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The Next Catholic Scandal

Meet Nathan Halbach, a 22-year-old battling brain cancer whom his mother says is being nickel-and-dimed by his biological father, Franciscan priest Henry Willenborg, and by the Catholic Church. While on a retreat to save her failing first marriage 26 years ago, mother Pat Bond fell in love with Father Willenborg, and the two had a sexual relationship that resulted in Nathan and lasted five years, until an enraged young woman showed up at Bond's house claiming that Father Willenborg had been her lover since she was in high school. Priests who missed out on celibacy class are evidently more common that one might think. According to a 1990 study by scholar A.W. Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine, 20 percent of Catholic priests had continuing sexual relationships with women, while 8 to 10 percent had occasional heterosexual relationships. According to Father Willenborg's deposition, the church never disciplined him or suggested he leave the priesthood.