Bishop Menees on Jesus Antonio Castañeda-Serna

One of the most egregious cases of sexual misconduct that took place in ACNA is that of Jesus Antonio Castañeda-Serna. With that in mind, it is encouraging to read a letter that Bishop Menees presented to the court in his trial:

April 12, 2024
The Honorable Charles Lee
Superior Court of California,
Fresno County – Department 33
Your Honor,
Thank you for allowing me the privilege of appearing before you today and addressing this honorable court. My name is Eric Menees, I am the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin and Mr. Serna’s former bishop.
Your Honor, I speak to you this afternoon not only on my behalf but on behalf of the clergy of the diocese and many of the victims who have not had a voice during this whole process. While less than a dozen victims were willing to come forward and speak with the police, I have met personally with three times that number and I am sure that there are many more who did not want to speak with me. When the DA’s office and I reached out to them letting them know of their right to address this
court, many, if not all, declined to do so, due to embarrassment, fear of retribution byMr. Serna’s supporters, and fear of the press publicizing their names and faces.
Your Honor, the past four plus years have been a nightmare for those men and women. One has made a suicide attempt, many have self-harmed, fallen into drug and alcohol addiction, become sexually promiscuous and destroyed foundational relationships with family and friends.
While many have taken advantage of psychological counseling and pastoral care, Mr. Serna’s lack of any remorse or contrition along with the glacial pace that this legal process has taken, has only rubbed salt into their wounds. Then, to learn last month that Mr. Serna is not pleading guilty but “no contest” and only faces 90 days of incarceration for psychological evaluation and “up to” 365 days in county jail, frankly, feels like a slap in the face of the victims and a slap on the wrist to Mr. Serna.

Your Honor I respectfully request on their behalf, and on behalf of potential future victims that you reconsider this sentence. I realize that as a Christian and a bishop, it may surprise you that I make this request. However, as a Christian and a bishop I believe that proportional justice is also demanded. Justice is a fundamental aspect to the Christian faith and while God is ready and willing to grant forgiveness to repentant sinners that does not eliminate the temporal consequences of one’s harmful actions. In this case, Mr. Serna is neither repentant nor facing proportional consequences for his actions.

The harm that he inflicted upon these victims through psychological and spiritual manipulation has lifelong effects. The harm that he has caused to the good reputation of the clergy of the Diocese of San Joaquin and indeed all Christian ministers is impossible to measure but felt every day.

With your permission Your Honor I’d like to address these next comments to the defendant.

Antonio, you long professed your love for the priesthood and the desire to serve the Lord in an honorable manner. You have fallen very short on both accounts. You have manipulated innocent and vulnerable men and women. Worse, acting as a priest it was made to appear by you as if God himself were harming them, manipulating them, and leaving them isolated and alone. You have violated your ordinal vows and you have grieved the very heart of the Lord. With these actions you have thrown away all the good that the Lord accomplished through you and your ministry. Your lack of accountability and unwillingness to seek reconciliation is shameful and a complete disappointment to me. But more importantly, it puts you outside of the forgiveness of the Lord. Antonio, in the name of God, I implore you this moment to repent of your sins and return to the Lord. Forgiveness can be yours, but you also must make amends for your selfish, misguided, and harmful abuse and manipulation of these men and women.’Antonio, as a Christian and a bishop I implore you to harm no one else. I recognize that you will have restrictions according to this sentence, but you know as well as I do that in addition to all the adults you harmed there are at least two minors who were manipulated and harmed by your violation of trust and the shameful disregard of your priestly vows. There is no statute of limitations for them, and should they come forward, the consequences will be much harsher. I suspect that if they learn you are continuing to harm anyone, they will be more likely to come forward.

Lastly, Your Honor I would like to address the victims both named and unnamed in this case.

Brothers and sisters on behalf of the Church, I see you and I ask your forgiveness. You were harmed by a trusted official of the church, and I recognize that those scars are deep and wide. Please forgive us. Please also know that it was not God who harmed you, but a broken and sinful man. As bishop of the diocese, I regret that I did not know earlier of Mr. Serna’s abusive actions as I would have acted to intervene on your behalf. Know also of my profound sorrow and desire to walk with you toward healing if you will allow me to do so.

Your Honor, this concludes my remarks. Thank you for your time and willingness to allow me to speak.


The Rt. Rev. Dr. Eric Vawter Menees






2 responses to “Bishop Menees on Jesus Antonio Castañeda-Serna”

  1. Juan Avatar
    Juan says:
    It surprises me enormously how in any church, be it Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, etc., the senior hierarchs and even the brothers themselves in the ministry abandon and further sink those who are in a situation that leads to losing their ministry. What Menees did is the same thing that Judas did, that is why faith in any church is just business and nothing more.

    1. admin Avatar

      Menees called evil evil, good for him.

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