Recently, I stopped by to help my pastor with our parish bulletin on his computer and was trying to retrieve some lost material. While doing this I discovered a good deal of porn in the form of pic/video. At first I thought it may just be spam from email, but actually found it saved in a couple places. I know this is every man’s plague, but I am not sure how to proceed. I don’t know what to do or not do. I don’t know what to say or not say. I am very confused and have been literally sick over this for two days now. Any advice would be appreciated.
Oh dear. This is awful. Was it all adult porn? If there was any child porn I would advise you to contact police without delay. Otherwise, I would make known to the pastor that you have seen this stuff and no longer feel comfortable helping him out. I’d do it in writing and keep a record of the letter properly dated and signed. Take those precautions for yourself. Pornography viewing creates a portal for the devil to take hold of a person and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You have the opportunity to help him engage his conscience to fight the forces of evil… whether he takes that opportunity or not is up to him but you do have the chance to help him.
God bless and may Michael and the angels of God be with you.
Leaving it for someone else to find puts them in the same awful position.
You are the one who innocently found it. Maybe you were meant to, as the priest may need a spiritual shake-up, if the porn is his. If he is dangerous to anyone that needs to be assessed by his superiors, otherwise, anyway, it’s a danger to his soul and perhaps also his ability to minister according to the mind of God.
If in doubt I think I would send a message to CAF Apologist Fr. Charles Grondin
how much confidence you have in this guy? enough to speak directly? about the child porn, well i don’t know what to say, it might become more dangerous to speak about this since that one is a crime that is punished with jail, so he might even react violently. Let’s Hope in God that is normal one.
Shoulda specified. This seemed to be regular porn, NOT child. I did not look through every file I guess. And this was not on a public computer in the rectory, but saved to his personal drive on his personal computer. Probably why no one else has stumbled on it yet.
I would tell the priest what you found and tell him you must report it to the bishop immediately. You should of course let the priest contact the bishop first, and let them work out what is to be done, but I would call a day later anyway, to make sure the bishop knows; he must be informed as soon as possible, to keep quiet is to be a part of it. We should all pray for this priest, this will be a very hard time for your parish.
Benedict, I would NOT, as someone suggested, confront the priest. I do not think that would be wise. At all.
I would go straight to the bishop.
Want to add too that I know how you feel. A discovery like this can be, and often is, traumatic.
I will keep you in my prayers.
If I do contact the bishop, should I give my name and address and ask to remain confidential or should I just leave myself anonymous?
the bishop is going to ask if you have approached the priest. the best thing to do is approach the priest in question. If you do not get a good response from the priest or a very negative one, then you have a basis to go to the bishop because then you can say, “i saw this on his computer, went to him, he said this …” Likewise, is the computer assessible to others on the staff which means it might not be the priest at all but staff members. So if you had assess and use as a volunteer, do you know who else has been on this computer and what they were doing?
When I was DRE at my parish I realuzed that our pastor was an alcoholic. Soon he was coming to the parish council meetings smelling of alcohol and falling asleep during the mass. I had no idea what to do!
I finally contacted a previous pastor and sought his help. (He was in the same order and had moved to a nearby parish a few years earlier.) My immediate concern was first reconciliation. I was not about to have him dispensing this important sacrament while drunk. My former pastor areanged to have three priests come for the event. Soon, the priest was removed and put into an alcohol rehab.
Please know that you can handle this! God put you in this place because he trusts you to do His work.
DON’T confront the priest, please. He might erase the pictures and that would be tragic. He would not get the help ge needs. He might also be able to effectively deny your story.
Go to someone you trust and who will not cover up for the priest. If there is another priest at your parish he might be a good choice. Otherwise call the Bishop. It is your duty. You can bring about his salvation! You are doing a good thing for this man.
Do this as soon as possible, certainly sometime tomorrow. Do not delay. It won’t get easier.
Praying for you and your priest.
I have to disagree. This priest needs professional help and religious counseling. In this age of clerical issues, the Bishop just wants to know what is happening. If the Bishop asks the OP to talk to him, fine. But report it to someone else first.
The Bishop will know what to do. Whether it is this priest or someone else, this is a very serious issue within the Parish. Someone is in terrible trrouble. They need someone to intercede for them.
I agree don’t confront the priest. Report it to the Bishop an let him handle it.
Did you ever think it might not be his, but someone else’s maybe someone else is using his Computer, I would be slow to judge, we don’t know, the best thing is NOT TO MAKE IT A POLICE MATTER THAT IS RIDICULOUS, but rather ring the Bishop and let him handle it and leave it to the Bishop, I don’t know about your Court of Law but in mine one is Innocent until proven guilty.
The Bishops don’t read anything that is not signed. It will go straight in the trash.
You need to make an appointment, and bring a willing witness with you so that you have a witness to what you report. If that’s what you decide to do. No anonymous letters. Be specific.
Praying for a good outcome.
I will say, that if his computer is connected to a network at the parish, which most parishes have, it could originate someone else’s pc and saved to the network.
A good IT guy will be able to figure out its origins.
Sorry you have to be in this situation. But don’t assume it’s his…it could be anyone who works in the office.
At a previous parish we had a volunteer that asked to use a PC to write a paper for college and came in after hours when the women in the office were trying to be kind to this guy. Eventually they discovered porn. HE tried to say that his paper was on the effects of pornography on society…but they didn’t buy it and he asked to find another place to worship and banned from the premises.
I am very saddened to hear that you have this additional cross to bear, but I cannot help but feel that you were chosen for a reason. You have and will get several opinions on how to deal with this, all I am sure will be with the best of intentions.
Ultimately, it is up to you how you handle this. Are there other priests in your church, so that you still feel comfortable to attend? Many other considerations will occur. I have already prayed that God will help you make the right decision, and that is where you should begin is with prayer.
If others have access to this PC or laptop, he may not be at fault. You know his staffing situation.
Prayfully consider the following.
Do not confront the priest yourself. This falls under the jurisdiction of the bishop. If it were me, I would contact him, ask for a face to face appointment concerning a grave matter involving the priest. This verbiage will most certainly get you a meeting.
If he is the only priest at the church, find another parish to attend, until the matter is resolved.
You can always do nothing. I myself think this is not the way to go, but again, until you act and pray, it is between you, our Lord and God for the moment. I pray that it is not child porn. If it is, my first step would to be consult a lawyer and then follow his advice in contacting the authorities. At this point you have to consider protecting your own reputation. I don’t know if it would be wise to contact the Bishop first or not, as the evidence could be destroyed. This is not to cast doubt on the bishop, but he may react without thinking, leaving you in the cold.
If it is all adult porn, then the bishop can handle it. Again I really hate to hear this burden has fallen on your shoulders. I know this must have broken your heart. I pray also that the priest might find healing and renewed dedication, preferably in one of the monastic orders. Ask God, Christ, and the Mother of our church for assistance. I have no doubt you will find it.
Yours in Christ.
first of all, we do not know who in the parish or on staff has had access to the computer. so again this might not be the priest at all. If Op as a volunteer was allowed or able to use the computer, then I would wager that others have as well. Secondly, I have actually have gone to a bishop with complaints and believe me, the first step is trying to work it out with the priest or in the parish. Only then when you have tried to work it out or go to the parish priest will you get listened to. Calling up the bishop and say “hey, I used this priest’s computer and he had porno on it” borders on gossip and assumptions. It isn’t going anywhere. Having a priest with a drinking problem and coming to parish meeting smelling like alcohol is different because there are now several witnesses to the priest drinking and more people involved. All you have here is one volunteer on a computer without any knowledge of who else had access to it. All we have is assumptions here and the best thing to do is go to the priest. If it isn’t him but others either as volunteers or on staff then he can deal with it and try to trace it down and maybe either clean it up or even looking into putting better control on what is happening.
As others have noted, we cannot assume that the porn belongs to the priest, even if it may be the most likely explanation. So be very careful in handling this. If you go to his bishop, it may impugn the character of this priest without good cause.
If it was child porn it needs to be handled differently, but for “regular” porn, I’d raise it with the priest himself, through a letter if you feel more comfortable. You don’t even need to acuse him directly; you could just inform him of the fact that you found porn on his computer, saying that he may need to assess his security and who has access. It’s a roundabout way of letting him know you found the porn, which may be sufficiently embarrassing for him if it is indeed his.
Another option is to seek advice from a different priest on how to handle this; one who does not know which parish you come from. You may find better counsel there than on the internet.
you gave a great way to talk to the priest as well as wise advice on how to do it.
Sounds like the best thing to do. The Bishop would tell you what to do next.
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death