Recently in the United States a case was made known that has scandalized the Catholic Church, since it was discovered that A priest allegedly sent risqué messages to a Carmelite nun at a Texas convent. According to the ‘Daily Mail’, this man survived inoperable brain cancer before taking his vows.

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The religious was identified as Father Philip G. Johnson, 38, he is the man at the center of the accusations of sexting that plunged the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Arlington, Texas, into ecclesiastical chaos, as confirmed by the aforementioned medium.

On the other hand, the 43-year-old nun is Mother Superior Teresa Anges Gerlach, who was recently expelled from the Monastery by Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson why he allegedly confessed to violating his vow of chastity.

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Gerlach has serious health problems and for that reason he is in a wheelchair and requires a tube to feed himself. In addition, he receives 24-hour care from a nun, his attorney Michael Bobo said.

The nun sued Bishop Olson and the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth
alleging that Olson defamed her and took information from her personal devices and invaded her privacy.

At the hearing that took place this week, the court identified the man involved as Father Philip Johnson, with whom the nun was in communication. According to a statement from the Diocese of Raleigh, Johnson was “granted permission” by the diocese to serve as a chaplain to a religious community in 2020 and then joined Transalpine Redemptorist Monastery in Montana in 2022.

No direct evidence of sexting has yet been found in court, but the diocese has produced testimony and recordings documenting admissions that it Gerlach had fallen in love with a priest through long-distance communication.

This case divided the Fort Worth Catholic community, and supporters of the nuns’ community have launched a petition calling for the removal of Bishop Olson, and have so far collected over 500 signatures.

At the moment, the priest Johnson, who is currently assigned to the Diocese of Raleigh, in North Carolina, confirmed to the ‘Daily Mail’ that his powers as a priest are being restricted while the matter is under investigation.

Who is father Philip Johnson?

In the religious community, Father Johnson is widely celebrated and documented in Catholic blogs and newsletters because of his incredible life story. According to the previously mentioned outlet, in 2008, when he was 24 years old and serving as an officer in the Navy, when he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and doctors gave him only one year to live.

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This fact made Johnson decide to deepen his Catholic faith, and he decided to become a priest. In 2017, he left Raleigh and was assigned as Parochial Vicar of Saint Ann Parish in Clayton, Carolina.

Then, in 2020, he received permission to be assigned as a priest chaplain at Carmelite Monastery in Traverse City, Michigan.

How did they get in touch?

According to a report on the court hearing from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the nun first contacted the priest when he wrote to her convent seeking prayers.

After a while they began to write more frequently, they even made a video call. It was also commented at the hearing that Gerlach had serious health problems and spoke of having seizures.

In addition, her lawyer, Matthew Bobo, suggested that the nun was heavily medicated, something Olson denied, describing her as “clear and lucid.”

At the moment, the case is still under investigation, to declare if it is true that the nun broke her vows of chastity.


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