Debate has risen over the issue of what burial is befitting for a priest who was suspended from duty after accusations of child molestation.
On Sept. 30, Reverend Maurice Grammond died at an Alzheimer’s home in Portland, Ore. He was ordained into the Roman Catholic priesthood when he was 30 years old, and retired when he was 68.
At the age of 71, Grammond was suspended from the priesthood and three years ago was charged with the molestation of more than 40 young boys.
His death raised some questions among the Catholic community – what was to be done with his remains? Generally, a deceased priest would receive a cathedral Mass service to be presided over by the archbishop. However, what should be done in the case of a priest who was discharged due to sexual allegations?
The accusers of the molestation were altar boys in Rev. Grammond’s churches from the 1950’s to the 1980’s. They reported that the priest groped or attacked them during camping trips, in his car, in the church rectory, or even during fake confessions.
His own nephews told their mother that Rev. Grammond had abused them, sparking a family conflict amidst the church scandal.
Before his illness and eventual death, Rev. Grammond left a will stating that he wished to have his funeral Mass said at the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Portland (where he had said his first Mass), and to be buried at Mount Calvary cemetery.
The Catholic archdiocese would not aid the executor of his will or his 72-year-old sister, whose sons accused Grammond of sexual abuse, in her attempts to grant his wishes.
She claims to be doing the right thing in trying to give her brother a proper burial, and is disregarding what occurred between him and her own sons.
The pastor of St. Ignatius told Grammond that he could not comply with her, claiming that some of his parishioners were among those abused by Rev. Grammond. He said he felt terrible that he could not honor a fellow priest, but that in doing so, he would be disrespecting the members of his parish who were affected by Grammond’s wrongdoings.
Grammond’s sister finally made arrangements without the church’s help. She had her brother cremated, and several priests attended a service held at a funeral home.
Rev. Grammond’s remains were buried in Mount Calvary, but not in the clergy section. He was buried with his parents. He was 82 years old.