November 27th, 2009
04:44 PM ET

Father Henry, a secret father

Gary Tuchman and Katherine Wojtecki
CNN AC360°

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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Filed under: Gary Tuchman
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Tammy, Houma, LA

    At issue isn't a priest or his order or the Church or the priest's lover, but instead this young man who didn't ask to be brought into the world but was and now is dying of cancer. It seems to me the fight should be about making his last days as comfortable and dignified as possible where he is surrounded by the love of those who have always been there for him. The rest of this really won't matter after it's all said and done. In the end, judgement of this priest and the church and this mother is not ours to make. My prayers are with Nathan and his family.

    November 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  2. John Nielsen USA MO

    This is one of the saddest stories I've seen on the show, a priest fathering a child then pays him to go. Brain cancer for the child, priest and church only see confidentiality agreement as mild. Sad story in deed, I hope the boy's psyche will be freed. Sad report, a person just doesn't know anything anymore.

    November 27, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  3. Michelle

    what about the sanity of Marriage the christain right has been screaming about???

    November 27, 2009 at 11:56 am |

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