. He simply writes the truth and readers can make up their own minds about his guilt or innocence. 

What is also true is that he deserves a second trial. So much has come out since he was sentenced. Bishop McCormack told two people – although he now denies it – that he knew Father Gordon was innocent. And yet the Diocese did not pay for an attorney (as promised) and Father Gordon had very little money. He was represented by someone who did not have his best interests in mind. Few people noticed the psychologist among the onlookers who motioned when the accuser should cry during his testimony. The judge – now a long-haired protester against the U.S. government 
Judge Arthur Brennan who sentenced Fr. Gordon to life and death in prison

– issued a sentence that was in no way just or fair. Father Gordon is not eligible to apply for parole because he maintains his innocence. Thus, he must serve the entire 67 years which means he will die in prison or be 108 years old when released. He won’t live that long. He suffers from a number of illnesses, some for which he won’t take medication because the disease becomes worse when the patient has to go without the medication for weeks or even months. Because of the lackadaisical attitude of the medical personnel at the prison, and the ineptitude of the guards, a prisoner seldom gets his medication as prescribed.

Father Gordon is an inspiration to many people in all parts of the world. One reader wrote:
With burning sorrow, I think of you today on the 19th Anniversary of your wrongful imprisonment. With God’s grace you have, no doubt at great cost to yourself, in reality transcended that dreadful wrong.  You are an inspiration to thousands of your readers far beyond the beauty and charm of what you write and even beyond the deft analysis you provide, but particularly in the humility and Christ-like spirit you show forth…. May our loving Lord grant you your release soon and Holy Mother Church at long last do the right thing by you! You are an example of holiness and wisdom to us all!”

Father Gordon J. MacRae

Bishop Libasci, I ask you too to be an example of holiness and wisdom, and above all, to be the shepherd a bishop is supposed to be. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis visits prisoners and writes to some priests in prison. How can our bishops do any less?

                                                                        Peace and Blessings,

                                                                         Charlene C. Duline