November 13th, 2009
10:57 PM ET

Father Henry, a secret father

Gary Tuchman and Katherine Wojtecki

Nathan Halbach is 22, with a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. He knows that "horrible stuff" lies ahead.

His mother, Pat Bond, has been taking care of him full time. But when she needed help, she reached out to the Roman Catholic Church.

After all, his father is a priest.

Nathan was born in 1986, during a five-year affair between his mother and Father Henry Willenborg, the Franciscan priest who celebrated Nathan's baptism. In a story first reported in the New York Times, it was revealed that The Franciscan Order drew up an agreement acknowledging the boy's paternity and agreeing to pay child support in exchange for a pledge of confidentiality.

Now her son - the youngest of four children - may have just weeks to live. And when the Franciscans balked at paying for his care, she decided she was no longer bound by her pledge of confidentiality.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. linda

    I think the church made themself guilty along with this so called priest because of the cover up. Well at least this guy wasn't after the kids like most of the priests we read about. I think its time to quit expecting these guys to not get married because its obviously not working. Too many people getting hurt.

    November 13, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  2. SJG

    Priests don't get paid like a CEO does. He is OWNED mind, body, and particuarly soul by the church. He and all that he does is the church's responsibility. That's the way they want it, and that's the way it's always been. His "mistake" is their "mistake" and the priest was lucky he wasn't thrown out.

    November 13, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  3. Tim Gibson

    So, if a female becomes pregnant through an affair at the office of a CEO, then the company should pay? Not sure I understand the concept here.

    The issue is, both parties, consenting adults, had an affair, a child was born and the father and the father alone should be the one paying for support. Yet, on the prochoice side, without the whole catholic issue, why can the man not say, I do not want this child, it has been done away with and out of my life just as a woman can and does do with abortion.

    It is an sad issue, to see your child die before you eyes. Yet, the problems with the catholic church are not to blame other than he should by all means have been kicked straight out the door, they do it to gays, why not to other "sinners".

    November 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm |