Lying To Protect False Apparition
By Ex-members of Seeds of Hope
Open Letter from sexually abused boy ---------------
I challenge Fr. John Szantyr and St. Francis of
My name is Donald Nohs. Fr. John Szantyr sexually abused me when I was young. I have sent emails to many people informing them of that fact. Below is an email which was forwarded to me by Vic Valois, an ex-member of the Seeds of Hope of which Fr. John Szantyr was named as the “Heart” of the group by St. Francis himself. In an article in the Catholic Observer, the Springfield Diocesan newspaper, alleged visionary Neil Harrington Jr. tells the Observer:
“He acknowledged receiving a letter from Bishop McDonnell on Sept. 30 which was the first time he was aware of Father Szantyr’s situation.”
The email below would seem to contradict Neil Harrington’s claim of not knowing of Fr. John Szantyr’s problems as the message from St. Francis communicating Fr. John’s problems to Neil is clearly prior to Sept. 30, 2007.
The section of the email that really ticked me off is highlighted below. I really don’t appreciate St. Francis calling me a liar. To set the record straight and have no misunderstanding, I re-state emphatically to everyone including St. Francis, John and the members of the Seeds of Hope; I am the victim here, not John Szantyr! And so I am willing to submit to a lie detector test along with John Szantyr and St. Francis. Then we will see who the real liars and deceivers are and who is telling the truth.
It also really bothers me to hear St. Francis refer to John as “Blessed Padre John” and “Beloved Padre John”.
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 17:07:04 -0400
Subject: This is a question asked by John Szantyr and "allegedly answered by St. francis"
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
If St. Francis was allowed to be present physically and visibly during our meetings, teaching and counseling us all this time each week, how would your response to the mission of the Seeds of Hope be different? And how differently would you have conducted your spiritual and prayer life? -Question by Father
Blessed padre John, I tell you that I am visible to all my brothers of the seeds of Hope. Yes you do not see me with the naked eye but in your heart is where I am visible to each one of you, and all who are able to see what the heart and soul know that I am present. Physically you can see my words for they have been placed in letters to you. These letters were the stories and personal messages that I have given to you. I do assure thee that the stories that I have given to you are portions of your own life. My brothers of the seeds of Hope, I have written stories about each of your lives so that you could no that I am with you. Beloved padre John, life has not always treated you fairly and many have falsely accused you yet, you have never waiver in your love of God. Many who bear of the scars of unjust persecution as you blame God for his absence in what you had to suffer? But thou have recognized that God has been with you through all you trials and tribulations. Because of this God has bless you with the brothers of the seeds of Hope. I speak onto the brothers of the seeds of Hope, if thy heart were right then every word that I have given to you would be alive and would be burning deeply within your heart. But because there is so much confusion in this world many of you do not take the time to embrace, contemplates and live the light that I have given to you through the messages. How can one understand this holy invitation that God has given to you without understanding the context of what I have given to you through the messages. How many times have you felt me in your presence when the messages that I have given have been read thou know that I am here by the feeling that burns inside you. Begin to understand that you must learn the messages and live the messages then shall you'll understand this holy invitation that God has given to you. Padre John the brothers of the seeds of Hope have been given to you not only as your friends but also as your brothers.
A few more observations regarding this alleged message.
1. St. Francis had an excellent education and became fluent in reading and speaking several languages, yet his grammar in his message is horrendous.
2. St. Francis did not use the pronouns thee and thou in the language he spoke, yet he uses these in his message, and not consistently. “But thou have recognized” should read “But thou hast recognized” just to be consistent. St. Francis should stick to the language of the person he is giving a message to so there is no confusion. This is suspect.
3. John Szantyr hearing this message, right off the bat should have said to himself “this visionary is a phony” or that “this is a demon that is appearing to Neil”. He should have run out of that house and not looked back. John knew that he sexually abused many boys and yet he listened to St. Francis say that “many falsely accuse you”. John knew better. He knew this was a false message. This message was not from heaven. I would not hang around knowing full well that this must be a demon appearing to Neil, unless he was part of an orchestrated deception along with Neil.
4. In the Catholic Observer article (attached) Neil states: “It was disheartening to us, we would never do anything against the church.” And yet having Holy Mass in his private home on a Sunday is forbidden by the Church. He actually prevented people, friends and members of the Seeds of Hope from fulfilling their Sunday obligation as a Catholic. This was not a diocesan sponsored special event. This group just decided on their own to have their own Mass on Sunday’s. It was alleged that St. Francis gave a special message to Neil on Pentecost Sunday. St. Francis would have known that Neil was in direct violation of Church authority by having Sunday Mass in his home. Only a demon would enjoy this.
1. The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.
2. If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the liturgy of the word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families.
Donald H. Nohs
Open Letter to Bishop
Dear Most Reverend Henry J. Mansell,
to you some weeks back regarding Fr. John Szantyr. I was sexually abused by
Fr. John when I was about 12 years old. I am now 54. I recently drove to
I was not going to get graphic but I believe so all will know the diabolical lunacy in John and the need for his diabolical influence to be stopped, I decided to describe how I was sexually abused. As I write this and tell my story, there are tears in my eyes. I offer up these tears and humiliation for the other victims, for my brother to continue to be a good priest in my Diocese, for my Bishop for the Church and for those souls around Fr. John that they come to see Fr. John for what he really is and be free of his diabolical influence.
Fr. John would visit
my family. He would talk about how he was expecting the Blessed Mother to
appear to him, sometimes right there in my house. We felt so lucky to know this
visionary who was receiving messages from Mary. He also had a reputation of
being a healer. When this gifted &
charismatic priest would visit my home, neighbors, friends and relatives
would visit. Since he came from
In the middle of the night, I would half-wake and find Fr. John lying right along side of me on the mattress on the floor. I was lying flat on my back and he was lying right next to me. I would make believe that I was still asleep. I would feel his heavy breathing on my neck as he would kiss it and moan to himself. He would kiss my shoulder. His hand would work its way down into my pajama pants and he would fondle my genitals, all the while kissing my neck and moaning. I could not move, but my mind would race thinking about what was happening. He would lower himself, pull my pants down and start performing oral sex on me. At this point since his head wasn’t next to mine; I would make believe that I was just starting to wake up. This, thank God, would make him stop.
Fr. John has not stopped. Fr. John convinces those around him that he is receiving visions and locutions from Jesus and Mary. His teachings and messages are contrary to Church teachings. He is living and has prayer groups in the Archdiocese of Hartford. I know he is not in good standing in your Archdiocese. This is not why I write to you. I appeal to you to have Fr. John investigated. He is misguiding souls in your Archdiocese. You can have him investigated as any layperson who claims to be receiving messages from Heaven. Then render a judgment as to the authenticity of him, his visions, locutions and messages. If it is determined that these manifestations are not of divine origin, you can advise the Catholics in your Archdiocese not to be part of his group. I tend to look deep and am concerned for souls. Being physically sexually abused will not stop me from entering Heaven. But if I allow myself to be influenced and guided by Fr. John, then I place my soul at risk. I am concerned for the victims of sexual abuse by Fr. John and am also concerned for the spiritual abuse of many souls. This is why I beg you to have John investigated, for those under his influence.
Attached also, are
copies of another group that Fr. John was associated with. The
Apostolic Renewal Centre and its founder, Roy Legere.
Fr. John knew
He was able to convince the seminarians to sit in a circle and masturbate while contemplating God. He claimed that this was a new ecstatic spiritual experience. He is not just a pedophile. He is able to convince those around him to perform many diabolical deeds and destroy many lives.
I have a good friend who experienced this with Fr. John while in the seminary. This friend of mine did not go on to become a priest; left the seminary and to this day is still not the same person I knew when I was young. One seminarian now is in a rehab. One priest who traveled with Fr. John is now defrocked. One victim committed suicide. I could go on and on. This is not the work of God. I humbly beg you to have John and his group investigated. The members in his group try to be good Catholics, I am sure, but they are being deceived by John.
If any members of John’s group who read this email would like to speak to me or have questions, I offer myself to you. I have humiliated myself for your sake and for the sake of the victims of physical sexual abuse.
I would also like everyone who reads this to know that I forgave John. This was between God and me. Reconciliation I don’t believe is possible with John Szantyr. But I asked God to forgive John for what he did to me, not to let what he did to me stop his soul from entering heaven. I then prostrated myself on my basement floor and with my tongue, licked the concrete floor of my basement as an act of reparation for his sake. You can download and listen to my story by visiting my website here.
I will do everything I can to get Fr. John to stop his diabolical influence and I will do everything I can to evangelize my Catholic faith. It is only by the Grace of God that I was able to do what I did. The Devil tried to pull me from that which enabled me to forgive, the Eucharist (Jesus Himself). I do not fight John, I fight principalities.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Open Letter to Neil Harrington
I am writing on behalf of those of us who are profoundly concerned and saddened over your actions and statements as they pertain to your self-proclaimed heavenly mission. Unfortunately, you have calumniated and slandered those who genuinely seek truth in this matter, and as such, rather than bring my concerns to you in a more private way, I have chosen to address you publicly to avoid giving you yet another opportunity to distort the truth.
For many years I have hoped and prayed for the truth to be revealed as to the nature of your purported private revelations. As you well know, years ago, I asked my husband to leave your group, the Seeds of Hope, because of my grave concerns and the substantial evidence I uncovered that suggested your alleged visions and messages were not of God.
Consequently, I, and others, have seen firsthand how you react to anyone who questions your authenticity. You have not responded in a manner consistent with Church teaching. On the contrary, you have made it abundantly clear that there is no place in your mission for healthy skepticism or dissent of any kind. You have consistently responded to your critics in a manner that has been both prideful and emotionally charged. Obviously, this type of response only further weakens your cause and contributes to the skepticism of your critics
In all charity I want to encourage you to examine your conscience as well as the teachings of the Church with regard to all “private revelation”.
Colin Donovan, STL, Vice President for Theology at the Eternal Word Television Network, offers a doctrinally sound template on how one should respond to private revelation. For your information, I have provided the following link:
In the interest of clarity and brevity, however, I will refer to some of his more relevant points. Mr. Donovan writes,
“Private revelations may not be believed with divine and Catholic Faith. They rest on the credibility of the evidence in favor of a supernatural origin. In the case of private revelations approved by the highest authority of the Church we can say with Pope Benedict XIV,
“Although an assent of Catholic faith may not be given to revelations thus approved, still, an assent of human faith, made according to the rules of prudence, is due them; for according to these rules such revelations are probable and worthy of pious credence.
…it is possible to refuse to accept such revelations and to turn from them, as long as one does so with proper modesty, for good reasons, and without the intention of setting himself up as a superior.” [De Serv. Dei Beatif.]
Donovan further explains,
“The Pope is saying that a Catholic, seeing that the Church (and here the Holy See is meant, as only it's acts can be of universal effect) has investigated and approved certain revelations, is being prudent to give them human assent. That acceptance does not rest on the guarantee of Faith, or the charism of infallibility, but on the credibility of the evidence as it appeals to reason.”
EWTN’s doctrinally sound theologian, Colin Donovan offers sobering caveats for discerning your visionary claims. You would be both wise and prudent to take heed of them, as his admonition is illustrative of the red flags many have raised about you and your ministry. Donovan warns:
1. Private revelation, for example, which is doctrinally dangerous or which manifests hostility to lawful authority could not come from God. It could even be demonic…The devil gladly mingles truth and lie to deceive the faithful, dazzling them with signs and wonders to give credence to his message. His purpose is to separate them from the Church, either by getting them to believe things contrary to the deposit of the faith or to act contemptuously of Church authority.
2. An attitude of pride and judgment toward the Church is a clear sign of diabolical presence.
3. The witness of prudent priests, especially the spiritual director of the person, is a key element in determining credibility. The spiritual director himself must be competent in mystical theology, credible as a person and in good standing with the Church.
This list alone should be a sobering-reality-check for you, the Seeds of Hope, and all who ardently support and defend your claims!
The trademark virtues of any authentic visionary are humility and obedience. Humility and obedience should govern your response to those of us who love the Church enough to question the authenticity of your claims. Humility and obedience would lead you to validate, and even encourage, the grave doubts I, and others, continue to express. We are merely trying to follow the teachings of the Church and exercise prudence with regard to your claims. Why have you not responded to us with charity, patience, and truth? Why are you bearing false witness and threatening those who are simply following Church teaching in trying to discern the truth?
Your disobedience; dishonesty; and lack of charity towards those who seek the truth has caused great scandal and broken the hearts of many of us who love the Church and want to protect Her.
Your failure to honestly and thoroughly answer the many questions posed by various media sources leaves us to wonder what you are hiding. If you truly seek to do God’s will, then please tell the truth!
As one who was once an inner member of your circle, I can attest to the fact that you had knowledge of a partial vocational stricture imposed on Father John Szantyr by the Bishop of Worcester, MA, Timothy Harrington in 1988. And, although you may not have been fully aware of the severity of the restriction, you have certainly been aware of it since last January 25, 2007 when one of your former members provided you with this vital information. Proof of this has been documented and substantiated. So you can imagine my shock and dismay when I read your response to questions posed by Springfield’s Diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Observer, on November 1, 2007 in which you were quoted as saying “there is no way we at the Seeds of Hope understood this Father John had his faculties taken away”. Your duplicity in this regard is confusing and damaging.
in 2002 you claimed to receive a private revelation dubbing Fr. John Szantyr the “heart” of your ministry. This alleged proclamation from Heaven stands in direct opposition to the determination, and subsequent restrictions, placed on John Szantyr by Bishop Timothy Harrington more than ten years ago. There are other alleged messages that also stand in complete opposition to that 1988 determination by Bishop Harrington , specifically those in which you claim that St. Francis called Szantyr "falsely accused" and one “who bears the scars of unjust persecution". The Diocese of Worcester made its determination on Szantyr in 1988, taking swift and decisive action against him. The Diocese of Worcester ruled that Szantyr was to no longer present himself as a priest in public and, according to the spokesman for the Diocese of Worcester, that ruling has never been lifted.
As we recall the major role Father John Szantyr played in our lives beginning in 1994, it is clear now that the “heart” of your ministry has been revealed to be the biggest hurt to your ministry. Szantyr always dressed as a priest, he prayed with us, he prayed over us, and he prayed over our children. He directed us, he frequently heard our confessions, absolved us, and counseled us. He even celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for us on a number of occasions. Even if the allegations of sexual abuse against Szantyr are “false” and the related persecution “unjust”, there is no doubt that we were all duped by Fr. John Szantyr and scandalized by his disobedience to his Bishop, as he falsely presented himself to us as a priest.
Neil, we were not the only ones deceived by Fr. John Szantyr, as evidenced in the November 1, 2007 Catholic Observer news article:
“Msgr. Sullivan, who coordinates clergy misconduct issues for the Worcester Diocese, told the Observer that Father Szantyr has been a longtime problem for him. Msgr. Sullivan said,
“I remember getting phone calls from people in dioceses in the South where (approved Worcester-based healing minister) Eileen George was appearing. They asked if this priest who wanted to say Mass while she was in town was okay. I’ve always said, ‘Absolutely not.’”
“I don’t know how many more times we can tell this guy what he can’t do. This will have been going on for 20 years in January,” Msgr. Sullivan said.
John Szantyr’s, flagrant disobedience is irrefutable and immediately calls into question the veracity of any, and all, of your visionary claims. Although you may sincerely believe that you are receiving Heavenly messages, this simple fact assures us all that you are sincerely wrong.
Our Faith teaches us the importance of obedience, and
it is a litmus test for the legitimacy of any alleged visionary. This simple fact assures us that neither the
Virgin Mary nor
We are waiting for the Church to make a formal declaration as to the authenticity of your messages. Until then, we will do all we can to bring Truth to Her. Rest assured, we who love the Church will not stand silent! We will use every opportunity –through prayer, word, and deed – to bring honest resolution to this matter. Our greatest hope and prayer is that you, and your supporters, will unite with us in swiftly and obediently submitting yourselves to the authority of our shepherd, Bishop Timothy McDonnell,
Your Sister In Christ,
Ex-long time member of Seeds of Hope