A recurring question in my mind: how was this allowed to happen? I mean, weren’t there warning signs before he was ordained? Red flags? Concerns in his psychological testing? Something like this doesn’t develop overnight.
An Alabama priest disgraced after abandoning his parish to travel to Italy with an 18-year-old woman described himself as “married” to her in a Valentine’s Day letter.
“I love you, and I thank Jesus for you every day. You have made my life both astronomically more complicated and incredibly better at the same time. You are his gift to me,” Father Alex Crow wrote in a letter recently released by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office. “Now, we are in love and we are married! I’ve never been in love before (and I’ve never been married, obviously!), and I’ve never felt any of the feelings I have for you for anyone ever in my entire life. I promise that I will love you the absolute best I can, every single day.”
The handwritten letter to the 2023 high school graduate indicates that the priest planned for the couple to be in Italy together “with our family” and have “many wonderful and normal Valentine’s Days.”
Father Crow, 30, and the unnamed woman are believed to have left Mobile unannounced July 24. Father Crow had been a parochial vicar at Corpus Christi Parish in Mobile and left behind a letter to the Archdiocese of Mobile stating that he would never return to the United States, according to the sheriff’s office.
In a separate letter released by the sheriff’s office from Father Crow to a person named Joshua, identified by the sheriff’s office as Father Crow’s brother, the priest indicated that by leaving he believed that he was following “Jesus’ will,” and that he believed Jesus had told him to leave and not return. He also said he was not leaving the priesthood, and that the young woman “has been told to come with me.”
“We know how this looks, but we are doing what we are told,” Father Crow wrote to his brother. “Do not worry about defending us. This is hard for her too, but she knows she will always be safe if she does Jesus’ Will. We will always be thinking and praying for all of you, especially our families and friends. Please pray for us, too. We need it.”
Following the letters’ publication, the Mobile Archdiocese said in an Aug. 14 statement that it “joins those who are troubled and concerned about the recent behavior of Alex Crow.”
The sheriff’s office has been investigating whether a crime has occurred. It said July 29 that a relative of the woman, later identified as an uncle, had located the couple in Italy. A spokesperson told OSV News that the uncle reported that the woman had “left on her own accord” and “the family member … did not seem alarmed.” The sheriff’s office has not released the identity of the woman.
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