He could be a demanding boss, too, when he needed letters sent to other bishops or the wristband broke on his watch. Otherwise, he was sensitive, calm, remarkable, humble, strong, kind, gentle, unruffled, stable, understanding, cool and collected, extremely family-oriented, even and balanced and had a firm and sturdy character.
That's how The Daily Advertiser remembered Frey, who died last Thursday at the age of 93. In three successive days of coverage, The Advertiser wrote of Frey's long service to the Catholic Church and the Lafayette Roman Catholic Diocese, also highlighting noteworthy Frey accomplishments such as his extensive work with the Second Vatican Council and tenure as a pastor with churches in Houma, New Orleans and Taft.
The following section was buried deep in The Advertiser's first story on Frey's death:
"But Frey's time in the Lafayette Diocese also was marked by tragedy," the newspaper wrote. "He became the first bishop in the United States to deal with a sex abuse scandal in the 1980s, when former priest Gilbert GauthÃ© went to jail for molesting children in Lafayette Diocese churches where he served as a priest." The Advertiser then quoted a parishioner who remarked, "We were the first diocese hit by this. He had a rough time. What's right is right, no matter what. He did the right thing, no question."
Imagine how that statement must feel to the hundreds of innocent children molested by GauthÃ© and other priests during Frey's tenure. Imagine what the families whose lives were shattered by predatory priests and their superiors who looked the other way must have felt when they saw The Advertiser's multiple accounts lavishing praise on Frey.
For too many people, Frey's passing and The Advertiser's coverage provoked a terrible sense of dÃ©jÃ vu. When The Times of Acadiana first uncovered the scandal in the mid-80s under the leadership of current Independent Weekly publisher Steve May and late Times editor Richard Baudouin, devout Catholic Baudouin wrote a courageous, impassioned editorial calling on Frey to resign:
"We must insist on the principle of justice, that officials of the Church are not above the law, not above basic moral and ethical standards of the areas which they serve. The bishops of this country have seen fit to interject themselves into debates over abortion, nuclear war, economic policy and the like. With that adoption of a public agenda comes a responsibility to be accountable to the community at large.
"This newspaper, for one, will not stand silent at the outrages that have been perpetrated upon the people of this region. Children have suffered, families have been torn apart, the faith of the laity has been tested, and now even the accused priests have to endure punishment for their offenses. The bishop and his vicar general owe it to their church, yes to south Louisiana as a whole, to resign their positions immediately so that the process of healing within this community can take place. And if they refuse, we call upon the Vatican, through its official representative to the United States, Pio Laghi, to force action."
Frey refused to resign. What followed was a full-scale assault by the Catholic Church and The Daily Advertiser on the integrity of Baudouin and The Times. In a front-page editorial on June 16, 1985, The Advertiser wrote: "Now, will those who thrive on the misery of others permit the matter to rest, content to let the judicial system work, or will they turn it all into some extravaganza exploiting pornography while condemning the Catholic Church and all the priests who serve it? ... Let's offer a special prayer for the resolution of the affair that has rocked the Acadiana community and ask the forgiveness of any unscrupulous individuals who for one reason or another attempt to blacken the reputation of our entire religious community."
For the uninitiated, the massive cover-up and spinning of the scandal is detailed extensively in Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children, journalist Jason Berry's definitive account of the church's widespread efforts in south Louisiana ' with The Advertiser as a willing sidekick ' to silence the discovery of pedophilia within its ranks. Perhaps no individual knows the extent of the crimes as much as F. Ray Mouton, the attorney who represented GauthÃ© and later worked with the canon lawyer for the Vatican Embassy, Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, and Rev. Michael Peterson, a priest and psychiatrist. The three men co-authored a manifesto delivered to ranking cardinals in the Vatican and every bishop in the U.S. Catholic Church that detailed the sickening national scope of pedophilia within the church.
"The very first criminal case and civil cases arose in Lafayette as a result of Bishop Frey moving Father GauthÃ© from church parish to church parish after Frey knew he was sexually abusing boys," says Mouton, who now lives in France. "The long list of crimes against very young innocent children were obvious, and not once did Frey notify the police. At one point, well after the bishop had knowledge of Father GauthÃ© having serially sexually abused a lot of boys, the bishop appointed him by letter to be chaplain of the Boy Scouts. This letter is part of one of his depositions, introduced into evidence. Had I not seen the letter with my own eyes I would never believe such a thing happened."
Frey's passing re-opened the wounds from the most painful chapter in Acadiana's history. Some believe that reliving Frey's role in that agonizing era is inappropriate and somehow speaks ill of the dead. But it's the media's duty to shine an unwavering light in the darkest of places, and in this case, I cannot think of a more terrifying example of philosopher George Santyana's words: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue — the second in the last four months.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.