People and Priest Working Together


What do you think of this article about a Jefferson City, MO priest from your position in the church? Can you see yourself in the role of the priest if you are a priest or of the people if you are a Catholic parishioner aware of this happening in your area? Let’s hear from you!

Jefferson City priest honored by VOTF & SNAP

He defied Catholic hierarchy & helped victims

Reform-minded lay group & victims organization praise him

A long time Jefferson City diocese Catholic priest is being honored for his “courageous and compassionate work” on behalf of clergy sex abuse victims.

This morning, the St. Louis chapter of Voice of the Faithful (VOTF.org) gave an award to Fr. Joseph Starmann at a small ceremony in St. Louis County.

“Another organization, a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests nominated Starmann for the honor,” said Peggy Fitzpatrick of VOTF.

“Father Joe is a brave and caring man, and a humble hero,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director. “He is among a handful of priests in this country who has both helped protect the vulnerable and console those already wounded, even against the wishes of his church supervisors. We admire and appreciate him tremendously”

Starmann was tapped for the award because he has:
–repeatedly and publicly addressed the issue of clergy sex abuse and cover up,
–personally given financial aid to help victims in need,
–advocated for victims who church officials tried to end therapy fund payments to,
— lobbied to reform Missouri’s archaic, predator-friendly child sex laws.

SNAP says that bishops almost always fight these legislative reforms. “By doing this, Fr. Starmann knowingly risked the wrath of Missouri’s top church officials,” said Mary Ellen Kruger of SNAP.

The proposal that Starmann lobbied for was passed by the Missouri General Assembly. It gives child sex abuse victims in Missouri more time to take legal action against the adults who molested them, as well as the employers or supervisors who ignored or concealed the crimes.

For years, Starmann was a co-host of the Sunday morning public affairs show “The Pastor’s Study” on KRCG TV in Jefferson City. Starmann worked at Catholic parishes in Columbia, Hermitage, Vienna, and Camdenton .

Now 78, Starmann lives in Winfield and helps out as the Catholic Chaplain at the Missouri Veterans’ Home, as Chaplain at St. Joseph’s Institute for the Deaf, and by saying mass at parishes in the St. Louis area. He can be reached at 636-566-8420.

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11 Responses to People and Priest Working Together

  1. Frances Hofmeister says:

    What a courageous individual! April is child abuse prevention month but even during that month it is very difficult to get priests to speak publicly about child abuse and its long term consequences. They will not work to repeal outmoded statues of limitation for fear of losing their livelihood.

  2. Kathleen Kichline says:

    Blessings on Fr. Starmann. Raises two questions for me. How much of his ability to think outside of the pack mentality came from his media involvement? So often we live in an insulated, isolated “catholic” world. It allows the bishops to reign us in. And how many of our retiring priests will use this as an opportunity to speak up and act with more freedom? Or will they just shake the dust off their feet and ride off into the sunset?
    Just wondering,
    Kathleen

  3. Judy Lorenz says:

    It is the question I hear and pose so often. I know there are priests of integrity out there but what can we do to help them speak up? Obviously we cannot promise them a pension but there must be some way to help them understand that we need them and their true mission is to obey God and serve Gods’ people and not blindly obey a bishop who does not understand the truth. Thank you Fr. Starmann and any advice would be appreciated.

  4. Fr. Joe is a true hero.

    David Clohessy
    Director
    SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
    7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143
    314 566 9790 cell SNAPclohessy@aol.com

  5. John S says:

    Interesting article that came out today:

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1102577.htm

    Relationship between clergy and laity.

    • drnickmazza says:

      Thanks John. Hope it develops as well. Watch for the next blog. Coming soon. Why not join the blog site. It’s free and you will get all my new blogs. Nick

  6. Speaking-Up says:

    How do I know if my comments have been accepted, rejected or are awaiting a moderator? I am very knew at this and sometimes my comments go through very quickly.

    Thank You

  7. drnickmazza says:

    Speaking Up: I never modify or rejects a message sent by a fellow blogger unless it if offensive. I determine what is offensive. Please see my disclaimer in the “About” section. So far, I have not rejected any message. DrNick

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