Wahlberg’s “Parish Priest” Father Flavin is a Lie
By Kathy Kane
“Father Stu,” a soon to be released movie produced by and starring Mark Wahlberg, is a true story based on the rough and tumble life of Father Stuart Long who led a less than moral life prior to his vocation. The film chronicles his inspiring transformative journey despite difficult challenges. It is a story of faith and redemption, yet Wahlberg chose “Father”Jim Flavin to consult on this movie. In several interviews, Wahlberg says Father Stu’s most endearing trait was brutal honesty. Father Stu was a priest who lived his truth, yet Wahlberg chose “Father” Jim Flavin as the movie consultant. There are 37,000 Catholic priests in the U.S., yet Mark Wahlberg chose “Father” Jim Flavin.
Why is this an odd choice? “Father” Flavin has gone AWOL from the Boston Archdiocese. He left ministry, yet Wahlberg shared photos of Flavin wearing his collar and vestments during a recent interview with Raymond Arroyo on “The World Over.” The on-screen caption read, “priest of the Archdiocese of Boston.” The truth must not be good for Catholic ticket sales. C4C doesn’t want to mislead readers. That’s why Father is in quotes when referring to Flavin.
The “Father” Flavin fairytale has seeds of truth. Once upon a time, Wahlberg was a troubled inner city kid who found guidance and support in Flavin, a friendly parish priest. Their friendship continued through Wahlberg’s early rise to stardom and into his adult life. Reportedly, Flavin even steered him away from questionable movie roles.
The Flavin Fairytale
As in many fairytales, Little Red Riding Hood for example, people aren’t always who they seem. In 2019, Flavin left a brief note for his parishioners. He was taking a sabbatical to refresh and asked for their prayers. Flavin did not share specific plans in his note as most priests do when taking time away from a diocesan assignment. A few weeks later in July, Flavin secured a lay staff position in the president’s office of Loyola University in Chicago. In May 2020, he bought a $950,000 home in Illinois. Since when do priests work full-time lay positions and take up permanent residence outside their diocese, while parishioners are left praying for them?
Almost a year later, in June 2020, the Archdiocese of Boston changed Flavin’s status from sabbatical to leave-of-absence with permission. In June 2021, they updated his status to leave-of-absence without permission. During this period, Flavin launched a side hustle. Dioceses and clerical orders can hire him to help priests transition into secular life at rate of $15,000 per client. In a call last week, I confirmed Flavin’s current status with the Archdiocese of Boston. He simply walked away from his life as a priest.
That isn’t the biggest problem with Flavin. In 2011, while a priest with Boston Diocese he took a position within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as president of the St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown, Pa. SJVC has been listed in every Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report investigating clergy sex abuse. It is a 50-bed facility that treats the behavioral health issues of clergy. In the bizarre world of the Catholic Church, a priest suffering from depression could end up at the same facility as a predator priest who has sexually violated children. It is one of the last remaining clergy treatment centers in the U.S. Flavin left his position at SJVC in 2015 and returned to Boston. Until recently he was listed as President Emeritus of SJVC. His name now quietly removed
Although once beloved in Boston, Flavin did not build a fan base during his time in Philadelphia. When I learned from a local non-fan that he had left ministry, I emailed Flavin. He didn’t reply. Here’s my second try.
Content warning: The following paragraphs contain descriptions of sexual violations of children
A Letter & The Leakers
I’ll try again and this time with more info. I know your job as President of SJVC was to neutralize me as a mother expressing concerns about the safety of Catholic high school students across the street, including my own kids in 2012/13. I saw through you right away and compared you to a used car salesman when talking with the other concerned moms. I realize now how insulting that is to used car salespeople.
Mr. Rogers says to look for the helpers in a crisis. During the clergy sex abuse crisis, C4C has learned to “look to the leakers.” They are our helpers. “Leakers” are insiders whose moral compass points toward truth and it guides them to do the right thing. Sometimes, a leaker was in the same meeting room with you at SJVC.
The lackeys you sent to meet with me tried to sell SJVC as more of a fat farm or health retreat for clergy instead of a place that “treats” some truly dangerous people. I didn’t believe them, but at the time I didn’t have all the information from the recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury Reports , news reports, and a conscientious leaker. I now know that around the same time frame when I was advocating for child protection after finding one of your patients in the school parking lot, there were some really disgusting predatory men who you accepted into the facility. At the time of my efforts for child protection, you and your staff claimed that there were no patients who posed a danger to a children.
One example is Fr Dennis Carey from Connecticut, who was arrested and arraigned in 2012 after being found to possess 338 images of sexual violations of children, including men having oral and vaginal sex with little girls as young as 4 years old. Little girls. You accepted him into SJVC although there was no rehabilitation for him. It was simply revenue for SJVC. More than shameful, it was dangerous, as it is questionable as to if SJVC allowed off campus, unsupervised privileges to the predator priests who got off on viewing the sexual violation of the bodies and souls of innocent little children. I heard that the narcissist predator, Fr Carey, even complained about the “accommodations” at SJVC. He was coddled at SJVC, just like the other child predators who have roamed the halls of the facility.
Then there was Father George Koharchik, your resident in 2012. In the 2016 PA Grand Jury Report, the FBI described him as a preferential child offender who was able to use the trust and authority of the priesthood to secretly engage in molestation, digital penetration and anal sex with children.” That sounds like a really safe guy to house across the street from 1,000 Catholic school students. One of the little boys that Koharchick assaulted is now a grown man and an acquaintance of mine. Shaun Dougherty devotes his life to protecting children from clergy sex abuse. Every day, all day. A survivor fights to protect children from the abuse he suffered as a child. It almost sounds like a movie. Do you know anyone in the industry?
The supervision you claimed was in place wasn’t always the case. Dangerous men being shipped in from other states with a Barney Fife type staff and a mentality of enabling child predators to the degree that a child molesting priest from New York acted almost as chaplain of the facility for a time. You literally can’t make this stuff up. His home diocese claimed that he was far away from any children, but he was actually holed up across the street from my kids and 1,000 other students. He frequented the walking path overlooking the school. I believe he had been kicked out of another facility before SJVC took him in.
Chief McGowan told me that SJVC initially refused to identify the patient I found in the school parking lot. He alleges you hid behind HIPAA until he threatened to get a search warrant for the facility. Despite your promises to me that any patient who broke the rules and came on to school property would be removed, you did not remove the patient I encountered in the school parking lot.,
But none of that is surprising now. It seems that rules, promises and truth are challenging for you. Back then, “leakers” shared you were a Father Phony, a man who didn’t practice privately what he preached publicly. But I was just a Catholic mom battling with Marky Mark’s personal priest for the protection of her children while also knowing rumors surrounding your private life. What a crazy scenario…almost sounds like a movie. Do you know anyone in the industry?
Survivor On A Mission
I was happy to hear you left ministry. Finally. Better to take off the collar and live honestly. Good choice and good riddance. But then I found out about your side hustle, trying to have dioceses and religious orders pay you to “life coach” their clergy into secular life. You always surface where there is money to made involving priests. Whether it was at SJVC when dioceses were paying for services “to get 20 to 30 more years of ministry out of a priest.” ( your words in the now missing SJVC video interview) Now a complete role reversal, and it finds you looking for the payday from priests who are leaving ministry. Flavin let’s be clear, if a diocese pays you for your “life coaching” of a priest leaving ministry, that is parishioners contributions being used. I already have a mortgage to pay. I’m not paying yours.
Then you resurfaced again, in the movie publicity, depicted as a priest in good standing. You just had to be the consultant on the movie. You could have said no. You could have contacted Raymond Arroyo and explained that the video with the interview was misleading. Or issued a clarification. Do Wahlberg and Sony think Catholics are easily duped?
It upset me, but it really upset a Philly clergy abuse survivor. Rose could not believe the spin being spun. Rose vetted you in a way that Wahlberg’s PR team, Sony pictures, and Raymond Arroyo’s team will have wished they had. I have reviewed the information she has compiled. Rose was thorough and she didn’t rely on Google. C4C focuses on clergy child sex abuse so the details are not relevant here. But I definitely think she could write a kick ass screen play with all of her research. Do you know anyone in the industry?
Rose is a survivor, still in the Church, and sick of all the lies. She is viewing and compiling every single Wahlberg interview to make sure that he does not mislead the public into thinking that you are a priest in active ministry and good standing. Past tense references aside, you’re an AWOL priest from the Boston Archdiocese living la vida loca in Chicago. Be you; do you. Try being brutally honest, like the real life Fr Stu.
Wait For The Ending Credits
If the movie does well and makes it to awards season, I wouldn’t put it past you to slap on a collar and play the role of good old “Father” Flavin on the red carpet. I wouldn’t put anything past you, but Rose is watching. She’s at command center on her laptop, a Catholic clergy abuse survivor who will not let you or Wahlberg mislead the public. It almost sounds like a movie. Do you know anyone in the industry?
Peace out, Flavor Flav. That was my nickname for you all these years. I never wanted to be disrespectful of your priesthood and refer to you that way in print, but you have done a hell of a job of disrespecting your own priesthood. A nickname is the least of your worries.
8 thoughts on ““Father Stu” Movie Publicity Misses the Marky Mark”
Are people upset the Archdiocese of Boston can’t make this man do what he promised?
I find it poetic.
I also think they aren’t making a big stink about it because Jim Flavin likely knows where all the bodies are buried.
Holding priests accountable isn’t the church’s strong suit.
How’s this article, correct? The priest in the movie reportedly died in 2014…
You are correct, Fr Stu did pass away. “Father” Flavin is alive and well. He
played a bishop in the movie which is pathetic and comical at the same time
This is a never ending nightmare. I am not sure that I have grasped all that is being said here, but I do remember Kathy Kane calling out the AD of Philadelphia years back because the treatment center was so close to high school children.
Carole, I’ll give you the cliff notes to the post. Flavin has been absent from ministry for almost three years. He is Walhberg’s consultant on a new movie, and in this interview if you watch around the 9:30 mark you can see that Flavin magically seems to be a priest in good standing again.ttps://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&ei=UTF-8&p=raymond+arroyo+mark+wahlberg&type=E211US105G0#id=2&vid=44ac0b068fa465410ec34d1ee2815143&action=click
Flavin was in charge at SJVC when I encountered the patient in the school parking lot so I had dealing with him and his cronies. I left the situation thinking how could so many stupid people be employed at one facility, but in hindsight they tried to play me, not expecting that info about the facility would surface in GJ reports, news articles and our friendly leaker.
To me Flavin is nothing but a grifter type…whether it is as Wahlberg’s celebrity personal priest, front row at a papal audience, starting his new side hustle, “consultant” to the movie. The fact that they were trying to play off that he was a priest in good standing when he has been basically AWOL is fascinating given that the internet exists. The only thing that Flavin and I could possibly ever agree on was that he needed to leave ministry. But just leave…. don’t try to make a profit off of other priests and don’t show up as a priest in good standing in videos on a press junket. Grifter might not be the correct term because that might infer crime which is not at all what I am stating. He’s just that guy who will land on his feet and probably be center of attention with his affable personality that can be misleading. To have viewed him ‘selling” the SJVC services in the video that is no longer available online was like a bad SNL skit, but none of it is funny because he whitewashed the program to the public and also treated priests as a car saying if we invest in them we can get 20-30 more years of ministry out of them. He reminds me of a guy who has a kiosk set up at the mall and draws people in, and then you realize you purchased a piece of crap product when you get home.
The survivor, Rose, who is mentioned in the post has been part of our C4C community for years and was aware of our efforts for child protection involving Flavin/SJVC. She came across Wahlberg’s recent interview with the video of Flavin being portrayed as the good old parish priest back in Boston and Rose got to work and took a deeper dive into Flavin than we ever have…. and she is simply not going to stand for this ridiculous spin of the good old Father Flavin as the movie consultant. We may be her voice in this, but her time and research is invaluable, and we will help her put an end to the Flavin fairytale being spun in interviews about the movie.
While child protection is our focus, it is important for laity to realize how their money is being spent. Flavin used to refer to the services at SJVC as ‘private pay” The facility did not accept a priest’s insurance even though it was a licensed hospital. Private pay means parishioner pay. So SJVC is making money from parishioner donations to their Church/diocese…even though our contributions are also paying for a priest’s health insurance which SJVC did not accept for inpatient treatment. Now Flavin has a new gig “life coaching” priests who are leaving ministry. If a diocese pays him the high fee for services, that is “our’ money being used. It’s all our money but is referred to as dioceses paying…where do diocese get their money…from the laity.
Thank You for both your never ending defense of survivors and your continued efforts to draw out the truth and bring it to view. Where is Dan Brown nowadays?
This is an amazing article! So well said and powerful with information most would not know. I had liked the movie for the celebration of Fr. Stu’s life and conversion but found using God’s name in vain to be offensive. It’s a sin. You can depict a previous rough life without sinning. But now that I know of Flavin, it’s a big black mark that he was involved. I will share this article with others in the Catholic media. Thank you for fighting such an important battle and holding people–especially in the Church–accountable.
Thank you, Patti.