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.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
Cat 4 storm heads for Bermuda; travel ban called counter-productive; comet approaches Mars and more national and international news for Friday, October 17, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
After the season's signature win (so far), here are some helpful tips for Cajun Nation during the conference stretch.
Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?
Practicing without limitations on Wednesday, running back Mark Ingram looked ready to return to a New Orleans offense that once again ranks among the NFL's best when the Saints play at Detroit on Sunday.
It’s been decided: Superintendents of Louisiana’s public school system will retain the controversial powers granted by Act 1 of the 2012 session.
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy has a bone to pick with the Jindal administration, which recently — surprise! — announced that the state ended the most recent budget year with a $178.5 million dollar surplus.
The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.
With her political future in jeopardy, Sen. Mary Landrieu is turning to a natural constituent base in her re-election bid.
Terrance Broadway threw for a touchdown and rushed for 113 yards to lead Louisiana-Lafayette to a 34-10 victory over Texas State on Tuesday night.
Aligned with the party of an unpopular president, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu sought to keep her distance from the Obama administration, against claims from her chief Republican challenger Bill Cassidy that a vote to re-elect the Democratic incumbent was a vote for Barack Obama.
Seven people in Louisiana and two others in Mississippi have been arrested in connection with an international online sales scam.
Despite the hype and potential misinformation to have spread in the wake of Mark Cockerham’s recent departure from the LPSB, his candidacy for reelection is still on — now with the backing of the Chamber's Empower PAC.
No, seriously, the state says today cops nabbed seven people suspected of being “members and affiliates of Romanian organized crime.” In Lafayette.
LSU’s all-time leading rusher and three-time Super Bowl champion Kevin Faulk, UL Lafayette great and Super Bowl quarterback Jake Delhomme and coaching legend Yvette Girouard will be enshrined next summer.
Severe storms that moved across Louisiana caused widespread damage and power outages.
A dispute over the Common Core education standards won't sideline Louisiana's application for up to $15 million in federal grant money for pre-kindergarten programs, Gov. Bobby Jindal decided Monday.
The three main contenders in Louisiana's U.S. Senate race are squaring off in a TV debate for the first time, with only three weeks to go until Election Day.
A state judge signed an order Monday temporarily blocking ash from the incineration of a Texas Ebola victim's belongings to be disposed of at a southwest Louisiana site.