Six novices were dismissed last June from the California novitiate of a small religious order, just weeks after they reported that their novice master touched several of them inappropriately without their consent, and engaged in manipulation and other conduct which caused them “serious harm.”
Their dismissal came after an internal investigation cleared the novice master of wrongdoing. But investigators did not interview any of the novices before rejecting their claims, the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception confirmed to The Pillar.
An attorney for the community told The Pillar that the men did not specifically request to be interviewed when they reported their allegations, and that such interviews were not necessary to resolve their misconduct claims.
The former novices say the process was unjust, and that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in which the novitiate was located, should have done more to assist them when they alleged misconduct. After questions from The Pillar, the archdiocese said it is open to investigating the men’s allegations.
The Pillar spoke with five former novices of the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, a religious congregation of priests with fewer than 50 members, and houses in Europe, South America, and California, where the congregation serves two parishes.
The former novices told The Pillar that in addition to inappropriate touching, their novice master expected them nightly to drink to excess during their postulancy and novitiate, drove drunk with them as passengers, and made efforts to manipulate them psychologically.
The priest, Fr. Thomas Dome, denied the men’s allegations, his order’s attorney told The Pillar. Dome was not available for comment, his lawyer added, emphasizing that “we … offer our prayers that a resolution can be reached, bringing healing for the novices and our community.”
The conflict between the former novices and their religious community comes as the Church continues to grapple with fallout from the Theodore McCarrick scandal, in which it was revealed that victims and witnesses of the former cardinal tried for years to flag problematic behavior to Church authorities. The case also points to questions about how Church policies should address inappropriate clerical conduct toward vulnerable adults, including men in religious or priestly formation.
Seven men joined the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception as postulants in May 2020; they were current and former seminarians, who had initially discerned forming a religious community together. But some told The Pillar that Dome, the Canons Regular vocations director, encouraged them to consider his congregation.
The men were attracted to its reverent liturgy and orthodox theology, and its pastoral presence in two California parishes, several of them told The Pillar.
But when they entered the order’s Santa Paula, California, house of formation, some men say they noticed problems right away, especially with excessive drinking.
One man - who could not be reached for comment - left the community in a matter of weeks, the other former novices said. There was alcoholism in his family, some recalled, and he knew the signs.
Fr. Dome “wanted to celebrate every single night when we got there,” one former novice told The Pillar.
“That meant drinking every single night. And so we at first made excuses for him, but then we realized that he was an alcoholic.”
Former novices recalled that the priest expected them to keep up with him on alcohol, night after night.
“He made these really big, really strong drinks he called ‘martonis,’” one former novice recalled. “And it was expected that we had to drink the whole thing, or he’d get really anxious, and push us to drink them, and that happened until everyone was really drunk. There was no having a conversation with him.”
“He called it community time,” another former novice told The Pillar. “But it was just every night, watching TV and just drinking. And if you didn’t want a ‘martoni,’ he’d offer to make you another drink, whatever you wanted. But we felt like we had to drink with him.”
“He would get mad if we wouldn’t drink. So it felt like we had to, or he would be angry with us,” another recalled.
Several men said that Dome would often expect one or two men to join him for more drinks after compline, or night prayer
“Eventually, we kind of took turns. Because he would want you to keep drinking after compline, one or two of us. So we would kind of take turns to figure out whose night it would be. Because we couldn’t all do that every night. It was just too much,” a former novice told The Pillar.
“When I wasn’t feeling up to it, I would just pour water into my glass when he wasn't noticing so that I would appear to keep drinking,” another man recalled.
One former novice recalled an incident during postulancy in which his mother called the house. She was missing the novice’s father, who had recently died. After the man talked with his mother, Dome asked to speak with her on the telephone as well.
“So I was in the room with him, in his personal quarters, and he’s consoling her. And then after the conversation, he hangs up the phone, and he says ‘Come on. Let’s go. Let’s go get shit-faced.’ And I didn’t know what to say.”
Others alleged that when the priest would get drunk, he would sometimes get hungry after compline, and order a few novices into the car for fast food. “So he would just drive drunk to Taco Bell with us in the car. Like it was nothing. And we felt like we had to go.”
Dome, his attorney said, was not available for comment, and denies the allegations former novices made against him.
‘But he was the superior’
Novices told The Pillar they also noticed other problems - some of which they later called manipulation.
“He would try to divide us against each other. He would tell me and [another novice] that we were the good ones, and that other guys weren’t doing what we were supposed to do,” one former novice recalled. “He made it so that we didn’t trust each other.”
Another said Dome blamed changes in the liturgy and customs of the house on the men, telling the two older, professed brothers who lived there that the changes were made because the new men demanded them.
“But he was the superior. And it was like he wanted us to be kind of responsible for what he decided, and then we would be kind of pitted against each other and only depend on him.”
Another man alleged that the priest “would tell us all the time, even when we were postulants, that if we left, our dioceses wouldn’t take us back and we wouldn’t have anywhere else to go. And we wanted to be priests. So it kind of felt like we had to just stay.”
“He threatened everybody that if we leave, he would make sure that we never get into another religious community,” another former novice told The Pillar. “And we kind of just put up with it, because we were like, ‘We left the diocese, we’re here now, what would we do if we left?’”
Along with Dome and the novices, living in the house were two other priests and two professed brothers. One of the professed brothers kept to himself, the former novices said, and the other was, they said, very deferential to Dome. One of the priests was elderly, and cared for by the novices. The other, the men said, was almost never home.
Those members of the Canons Regular were not available for comment, the order’s attorney told The Pillar.
But the novices allege that Dome seemed to have sown confusion among the home’s residents, and sometimes blamed decisions about liturgy or common life on the novices.
“The way Father Tom operated, he didn't quite operate like a normal superior. He would say one thing and then do another, and he would allow certain members of the community to basically do his dirty work if I could put it that way,” another man said.
“There was a lot of dysfunction between Father Tom being superior and some of the brothers and the priests. They just didn't talk about things if Father Tom didn't want them to talk about it,” one man recalled.
When the men first arrived, there was another brother living in the house, in formation for priesthood. But some men allege that Dome wanted them to urge that brother to leave — and eventually, he did leave.
According to one former novice: “He actually had myself and [another novice] talk to the simply professed brother in the house, because Fr. Tom didn’t like him. He would say ‘I really hope that you and [another brother] can talk with this brother and get him to leave the community and move on with his life. Because it would just be better.’”
That brother died of unrelated medical issues several months after his departure, The Pillar confirmed.
One man alleged financial problems.
“Father would ask me to do the books on Masses —- me and [another novice] would do it every so often. But Father was like ‘If a Mass intention comes in, you just write that it's $10.’ But I'm like “Father, that's $100!’ He’d tell me ‘Just write $10.’”
‘It made my skin crawl’
While the problems began during postulancy, the men said they hoped things would change when they became novices in December 2020 — although Dome would become their novice master.
“He told us that novitiate was going to be different, that it was going to be very prayerful and more religious. And so we were thinking that would be the end of just watching TV and having to drink so much and all of that. But that lasted about four days,” one man recalled.
When their novitiate began, the former novices told The Pillar, another problem began: unwanted and inappropriate touching.
One man recalled that the priest had a habit of caressing his head and shoulders.
“Unfortunately, where I sat in the kind of communal room - where the TV was - I sat next to him on his right. And so he would want to rub my shoulder while I sat there.”
“And then every time he would go into the chapel, he would always rub my head, like a dog. And that really made me uncomfortable, ‘cause I've never experienced a priest do this. And he’s my superior - I would never cross this boundary, never, ever.”
“It made my skin crawl. Just petting me — touching, and using a kid voice to me at the same time.”
“So I would go to our holy hour late, or I would wait until he got into the chapel because he would do it to me every time. That excessive petting and those touches of my head, even in the chapel, it was just so bizarre.”
Other men said that the priest would swat at or grope at the buttocks of some novices as he passed them in the house, sometimes with his hand, other times with the belt of his habit.
“He would smack me, and multiple of us, on the butt, sometimes with his habit belt. And when he would drink a lot and his inhibitions would start to go down and all that…when I would get up to go to the kitchen or to the bathroom or whatever, his eyes would kind of linger on me as I would walk away. And it was uncomfortable. It was just weird.”
One former novice recalled that the priest “grabbed at my crotch.”
“He was sitting next to me on the couch, and he started tickling my knee. And then he moved his hand up my leg, up my thigh, and he was touching my inner thigh toward my crotch. And so I just grabbed his arm and I knocked him off the couch. And then he just got up and laughed it off.”
“I didn’t know what to do.”
The other former novices recall the evening their novice master had been knocked to the floor. They all knew something had happened.
Some men told The Pillar that Dome expected one of the older professed brothers to massage him during television time.
According to one former novice: “He would have Brother [redacted] give him back rubs and foot rubs, but in the living room, in front of us. And Father would make these release noises, or he would groan, or say ‘Oh, that felt so good…’ And it was in the common space, and it just made it so uncomfortable. And it was already weird to watch him get these back or foot rubs in the common space, where we had to be.”
Another man alleged an uncomfortable incident involving the priest’s water bottle.
“One night after compline, we were going back to our rooms, and I was cleaning up a few things. And when I walked up the stairs, I noticed Father Tom’s water bottle. And I thought it was odd because he normally brings a glass of water or his water bottle to his room. And I would usually help him with his water, as a courtesy, when he was too drunk to bring it to his room. And on the other nights when I would bring it in [after the priest retired], he was usually sitting in his chair facing away from the door.”
“But that night when I walked into his room, he was sitting in that chair, and it was turned so that he was facing the door, and it looked like he was just waiting. His whole body looked like he had been waiting.”
The priest was clad only in boxer shorts and an undershirt, the former novice recalled.
“And he didn’t say anything. He just looked at me. And I just felt really uncomfortable. And it was just a gut feeling that something was wrong. So I put the water bottle down and I left. And it was really, really uncomfortable for me.”
‘We were just tired’
As the months ticked by in their novitiate, things got more difficult, the former novices told The Pillar.
The men said they consulted with seminary professors they trusted.
In February, one former novice explained, the men consulted with their spiritual director, Fr. Jose Rueda, a judge in the archdiocesan tribunal, who also taught canon law at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California.
“Our hope was that he could see everything and he could help us,” the former novice recalled.
Several of the men told The Pillar that the priest made excuses for Dome’s drinking, and did not seem to take seriously their other allegations.
“He encouraged us to stick it out. And we weren’t leaving, because we thought we just had to get through this if we were going to become priests.”
That spring, Bishop Robert Barron visited the novitiate, for dinner and a house blessing — as auxiliary bishop of the Los Angeles archdiocese, Barron oversaw the pastoral region of the archdiocese in which their novitiate was located.
The men had read “Letter to a Suffering Church,” a 2019 book Barron wrote in response to the Church’s sexual abuse crisis. They said it had given them hope during a difficult time in the Church. So when he was visiting the house, the men asked Barron to give a spiritual conference for their novitiate. He agreed, and a date was scheduled for June. The men hoped to tell Barron then about their experiences in the novitiate, and ask for his help.
But in late May, tension between the novices and Dome had become acute, the former novices say. The men were more reluctant to drink with their novice master, more withdrawn, less engaged in the life of the community. They said they were doing their best to avoid their novice master.
According to the former novices, Dome accused them of disobedience, and of encouraging division in the house.
“At that point, he would just flare up if you used a fork wrong. And he would yell that he was the superior, and we should know his will, but we weren’t sure what he wanted, and he wasn’t giving clear instructions. We were just tired,” one former novice recalled.
‘We messed up’
Things came to a head on May 28, 2021, the men told The Pillar.
“That night we messed up. Because one of us was supposed to drink with Father. But we were exhausted, and we didn’t drink with him, and he got wasted. And after compline, Father Tom told the novices to stay in the chapel,” one man said.
“And in front of the Blessed Sacrament, we’re sitting there, and he just says ‘I’ve had it with your bullshit,’” another man told The Pillar.
“And we didn’t know what he was really talking about. And he’s standing there telling us that he’s ‘tired of our shit,’ and that we were disobedient, and he said ‘If you guys don’t quit it, this is going to get really bad for you. Trust me. I can make this really bad.’”
“At this point, he’s standing in front of the tabernacle, and [one brother] said ‘Father, you know, language — maybe we should have this conversation somewhere else in the house…’”
“And Father just looked at him, and he says, ‘Fuck you.’ Just like that. And then he looks at us, and he says, ‘You guys better get your shit together. ‘Cause this is gonna get really bad if not.’”
“And then he storms out of the chapel.”
“That was a breaking point for me,” one man told The Pillar.
A few days after the conflict in the chapel, the men had a meeting with Dome and their spiritual director, Fr. Rueda. Several of the former novices told The Pillar they had told Rueda what they’d been experiencing ahead of that meeting.
But they were surprised at the meeting, men said, when Rueda urged a reconciliation, and told them, “I’m sad that because of petty things that were never able to be addressed or worked on, this is going where it's going.”
“We didn’t think this stuff was petty,” one former novice told The Pillar. “But Fr. Rueda wanted us to just move forward.”
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles told The Pillar that Rueda said he “was approached as a spiritual director in the internal forum. He advised them to communicate in the external forum with their superiors and the regional bishop. Because the discussion occurred in the internal forum, he could not share what had been discussed.”
After Rueda spoke at the meeting, Dome told the men that one novice, the one who had urged leaving the chapel a few days earlier, would be dismissed from the novitiate. The other men, he said, were welcome to stay, but would be expected to better meet his expectations.
“Father Tom put all the blame on [the dismissed brother]. He just decided everything that had happened was his fault. It was totally erratic, but he wanted to put him out and he wanted us to blame him for what had happened,” one former novice alleged.
And Dome said, according to another former novice, “that he had all this dirt on us from seminary, so if we left, he would make sure that we wouldn’t be accepted anywhere.”
Several of the men told The Pillar they felt threatened by Dome. The priest seemed too erratic, they said, and the house seemed unsafe.
The men said they decamped from the house to the home of a nearby friend. It was not their intention to leave the Canons Regular or their novitiate, but “we just didn’t feel like we could be in the same house with Fr. Tom, or even like we were safe.”
The men told The Pillar that Dome had required them to turn in their habits when they left the house, and to return their cell phones, which were paid for by the congregation. But several of the men said they considered themselves novices, because Dome was not empowered to dismiss them without a consultative process outlined in their statutes.
‘We await your aid’
The former novices told The Pillar that when they left their formation house in early June, they wanted to remain in their community, and they hoped that Dome would be replaced. So the novices decided to write to Fr. Rinaldo Guarisco, their superior general, stationed in Rome.
On June 9th, they sent Gaurisco an email, asking for an investigation, and for a new novice master.
“The following are the issues as we have experienced them,” the men wrote, according to a text of the letter provided by a former novice:
“Pressure to have us drink alcohol almost every night with him.”
“Inappropriate touching of the inner thigh and buttocks; inappropriate caressing of the head; slapping others with the belt of the habit; asking for neck and foot massages from some of the novices of the professed brothers.”
“Manipulation and blackmail…”
The text explained the men’s living situation:
“Due to the injustice of this situation and the fear of repercussions to this letter, the rest of us felt impelled to leave the House of Formation to seek refuge elsewhere while Father Thomas Dome remains Master of Novices…[we] wish to bring to your attention the serious harm he has done to us and to the local community of the Congregation. Although we left the House, we are living together in community and continue our dedication to the religious life as we await your aid.”
The men did not immediately hear from Guarisco.
Instead, the superior and his council in Rome interviewed Dome, the professed brothers and one of the priests living in the novitiate, and a priest living in a nearby rectory.
None of the novices were interviewed. A spokesman for the Canons Regular told The Pillar that none of the men alleging misconduct had specifically requested an interview, and so none were conducted.
According to one former novice: “We were waiting to be contacted by the general superior. To be interviewed. Because we're like, well that's how investigations in the Catholic Church work now. You don't just interview the priest, ‘cause he's your boy. You interview — usually you interview the victim first. But there was no interview.”
On June 24, two weeks after they filed their complaints, each of the novices received an identical letter from Guarisco.
The letters said that “there was nothing inappropriate in Fr. Thomas Dome’s attitude toward you.”
“Regarding the accusation of excessive alcohol use, the professed members stated that in the evening in the Dom Gréa House, as a sign of fraternity, there was an opportunity to have something to drink, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, and that each person was always free to choose whether and what to drink. Furthermore, Fr. Thomas Dome was never seen drunk by any of the professed members.”
“Regarding the accusations of inappropriate touching of the novices, the professed members state that there was no contact with their private parts and that even the touching of their heads was an innocent gesture, welcomed by all with sympathy, due to the fact that they cut their hair extremely short. In any case, the professed members never heard any of the novices complaining about this type of gesture.”
The men said they were shocked. Their claims were dismissed without even so much as a question.
One man told The Pillar: “I was very disheartened, to be honest. I was expecting more from the general superior. I was expecting actually a call to be interviewed But there was no contact from the general superior or from the CRICs. I was at least expecting more than what they were doing. So I was very, very disappointed.”
Some men said they were more discouraged that the letter said problems in the house were their fault.
“The lack of unity and greater involvement on the part of the novices with the professed members of the Dom Gréa House and the Territorial Community has caused tension to build between the novices and the professed members. The climate of division that reigned in the Dom Gréa House clearly implied that there were two different religious orders within it, almost two different communities in the same House,” Guarisco told them.
With their departure, the letter said, “the atmosphere in the Dom Gréa House has returned to its previous serenity.”
“Therefore, all things considered, despite the considerable workload that Fr. Thomas Dome manages in his various responsibilities, the CRIC USA confreres as well as my Council and I renew our full trust in him as Territorial Animator and the Novice master,” their superior wrote.
“This was after McCarrick,” one former novice told The Pillar. “And we were warning our superior about behavior that could have gotten much, much worse. And wanting to see it handled before that. And they didn’t talk with us, didn’t believe us, didn’t even ask us any questions. And then our superior said that the problems in the house were our fault.”
“We just couldn’t understand how this happened.”
The men’s biggest surprise came when they learned they had been dismissed from the Canons Regular.
“I now affirm your novitiate is terminated, but both I and the CRIC USA Community remain open to dialogue, in truth and in charity,” Guarisco wrote.
They had asked for help, and now they were no longer novices. They had been kicked out of their community.
In a statement, the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception told The Pillar that while one of the men was actually dismissed, the rest “voluntarily chose to leave the community. With no other novices discerning priesthood for the order, the novitiate ended.”
But the men say that claim is false.
“We didn’t sign anything, we didn’t leave the novitiate, we just went to a safer place and asked for help,” one man told The Pillar. Other former novices agreed. None of the men who spoke with The Pillar said they intended to leave their community.
On the substance of their allegations, the Canons Regular told The Pillar that “Dome refuted each of the allegations made against him,” and that none of the four professed members who were interviewed “corroborated that misconduct had occurred.”
“The Superior General found no merit to the allegations made against Fr. Dome,” a statement explained.
The order’s attorney, Dave Shaneyfelt, told The Pillar that his client did not consider the allegations against Dome to constitute sexual misconduct. He added that the Canons Regular did not have a sexual misconduct policy in place at the time of the allegations.
Asked directly if the men’s allegation - “caresses” and “inappropriate touching of the inner thigh and buttocks” - would be considered sexual misconduct by the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, Shaneyfelt told The Pillar, “no, we don’t think so.”
“Regardless, the order initiated an investigation according to its policies, and it was found that no sexual misconduct could be corroborated by witnesses to the conduct referenced in the report,” the lawyer explained.
The Los Angeles archdiocese, in which the novitiate is located, received a copy of the novices’ letter after it was sent to their major superior in Rome.
It is not clear whether the Los Angeles archdiocese had a responsibility to investigate the men’s allegations.
The archdiocesan “Policy for Addressing Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by Clergy in the Archdiocese” says it pertains to “sexual misconduct perpetrated by clergy” in the archdiocese, even if the cleric is a member of a religious order.
The policy calls for a Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board to “consider all allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy which occur within the geographical boundaries of the Los Angeles Archdiocese or which involve clerics assigned to or working or living within the Archdiocese. This includes … religious order clerics.”
The reviews include matters of “boundary violations,” the policy explains.
But in the case of the allegations against Dome, the archdiocesan spokesman told The Pillar that officials “determined this matter to be internal to the order, as an independent canonical religious entity. Since the order had already initiated an investigation, the archdiocese deferred the investigation to the order.”
The archdiocese said this week it has contacted the former novices after questions were raised by The Pillar, “inviting the novices to contact the vicar for clergy.”
A spokesperson told The Pillar that a future investigation is a possibility:
“As mentioned before, the archdiocese has communicated to the novices to please contact the Vicar for Clergy’s Office so that they may speak to the archdiocese directly. Once they have contacted the archdiocese, a subsequent investigation will take place.”
A lawyer for the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception told The Pillar his client will cooperate with an archdiocesan investigation.
“While the appropriate protocols of our order regarding the investigation into the matter were followed, the Canons Regular understands that the novices would like to have the archdiocese look into the matter further and will cooperate with any additional investigation as needed,” the lawyer explained.
The archdiocesan spokesperson also acknowledged a previous complaint against Dome.
“The archdiocese received a prior report in July 2008 of alleged misconduct involving Father Dome and an adult layperson. The matter was reported to the authorities who declined to investigate, was reviewed by the Archdiocese and the order in accordance with their policies, and Father Dome remained in ministry,” according to a statement.
The Los Angeles archdiocese also addressed other concerns raised by the former novices about how their situation was addressed.
The men say they were discouraged when a meeting with Bishop Barron, scheduled for a few days after things came to a head, was canceled.
The archdiocese told The Pillar that the meeting with Barron “had been previously scheduled as a friendly meeting to talk about general topics of their novitiate and possibly starting a library. The meeting was canceled because Bishop Barron, unaware of any report of misconduct, learned that there was some disagreement between the novices and their superiors, and felt that it was best to not have a meeting at that time to allow for the situation to be first addressed and resolved by the order.”
“The cancellation was not because of the report of sexual misconduct. Bishop Barron was not aware of the report when the meeting was canceled. The office was made aware after the fact when the order shared the letter from the novices to the Superior General,” the archdiocese added.
Several of the former novices told The Pillar that Barron’s assistant, Deacon Chris Sandner, was initially supportive of the men, telling one that he supported their vocations, but that after the men clarified in a June Zoom call that they had no intention of pressing charges against Dome, his support cooled.
But the archdiocese said that discussion did not take place.
“A Zoom meeting with one of the novices did take place, but it was to check in on their discernment and did not involve any discussion as has been described to you,” an archdiocesan spokesperson told The Pillar.
Finally, the Los Angeles archdiocese disputed an October 9, 2021 letter from the Canons Regular, which informed parishioners and supporters that the order’s California novitiate had been closed “with the full and informed support of the superior general of our order, Archbishop Jose Gomez, and our auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron.”
According to the archdiocese: “The decision to close the novitiate was made entirely by the order because there were no remaining novices. The order informed the regional office of the closure. The order explained that they had asked only one of the novices to leave, and that they had given the others the option to stay and continue, but all decided to leave with the other novice. This left the order with no one to be a part of the novitiate thus their decision to end the program. The Archdiocese was not involved in the closure of the novitiate.”
‘Have we not learned?’
While a future archdiocesan investigation could lead to action concerning Dome, several of the former novices told The Pillar they are not sure they will still have a path to priesthood.
The men are living in a house made available to them through a member of the Canons Regular. They pray together and some teach religious education, but they do not expect they will start a religious order, as they once had envisioned.
Some said they wanted to speak out, because they’re hoping for change — for themselves, and for victims of clerical sexual abuse and misconduct.
One former novice told The Pillar his faith is not deterred.
“My family has asked me why I am even still practicing the faith. But the Church is more than its flawed members. It has the fullness of truth, and that is why I’m here.”
Another former novice said he hopes Church leaders will learn from his situation.
“I remember my early formation years, the words ‘accountability’ and ‘personal accountability.’ I read ‘Letter to a Suffering Church’ by Bishop Barron. And I understand that we're human beings. We make mistakes. But their job - their calling - is higher … it’s to God.”
“And so it’s like: Do you not fear God? Do you not love God? And it seems as if it’s systemic, it's a disease within the Church hierarchy right now, of just ‘Out of sight, outta mind.’”
“And it's like, have we not learned from McCarrick?”
“So accountability — just say what you mean and live by that, you know? And people are looking for leaders within the Church hierarchy and when they hear a voice it gives them hope.”
“And so when this doesn't get cleaned up and, and taken care of with a good shepherd's heart, it hurts the flock, you know?”
“The Church is good. She’s strong. And she’s reaching out for her children. But it’s unfortunately the men who are weak and they’re hurting, and they allow whatever it is - the world - to just take over, you know?” the former novice said.
“So even if we don’t become priests, I just hope and pray for the best right now.”