Saturday, September 27, 2008

Christopher Floss is being sued

Dated photo: Fr FlossFrom Ms. FIT:

Early this morning, while Tom was preparing for work and listening to the WBBM News reports, he overheard the story that Chris Floss, former priest of Visitation Parish in Elmhurst, IL, is being sued for the break-up of Stephen Crane's marriage.

Links to the story (periodically updated) follow in addition to a link to all of FIT's posts on Chris Floss:

Man sues priest, claiming affair with wife, from Daily Herald

Suit: Priest Counsels Couple, Then Moves In With Wife, from WBBM

FIT's posts on Chris Floss

27 comments :

Anonymous said...

This priest is an absolute disgrace. I hope he is excommunicated. I hope Mr. Crane is awarded big money - Mrs. Crane and this monster should be publicly humiliated.

Anonymous said...

Non-story and non-sense comment. Once the Bishops allowed lawsuits against the Church there will be no end to them.

Anonymous said...

First of all this is not a non story, this priest is a disgrace and a predator. Second of all, we don't live in a theocracy - bishops can't disallow lawsuits - you do realize you live under a civil, secular legal system right? So in essence your ill informed comment is nonsense. God bless.

Tom in Vegas said...

I think the lawsuit is frivolous and without merit.

This former priest (and I thank God for the operative term "former") is an opportunist. But I don't think the Church should be held accountable for something that transpired after he left the clergy.

This man is either trying to exact some kind of vengeance, or he is trying to get rich quick.

Mary, Elmhurst said...

As a Catholic and a therapist working in the mental health field I can appreciate the ethical dilemma and handling of the case. Firstly, Rev. Floss clearly violated a code of ethics in counseling. He demonstrated poor boundaries in choosing to visit Ms. Crane for individual sessions at her home and then becoming overtly involved. Marital therapy views the client as the couple not as the individual. He should not have voluntereed to individual sessions. We can only speculate that the home sessions evolved to a sexual matter. Secondly, there was no adequate supervision in this case. Rev. Floss should have a pastoral supervisor either at Elmhurst or through the Diocese of Joliet reviewing the issues presented and expressing problems with "transference", a redirection of the client's feelings towards the therapist. In this case, Ms. Crane talked about "being in love" as one of the articles point with Fr. Chris. For instance, she might have viewed him as a savior. Then there are te problems with "countertransference", feelings from Rev. Floss to his client which should also be addressed. These could have evolved to those of a sexual nature. In this case, Rev. Floss should have made the countertransference clear in supervision and acknowledged them before reaching the point of boundary violation. A previous article about the priest's ordination related how Fr. Chris came from a broken family. It wasn't until his ordination that everyone united. We can only imagine what his feelings were on the Crane case given his own personal background. Thirdly, if Rev. Floss could not handle the case himself then the decision for the couple to be transferred to a professional psychotherapist given their marital unsatisfaction and the supervisor should have aided in the process. Fourthly, there is the issue of vulnerability. The client is vulnerable. Ms. Crane was attempting to make her marriage work and could be viewed as the victim. She depended on Fr. Chris to find her guidance and he took advantage of her. But in my Catholic mind, I can also view it the other way around. I can view Fr. Chris being the vulnerable most celibate priest who led a sheltered life at the Pontifical North American Seminary in Rome after viewing the disgraces of war as part of the Air Force helping our troops seek spiritual help while Ms. Crane who is at least 14 years his senior as the seductress who led him to an affair. Whatever the reason, my Catholic mind pleads forgiveness not hate as expressed or public humiliation as those who blogged here. I can sense your diappointment but take into account that God loves all of us and that God is love. Forgive him with your heart and soul.

Anonymous said...

The Church is a non-profit religious charity. The Bishops didn't defend her from lawsuits over clergy sexual misconduct, because... what do they care?

But, it's NOT THEIR MONEY to splurge. The money has been given for the exclusive purpose of the spread of the Gospel and for the works of charity. Bishops, as the good stewards, could have said early on "NO!" to any demands for monetary restitutions.

Now the precedent is set and it can't be unwound. Now if a priest's dog impregnates a neighbor's dog the whole diocese will be sued. Thank you Bishops!

Anonymous said...

The priest is a human being. Divorce, falling in love, remarriage happen all the time. Just take a look the "celebrity" "news" on TV.

Too bad it happened with a nice priest. Guess what?... it will happen again and again and again.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the child abuse lawsuits - bishops COVERED IT UP - that is why they got sued. Chris Floss is a predator and a disgrace plus alienation of affection should be a tort - what this man did is horrible. Those kids will never recover - children of divorce seldom do. Another black eye for the church. Nice.

JimAroo said...

Oh come on....he came from a sheltered environment and wasn't aware of the dangers of the world the flesh and the devil??? What century are we living in here? Without doubt, whoever started it he should have run away from the situation pronto.

The courts will decide the merits of the case. But clearly if the courts find against Mr. Floss, he and his employer (the parish and diocese) are on the hook for his actions performed in the course of his duties. There are not, as far as I can see, any cover up or perjury allegations so it becomes a simple case of harmful behavior dome in the normal course of his employment.

Anonymous said...

This whole affair is most distressing. The former priest in question was a seminary classmate and - I thought - a close friend. As a priest, I was first angry, then, as a friend, disappointed, by now, as a cynic, I am just numb. I know of a similar situation from another perspective - a relative of mine lost his wife when she began an illicit relationship with the priest in her parish - they moved in together, but eventually parted ways, which is what I imagine will happen in this case.

Anonymous said...

This situation has led to a lot of anger, pain, confusion, and betrayal. There are so many judgments placed on so many people with such little knowledge of the parties involved, and that saddens me. I wish I knew what had happened and why, but I don't, and anyone who thinks they know because they have read a newsbrief or have preconceived stereotypes is only making matters worse. The fact is: there is a broken priest who left the priesthood and in that state broke up a marriage; a struggling marriage that has now separated; a hurting father and husband; scandalized children who feel abandoned by a parent, their Church, and perhaps even their God; a parish deeply hurt and confused; a staff and pastor who live with a sense of guilt wondering "What if..." and "Did I miss it or ignore it?"; and a bishop and presbyterate that is saddened and concerned for all parties involoved.
I don't think that there is a doubt that what Chris did is unethical and morally wrong.
It seems to me that many people are trying to fit this situation into insufficient categories and are rather quick to take extreme positions and speak of tangential concerns. Mr. Floss was not a predator looking for a marriage to break up or a wife to steal. He was also more than simply a counselor--he was the family's priest and their friend. They may have a had a licensed counselor as well for all I know. This scandal was never "covered up", and the parish is still recovering and healing from what had happened only less than two years ago.
How sad and hurtful is this scar in the lives of so many people. May our prayers be with Steve, his and Maureen's children, their families, Maureen, Chris Floss,his friends and family, Visitation Parish, the priests and bishops of the Diocese of Joliet, and the people of the diocese. May Christ who heals all things and makes all things new send his Spirit upon all parties involved and give each of them the healing and peace that they need.

Anonymous said...

People should not judge. She is a good person...

Who is so perfect that they themselves cannot be judged? Jesus? That's about it...

Suing the Church in this case is an act of greed and of the Devil...

Anonymous said...

Unless you, too, Mr. O'Toole, want some sort of attention in this legal matter, I suggest you remove your articles from your poorly written blog and remain silent in this matter. This is none of your business and you truly need to KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!

Anonymous said...

Isn't our whole Catholic Faith based on love and forgiveness? Encouraging anger, resentment and hatred are NOT works of God. It is very difficult to choose love unless one is an evolved and mature person. Nobody knows the whole story. Whenever I've judged harshly in the past, I've ALWAYS been wrong. How can we best help as Catholics in this situation? THe answer is clear: WE CAN CHOOSE LOVE, MERCY AND COMPASSION! The slanted remarks that Mr. O'Toole made in his blog posting are completely out of line and slanderous. I would be extremely careful of your remarks in the future when you are dealing with someone's character. Mr. O'Toole, you are just like everyone else who is not directly involved in this situation: YOU KNOW NOTHING. Just because there are media reports placing so-called "factual" information in public view doesn't mean its true. Please, Mr. O'Toole, remove your slanted and slanderous remarks to the characters of the parties involved and consider practicing some Christian charity.

Anonymous said...

The only winner in this matter is the devil. We all need to join in prayer to fight the devil and keep him out of our churches. We need to pray for everyone involved, and be a united force against evil, using prayer as our weapon.

Chad said...

Certainly, Mr. O'Toole you are making God's decision without knowing what plans God has for Rev. Chris Floss. Stating that he should become a monk as punishment is crossing the line. You are not God to judge him or decide his future. Perhaps, you should go to confession with Fr. Matt. It seems that the blasphemy is on your side.

Anonymous said...

"She is a good person"

Please a good person does not abandon her husband & children and take up with a priest. She is a confused, misguided and selfish person perhaps but good is not a term I would use.

There are people like me who after the other sex abuse scandals, our faith in the hierarchy hangs by a thread - this doesn't help. Chris the predator is a disgrace and should be ostracized. I hope he loses his shirt in court.

Anonymous said...

I always finding it amusing that so many so-called practicing Catholics have so many righteous beliefs and opinions, which directly contradict the teachings of our faith.

These very same people sit in judgment of others while they attend Mass every Sunday, sit with their families and pretend to be model Catholics. The last time I checked this type of behavior was not acceptable for Catholics or any religion. After all isn’t it God who will be our ONLY judge and jury. What time in our recent history did I miss that God himself came down and asked each one of us to take on this role, at what point did each of us decide that it was our right to play God. At what point in time did being a self-righteous, hypocrite give us the divine power to sit in judgment. At what point in time did the Vatican pass the law that it was acceptable for Catholics to be HYPOCRITES and deviate so far from the teachings of our faith and FORGIVE.

Not one of us can truly understand what this entire family is going through and how this ordeal is tearing at the very fiber of their beings. Not one of us knows the truth but rather what the Newspapers have decided to let us know. If Mr. Crane is the victim he is one in a long line of divorced people in the United States. Would this entire legal battle have come about if Chris was just your average “Joe” and not wearing the “collar” my guess would be Mr. Crane would have licked his wounds and moved on, but he found a voice all be it a destructive voice. Is there blame in this case, that my fellow Christians is not for us to decide, that is solely left as a private matter between Mr. & Mrs. Floss, Mr. Crane and God for he alone knows the outcome of this situation, and he alone sits in judgment – we as servants to God have not earned that right.

Please stop playing God.

Tom O'Toole said...

anonymous, Sept. 30, 8:56 p.m. -- I am not judging anything. Adultery and sex outside of marriage is a sin as judged by Christ in the Bible, and the Church in the Catholic Catechism. And, yes, it is worse, when a man of the cloth does it because of his position of authority. You obviously didn't read my call for prayer or you would understand where I'm coming from.

Tom O'Toole said...

anonymous, Sept. 30, 3:09 a.m. -- While anonymous nasty comments are nothing new, anonymous lawsuits are. Do you plan to wear a bag over your head when you take me to court?

Tom O'Toole said...

anonymous, Sept. 30, 10:29 a.m. -- Yes, you are 100% correct. The devil loves to bring down priests which is all the more reason to pray.

Tom O'Toole said...

jimaroo -- I totally agree. Every priest, from Christ to the present has had to resist this temptation. Personally, I like Aquinas' approach ...

Tom O'Toole said...

chad -- Becoming a monk is not a punishment. It is a priestly vocation (the one Floss chose) except without the preaching and counseling part, which Floss, at least currently, obviously could not do.

Tom O'Toole said...

anonymous, Sept. 28, 10:54 p.m. -- Besides the kids, I feel the worst for the priests. Stay strong, pray, and keep fighting the good fight.

JimAroo said...

A word of advice to priests today from an old guy... in my youth we often had crusty old (they seemed old then) Irish priests. They were particularly crabby and almost cold around the ladies.... get it? It wasn't a personality fault it was a tactic to maintain a distance. Not a bad idea in this age of over familiarity. Women are quick to fall for the uniform given an opening. OK feminists.... have at me.

chad said...

Jimaroo, you also had crusty nuns. Was that for the same reason? LOL I don't think that the priests were acting crusty. I think they were inherently crusty and bitter that is until they had their Irish coffee on the top of the morning, sir.

Angry Father said...

I don't have all the answers, but I am not surprised by all the "live and let live" and "Judge Not lest ye be judged" posts on this thread. As we know, even the devil can quote Sacred Scripture. Wasn't it our Lord who said that it would be better if a millstone were tied around his neck and that he be drowned in Lake Michigan (okay, that is a paraphrase) than to lead one of these little ones astray? To all our sympathetic anonymi, I must remind you of the scandal involved here. God is merciful, but it seems easy to be so ready to forgive when you are a distant bystander. Frankly, I am still angry over this matter - and I think Mr. Crane is justified in his anger as well. As we know, the Lord's mercy is shown to the repentant, Floss has done nothing to indicate repentance - apparently, he goes on living in an adulterous "marriage" Should we allow his sin (and that of this woman) to control our lives and our response? NO! Should we spend much time condemning either of them? NO! Is the public outrage expressed here acceptable? It is certainly understandable. All involved (the family, the perpetrators, the parishioners, the presbyterate, all the faithful who have been scandalized, the Bishop, etc.) should continue to pray for forgiveness, but I think it is reasonable to expect some indication of repentance.

When the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who was caught "in the very act of adultery" He turned her over to her accusers with the admonition, "let him among ye cast the first stone" Perhaps we are casting stones. On the other hand, I think there is a great deal more frustration being vented, but then I may be rationalizing. When they all went away, though, Jesus asked the woman, "has no one condemned you?" "None, my Lord." "Then neither do I condemn you" but our LOrd added, and this so often omitted in our own day and age, "go and sin no more!" Jesus doesn't tell her to go on in her adulterous ways. He doesn't say that she should move in with her accomplice, set up house and pretend that they are married!

This man needs to do public penance in reparation for public scandal. He should publicly repudiate his invalid attepmt at marriage, report to his bishop and ask to be assigned somewhere (obviously not in a parish) that he might do penance.