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The Fr. Benedict Groeschel saga has ended with his resignation from his show, Sunday Night Prime, on EWTN, effective immediately. The other Franciscan Friars of The Renewal (CFR) priests will host the program.

Catholic News Agency:

Irondale, Ala., Sep 4, 2012 / 10:42 am (CNA).- Franciscan friar Father Benedict Groeschel has stepped down as host of EWTN’s Sunday Night Prime television show following his apology for making comments about the sexual abuse of minors.

In a National Catholic Register interview published Aug. 27, Fr. Groeschel suggested that a minor is “the seducer” in “a lot” of sexual abuse cases. He said he was inclined to think that abusers on their first offense should not go to jail “because their intention was not committing a crime.”

Fr. Groeschel apologized for the remarks last week, saying he did not intend to “blame the victim.” He affirmed that a priest or anyone else who abuses a minor is “always always wrong” and “always responsible.”

EWTN’s Sunday Night Prime program will continue with other Franciscan Friars of the Renewal serving as hosts.

EWTN's facebook page, from CEO Michael Warsaw:
The recent comments regarding clerical sexual abuse of minors made by Father Benedict Groeschel to a news editor of the National Catholic Register should never have been published. In no way do those comments reflect the views of the Register or EWTN. It should have been obvious to the editor that Father Benedict's physical condition and mental clarity have deteriorated and that the comments were completely inconsistent with his life's work and witness. We apologize that these remarks were published and ask for forgiveness for this error.

To regular viewers of EWTN, it has been evident for some time that Father Benedict's health has been declining. For more than a year, the Network has been in discussions with both Father and his Community about his capacity to continue hosting Sunday Night Prime. This is the reason that the program moved from a live to a pre-recorded format last year. In more recent months Father Benedict’s decline has accelerated. After consultation with EWTN and the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Father Benedict has decided that it is now time to step away from the program. The Sunday Night Prime program will continue and will be hosted by other priests of the CFR community.

Father Benedict has led a life of tremendous compassion and service to others and his spiritual insights have been a great gift to the EWTN family for many years. We are profoundly grateful to him and assure him of our prayers. At the same time, we ask our EWTN family to pray for all those who have been affected by this painful situation and in particular those who have been victims of sexual abuse.

My previous diary on this subject
Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, a prominent priest whose Sunday night show airs on the theologically conservative EWTN, is in REALLY hot water over his comments on child sexual abuse.

Originally posted to JGibson on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 03:28 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets and House of LIGHTS.

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