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.