I've been following this bizarre story for a couple of days, chiefly because Fr. Costello's vocation had been surrounded with gay controversies which the diocese of Fall River swept under the rug.
I was under the impression Fr. Costello had been laicized after Rhode Island police 'investigated' a complaint. Sources indicate the kerfluffle involved a sexual relationship with a young man he met at rest stop which turned sour and parish funds were being used as hush money. But, he apparently was a priest in good standing at the time of his untimely death.
Recent statements from the diocese indicate no charges were filed and the case was not prosecuted.
No charges were filed against Costello at any time during the investigation or at its completion, the Diocese said. Kearns declined Monday to elaborate on the nature of the Rhode Island State Police investigation.
Are we at the day and age when its acceptable for a diocese to decline to elaborate on misconduct?
Was it sexual misconduct with an adult? Did witnesses become uncooperative? Did victims decide it was not worth the hassle?
There were ramifications. Following the incident, the bishop forced him to 'retire' for...'using poor judgment'.
If allegations are true, a priest cruising rest stops to have consensual sex with young gay males and using parish funds for hush money when things turn ugly, is hardly the exercise of 'poor judgment'.
Poor judgment is when you use Marty Haugen songs in the Novus Ordo.
Fr. Costello went missing about a week ago.
A suspect led police to his buried body, more arrests are expected and the FBI has taken over the case.
The statements from the diocese are filled with praise for Fr. Costello and bewilderment he met with such a disturbing end. No indication whatsoever that Fr. Costello had history of sexual predation.
Fr. Costello was also involved in a 2010 gay controversy with Fr. John Harrington.
Fr. Harrington is familiar to many in the prolife community. It's my understanding nothing sexual was implied in the stalking discussion. There is no question he's orthodox, faithful and has been a victim of corruption. I think its also fair to say he's intense and that intensity sometimes sabotages his own best interests.
For example, if your pastor asks you to give an individual some personal space, using your Sunday homily to mount a crusade against him is not a 'winner, winner, chicken dinner' strategy.
But, here's the bottom line:
Fr. Harrington has been complaining about the sexually active gay network of priests for decades and they took him out of commission instead of getting to the bottom of what's causing the commotion.
After all is said and done, it seems to me that early retirement packages, coverups, singing praises and feigned surprise that Fr. Costello ended up in a shallow grave with the FBI on the case, is a colossal case of 'poor judgment' that is part and parcel of our never-ending nightmare.