Moore: Father Joseph Moore

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Moore Father Joseph Moore  Servants of Christ the King Steubenville Ohio 87  Community Directory

Picture from 1987 Servants of Christ the King Community Directory

Joseph P Moore

Father Joe Moore

American priest, Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Ordained 1971.   In 1997 was removed from diocese without explanation – it was later learned that he had been removed after credible allegations of sex abuse of young boys dating to the 70s.

Father Moore spent approximately one year (late 1988 to sometime in 1989) as a sort of priest/chaplain for young men considering a vocation while living in residence at 169 Sunnyside St., Ottawa.  The residence was operated by  the then fledgling Companions of the Cross, a charismatic order of priests founded by Ottawa priest, Father Bob Bedard.

There were 15-17 young men at Sunnyside, some fresh out of high school – all pursuing the philosophy requisites to enter the seminary, and all considering a vocation with the Companions.

Before Father Moore’s arrival Father  Bill Allan would regularly say Mass for the pre-seminarians.  According to one source Father Allan was “a nice friendly old man” always ready to hear confessions.  I am told that once Moore arrived the students would dearly  have loved to have had Allan back. Allan is currently facing charges related to allegations of sex abuse of young boys.

The pre-seminarians were told that Father Moore was an alcoholic who had stopped drinking.  They were also told that Moore had come highly recommended by the Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio.

Moore was very charismatic, as in he was very involved in the charismatic renewal.  I am told that during Mass, before the elevation of the Host and Chalice, Moore would start shaking all over.  I am also told that his charismatic Masses split the community – it was all just too much for some.

Some recall a night of lamentations which Moore conducted at Sunnyside with a group of the more charismatic pre–seminarians. On this night he and the lads got up in the middle of the night to do their lamentations – and proceeded to wake up most in the household with their crying and wailing.

At some point a meeting was held at which each student was allowed to freely express his thoughts and concerns about Father Moore.  There were many.  About two days later Moore was gone.

It seems that Moore moved on to head up a group of priests called the Society of St. John Marie Vianney.  The society was based in Coventry, Rhode Island.  When he started this group is unknown, but the American 1993 Official Catholic Directory shows Moore as “On duty outside of Diocese” for the Diocese of Bridgeport, and also with the Society of St. John Marie Vianney.  The society was based in Coventry, Rhode Island.


The following limited information is drawn from the 1993 Official Catholic Directory (OCD), media (M), online sources and personal contacts (P)


2003:  Moore case Diocese settled a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of a boy by Rev. Joseph P. Moore, October 2003.

1997:  removed from ministry due to sex abuse allegations dating to the 70s (M)

1995: head of Society of St. John Marie Vianney, Coventry, Rhode Island (M)

1993:  Society of St. John Marie Vianney, Coventry, Rhode Island (OCD)

Late 1988-89:  chaplain at Companions of the Cross pre-seminarian residence at Sunnyside St. Ottawa. (P)

Father Joseph P. Moore

1984-1996: On duty outside of Diocese

Fall 1986 to Spring ’88:  Dorm Director, St. Francis Dorm, Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio and active with the Charismatic Renewal  (P)

1982-1983: St. Mary’s Church, Bethel, CT

1976-1981: St. Joseph’s Church, Danbury, CT

1974-1975: Assumption Church, Westport, CT

1972-1973: St. Teresa’s Church, Trumbull, CT


Joseph P. Moore

December 02, 2009|By The Hartford Courant

The Rev. Joseph P. Moore was one of the priests who disappeared from his parish in 1997 without explanation. The diocese later admitted Moore had been removed for sexual misconduct — behavior that dated to the 1970s.

At that time, Moore trained altar boys at the Church of the Assumption in Westport. According to an affidavit released Tuesday, one of the boys said he and another youth were sexually assaulted by Moore during a trip to Block Island, R.I., in the summer of either 1978 or 1979.

Moore insisted that the boys sleep in separate bedrooms, according to the affidavit. One of the boys said Moore “returned repeatedly” to his room, telling him to take off his clothes. The other boy said he was assaulted as well.


In an affidavit, an altar boy reported that Rev. Joseph P. Moore, formerly of the Church of the Assumption, made sexual advances to him and assaulted another boy during a trip to Block Island in 1973. The man said he reported it to Msgr. Andrew Cusack, who said Moore had been evaluated and was not a homosexual, according to church documents.


Hartford Courant Timeline

April 21, 2002. Bishop William E. Lori announces the departures of four of the seven “John Doe” priests. During a press conference he announces the suspension of Rev. Stanley N. Koziol of St. Mark Parish in Stratford and the resignation of Monsignor Gregory M. Smith, director of the Institute for Religious Education and Pastoral Studies at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. He also reveals that two other priests who had left their parishes without explanation in 1997 had at the time been removed for sexual misconduct on orders from then-Bishop Edward M. Egan. Those priests were Rev. Joseph Moore and Monsignor Charles W. Stubbs. The “John Doe” priests were individuals referred to, but never publicly identified during years of litigation against the diocese by victims of other priests.


Priests cited in sexual-abuse claims

01 December 1999 Hartford


Joseph P. Moore

Accused of molesting a boy at St. Mary Parish in Bethel in the early 1980s.


Joseph P. Moore

The Rev. Joseph P. Moore was one of the priests who disappeared from his parish in 1997 without explanation. The diocese later admitted Moore had been removed for sexual misconduct — behavior that dated to the 1970s.

At that time, Moore trained altar boys at the Church of the Assumption in Westport. According to an affidavit released Tuesday, one of the boys said he and another youth were sexually assaulted by Moore during a trip to Block Island, R.I., in the summer of either 1978 or 1979.

Moore insisted that the boys sleep in separate bedrooms, according to the affidavit. One of the boys said Moore “returned repeatedly” to his room, telling him to take off his clothes. The other boy said he was assaulted as well.

The boys said they “jumped out of a bedroom window to escape Father Moore’s sexual advances” and fled to a neighboring home, where they found shelter for the night and called their parents.

The fathers of the two boys later met with and complained to Monsignor Andrew Cusack. Cusack said Moore “had been evaluated” and it was determined he was “not a homosexual,” according to an affidavit prepared later by one of the boys.

The boys did not receive counseling from the diocese, the affidavit states.


A diocesan priests’ society that’s growing.

National Catholic Reporter


The Companions of the Cross is a new community in the church, made up of priests and candidates for the priesthood. Their spirituality is eucharistic, including prayer before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. They view themselves as charismatic, defined by them as the “use of all ministry gifts.” They have a strong devotion to Mary and their theology is tethered close to the magisterium that is, “loyal to the official teaching office of the church.”

They wear no habit, just a pendant with the figure of a generic person embracing the cross. There are no initials after their names. Someday, they may add CC but they’re in no hurry. The Companions don’t even advertise.

It sounds like a prescription for a pre-Vatican II religious congregation. But observers view the Companions as liturgically progressive and theologically moderate, at least when compared with other more established groups such as the Legionnaires of Christ and Opus Dei .

What is significant is that, while both religious theologates and diocesan seminaries are running at 25 percent occupancy rates, the Companions of the Cross are growing as rapidly as some of the colorful missionary societies that once pictured priests on motorcycles and wearing pith helmets.

The Companions of the Cross is one of a number of societies of apostolic life springing, up over the continent. In New York’s Bronx, there are the Franciscans of the Renewal; Minneapolis has the Companions of Christ, which has just ordained two men. In Providence, R.I., the Society of St. John Vianney under Fr. Joseph Moore has seven or eight priests, and in San Antonio, Texas “Fr. George Montague, SM, has founded the Community of the Beloved Disciple. Cincinnati has the Fathers of Pentecost, Scranton, Pa., has the Society of St. Peter, and there are other embryonic communities in Dallas and Steubenville, Ohio  . Africa is sending members of its Opus  Spiritus Sancti to archdioceses such as Portland, Ore. The group from Tanzania gets 200 applications each year but could only accept 10 because of financial restraints. Portland itself had only five candidates for major seminary study.

In Newark, N.J., the Jesu Caritas, a neo-catechumenate, is another expression of this growth. It provides spiritual training and discipline for future priests, particularly candidates from other countries. It’s working for Newark. This year, they ordained 18, 10 of them natives of other countries.

Difficult to track

Just as with religious congregations of old, there is no unified structure binding these groups. They are difficult to track because they lack a certain official status and their numbers don’t appear in the Annuario Pontificio  the statistical yearbook of the Holy See.

Some societies adhere to adhere to the traditional vow structure of religious life, but most of the groups founded within the past decade, could be classed as Societies of Apostolic Life, conceptually akin to the Maryknoll Mission Society, and guided by Canons 312 to 320. Canon law calls such groups “Public Associations of the Christian Faithful.” Generally, while the Vatican reserves final decisions in such matters, especially if the society in question wishes to expand beyond diocesan borders, the ultimate authority is left in the hands of the local bishop. The overseeing is almost casual, partly because such groups appear to have a single purpose and life of their own. Further, they have relatively short lifespans. Unless they serve a specific they tend to function largely as booster shots to existing structures.

The church in Ottawa, Canada’s capitol, isn’t in bad shape. The fourth-largest of Ontario’s 16 dioceses, it has 364 priests, 146 of them diocesan, to staff 112 parishes and minister to 364,000 Catholics. Not exactly drenched with clergy but much better, say, than Phoenix, Ariz., with only 265 priests to serve its 355,000 Catholics in 85 parishes or nearby Tucson, with only 181 priests ministering to 353,000 Catholics in 64 parishes. Even allowing for the fact that Ottawa is bilingual and that many of the religious priests are involved in seminary and higher education, Ottawa can still shake the clerical vine and find enough priests to say Mass for its people.

Now it has been enriched by the Companions of the Cross, founded in 1985 and canonically recognized in 1988. In a single decade, the Companions have ordained 16 and presently have 26 candidates for the diocesan priesthood. There is an associated sisterhood and a lay associates group that numbers 150 and serves in part as an incubator, at least for its male associates.

Such numbers aren’t overwhelming until one compares them to Philadelphia (1.4 million Catholics), which ordained only five in 1995. (Only one was the usual age — 26 — and he is a native of Poland. The remaining four range from 32 to 56, ages that would often spell rejection years ago when the vineyard sagged with vocations.) New York’s Rockville Centre with 1.3 million Catholics, has no one scheduled for ordination in 1996.

Two years ago, Chicago, with 2.3 million Catholics, ordained only five, the smallest class in the history of the archdiocese. In St. Louis, Kendrick School of Theology enrolled only 12 students in its first theology class. With normal attrition, it is likely to ordain  only half that number in four years. And, in just a few years, retirements and deaths from the massive classes of the 1940s and ’60s will cause another huge sinkhole in the clerical ranks. Thus, news of a society of diocesan priests that is growing almost exponentially is worth a look.

Fr. Bob Bedard, founder of the Companions, was ordained for Ottawa in 1955. After three years as a curate he taught high school for two decades and then spent seven years in full-time involvement with a charismatic group. In 1984, he was named pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in the center of Ottawa.

The Companions trace their roots to a small sharing group of five — a priest, two seminarians and two others who were preparing to enter the seminary. “It was only a mutual support group,” Bedard said. “Nothing further was foreseen.”

Bedard has the vocabulary of a charismatic and, in a low-key way, the vision of a founder. “I met with those young men at their request,” he recalled, “but as the meetings progressed, we began to develop a sense that the Lord had additional plans.”

Uncertain at the start

“One man said that these relationships were meant to endure,” he continued. “I wasn’t certain how it would work and I had no notion that it would include me.”

Societies such as the Companions. appear to be formed out of feelings ranging from vague to strong dissatisfaction with some aspect of Peter’s barque.. . In this case, the young seminarians seemed upset over the status of the theology being taught in the seminary. “They felt that they were getting theologians rather than theology,” Bedard said. “One lad had been kicked out for asking too many questions.”

By May of 1985, one member stated that he believed that the candidates. for diocesan priesthood should live together in community. Bedard felt that there were already too many communities in the church but acceded to their wishes. He approached Archbishop Joseph Aurele Plourde. The bishop was very supportive as is his successor, Archbishop Marcel Gervais.

The Companions have no vow structure, just a contractual agreement with the archdiocese and the society. The emphasis is on simplicity of lifestyle. They live on an allowance and have access to a common fund. They have their own house of formation but still send their pre-theology students to St. Paul’s and the Dominican College. Theology studies are now completed in the Toronto seminary.

Members live in three communities. Groups contain no fewer than five members. Forty-five minutes of daily community prayer are an integral part of the discipline.

In varying degrees, the Companions share common trace marks with the other societies. There is a strong charismatic component and, for the Companions, at least, an emphasis on progressive liturgies. (Sunday Masses at St. Mary’s can last 90 minutes.)

Internal discipline can vary within these groups. Some, such as the Legionnaires of Christ of Cheshire, Conn., resemble military groups. The legionnaires were founded in Mexico in 1941 by Fr. Marcial Maciel. They now have 350 priests and 2,000 seminarians in 16 countries. Unlike the societies, they have a vow structure. In September, they admitted 45 candidates to their U.S. seminary. Worldwide, in recent years, they have ordained upward of 60 each year.

The societies are characterized by a charismatic founder and a devotion to the Blessed Mother that occasionally appears to attempt to restore her role as co-redemptrix. Against the big-screen public relations of Mother Teresa and Msgr. Jose Maria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, the Bob Bedards of such societies are minor players, but founders play a key role in holding the organizations together. Bedard apparently guards against taking himself — or being taken — too seriously. “We place great emphasis on being able to laugh at ourselves,” he said.

According to Joseph O’Hara, former research associate at Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate in Washington, societies for apostolic life sometimes fade following the death of the founder. Like some more formal religious congregations, they become more static than dynamic, appealing only to compulsive people in need of a spiritual regimen that resembles a diabetic’s diet. In time, they generally self-destruct under the weight of their own traditions, not unlike New England Shakers.

The theology tends to be conservative, sometimes rigid. It is combined with a fierce loyalty to the pope. Members often view the church and the world through a papal prism. The result is often a more conservative perspective than the pope’s own.

The Companions love the pope but prefer to think of themselves as Catholic rather than conservative. They believe that they can break open the spirit already at work in parishes. “You might compare us to the Oratory of Cardinal Newman,” Bedard said. “We aren’t certain just what our work will be. For now, we want to make ourselves available to priests and seminarians in any way we can, providing whatever ministries of hospitality and healing that seem indicated and possible.”

Societies such as the Companions are not new to the church. Cardinal John Henry Newman brought the Oratory to England in 1848. The Oratory of St. Philip Neri grew out of a community of diocesan priests that gathered around Neri in 1564. The first Oratorians placed great emphasis on liturgy, attractive services and good music. (Giovanni Palestrina, who composed a great number of Masses, motets and madrigals, was one of Philip’s penitents.)

The Oratorians tended to be scholarly, a direction that seems favored by a majority of the Companions. “A lot of your men are very clever,” Archbishop Gervais told Fr. Bedard. “This has to mean something.” It’s likely that the Companions of the Cross will find their niche in education.

Drawn to a challenge

Fr. G. Nick Rice, president of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils, a group that represents some 60 percent of American diocesan clergy, has reservations about all such groups. “I’m not sure that groups like this make for good pastoral practice,” he said. “We must realize that we cannot minister alone. We need support groups. But I’m concerned about the emphasis on control and discipline.”

Sr. Eleace King, another former associate at Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, acknowledges the rapid growth of such groups. She points to the considerable research at the University of Indiana, Purdue University and Chicago’s DePaul University that suggests groups with a clear identity are attractive to a significant number of would-be priests and religious. The Purdue research linked such groups to Protestant fundamentalism. The study done through DePaul by Fr. David Nygren, CM, and Sr. Marian Ukeritis, CSJ, confirmed the fact that some candidates are attracted by a clear vision and a challenge.

“They know when they join that the life is going to be difficult,” she said. “They know, too, that it’s as much a way of life as a ministry. It’s a way of life that is clearly connected to a spiritual tradition. When that’s alive, these groups are going to attract attention.

“If you don’t live together and if you don’t have a way of life, then how is your life different?” she asked rhetorically. “In groups of any kind where there is a high cost and a high reward, then the numbers will increase. The more you look mainstream, the fewer will come.”

Sr. Eleace cites congregations, societies and dioceses that offer a certain challenge or that are focused on a single apostolate — care of AIDS victims, immigrants, abused women, and so on. She also points to groups such as the Companions who are attracting youth because they’ve got some already. “Vocations will go where the youth is,” she said. “They won’t go to their grandparents.”

The challenge appears to work even when formal groups are not present. Bridgeport, Conn., Arlington, Va., and Peoria, Ill., have significant numbers in the seminary. All three dioceses are known conservative strongholds with persuasive vocation programs. Further, it appears that there are a number of bright, devout and dedicated men who find such a lifestyle attractive.

Not everyone agrees. Dean Hoge, professor of sociology at The Catholic University of America, acknowledges the numbers these groups are attracting but points to his own research that suggests that, if celibacy were made optional, the number of seminary candidates would quadruple. Indeed, Hoge’s study indicates that by the turn of the century, there would be a surplus of priests. One could conclude that there are many potential priests in the population, but they are not ready to lead celibate lives.

Sr. Eleace doesn’t agree. “We lived with the celibacy requirement for centuries,” she said. “I see celibacy as more. of a symptom than a cause.”

“Some of the Ottawa priests are still skeptical,” Bedard said, “but we think this is changing. And we’ve begun to hear from candidates in other parts of Canada and the U.S.”

A number of U.S. bishops share a certain skepticism about these societies, especially those that have sprung up under the reign of John Paul II . . In a “pastoral reflection” signed by nine bishops and endorsed by some three dozen others, they urged Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s Ad Hoc Committee  on Mission and Structure of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to consider a medley of issues, including the quality and quantity of priest recruitment. There is some evidence that candidates rejected by one diocese are readily accepted in another diocese with a different philosophy and a desire to increase its numbers.

There is a feeling that John Paul II’s discipline will not survive much beyond his pontificate and that the church will be left with pockets of misfits among its officer corps. Further, while these groups profess loyalty to papal teaching, according to one critic, “few are noted for their love for the church of the poor.” However, while there is clear evidence that some seminary candidates are  inadequate, the majority appear to be as reasonably balanced as any cross section of church people, including the bishops themselves.

“We’re not in love with the ’50s,’ Fr. Bedard said. “We’re not trying to turn the clock back. We simply place emphasis on community because we don’t want priests living alone, isolated, unchallenged and not enthused.

“Most of the gifts for sensitive ministry belong to laypeople” he added. “We are calling laypeople to service. We simply want to be available.”

Meanwhile, a recent meeting drew 42 young men. “It’s entirely possible that we can get it wrong,” Bedard said. “But we believe we have the wisdom of God directing us to embrace a number of clear priorities.”

Tim Unsworth is a freelance writer from Chicago. He has appeared in since 1982. His most recent book is Catholics on the Edge (Crossroad, New York

4 Responses to Moore: Father Joseph Moore

  1. Joseph Sakimela says:

    I want to chat with Rev.Joseph Moore something want to discuss with him immediatelly….

    • Anonymous says:

      Joseph Moore lives in Rutland Vermont. He’s in the book. He owns a house there and I believe currently works as a tax preparer for HR Block. As he is no longer a priest and based on his actions never truly was a priest I refuse to call him Rev. or Father or give any sign of respect.

  2. Chris Brown says:

    This was such a great loss to me, finding out Fr. Joe, as we called him, had fallen into acts of sex with minors, and boys. He was really so much fun to be around, said a great mass, and was always down to earth and a blessing. It was really hard finding out that he had fallen, was in disgrace and defrocked, I would guess. I was in the People of Hope charismatic community with him, was at Franciscan U. In the same dorm when he was dorm director, and did outreach work with him. I, for one, forgive him; I don’t want to see his soul lost. Lord have mercy on us all.

  3. Sylvia says:

    I have just posted a picture of Father Joe Moore, plus information that from the Fall of 1986 to Spring ’88 he was Dorm Director at St. Francis Dorm, Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio and active with the Charismatic Renewal. It was after this stint as Dorm Director that, in late 1988 he surfaced In Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) as chaplain at Companions of the Cross pre-seminarian residence at Sunnyside St. Ottawa. He wasn’t there for long. Father Moore was back in the States sometime in 1989.

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