Media priest Fr Benedict Groeschel dies

Franciscan Fr Benedict Groeshel, who was well known for his prolific writings and often controversial views, has died in the United States aged 81.

A trained psychologist, he was a fixture on Mother Angelica’s Eternal Word Television Network, better known as EWTN.

With other Capuchin priests, he formed the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, based in New York City, in 1987.

The y highlighted communal living and wore traditional garb while serving the poor and needy.

They would also use any means they could to promote their message; a rock band organised by some of the sandal-clad, bearded brothers inspired a 2007 New York Times story called “Monks Who Play Punk.”

Fr Groeschel’s community touched a chord, and, at his death, had nine friaries in the US, four in Europe and two convents in Central America.

In 2012, he apologised for controversial comments that blamed some child victims of clerical sexual abuse for inviting the molestation.

After this he stopped his EWTN appearances and gave up the public spotlight.

“At some point you have to take the car keys away from grandpa,” Fr Glenn Sudano, a spokesman for the friars, said at the time.

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