Saturday, June 15, 2002

Well, it's about 8:30, and I call this sleeping late!
The Better Half and I had a hot debate last night, if you could call it that.
As many of my blogger readers know, since most of them are good friends, our parish priest has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation that he said something about 24 years ago that could have been interpreted as a sexually inappropriate statement to a 17-18 year old semanian student (pre-priesthood) at the school he was teaching at the time . There was no physical or genital contact involved. Most of the parishners are shocked and saddened. Father John issued a statement at his last mass he gave, stating he was innocent, as well as the optimism that he would be re-instated as the pastor after the investigation was over. He stood on the pulpit and proclaimed his innocence. Well, to most of us, we just believe that they would investigate, have no evidence, and then re-instate him as priest.

First of all, I must state my position on this whole Catholic Church matter- I was brought up Catholic, and have never belonged to any other church, although I have friends from many denomiations. I could not see myself belonging to another church. I believe my priest is innocent, because I, at this point, have no reason to doubt his word. That does not mean, however, that I don't believe that these horrific things have happened in our church, by men who manipulate those who are more vulnerable and have less power. And I believe there is no room in the priesthood for anyone who abuses that power and responsibility. These men who do these things are criminals, and they should be treated as such. The Bishops of the United States are meeting in Dallas Texas, and as I write this, they are trying to develop a zero-tolerance policy that would defrock those who are guilty of abuse and remove them from doing any more harm.

My Better Half is a very well-educated man who studies Catholic doctrine much more closely than I do. He gave me a very frightening scenario that could easily happen to Father John. The church operates not by judicial or criminal law, where guilt or innocence determines the outcome, but by cannon or eclesiastical law. The "Powers That Be" in the church are out to save the church, my Better Half explains, and that could me that someone innocent has to take the fall. Meaning that they could ask Father John to resign,who is a pillar of the community or make him resign, as the parish priest to show that the Diocese is in coordination with this new zero-tolerance plan, so they can say, "See, we removed him from office for something questionably not-so-bad; we're showing we can really stick it to the really horrible bad guys now!" Meaning that an innocent man would have his reputation ruined, be removed from his life's work he loves, and be forced to be a hermit or a pariah...because of politics.

I flew off the handle at this one, folks. I usually hate debate. I am non-confrontational. I don't really share my opinions with others because, frankly, I feel I am wasting my breath trying to convince people that my way is better. But I had to proclaim the whole scenario as disgusting and ridiculous. People of God shouldn't screw each other over. These men of power need to take responsibility for the fact that many times, they were aware of harmful priests in their dioceses, but continued to allow them to practice. But, my Better Half explains, these men have a lot of power, like CEOs in a corporation.They don't want to lose any power that they may have. In about a month, the Better Half and I are supposed to be driving up to Canada to participate in World Youth Day, where the Pope will make an appearance, as well as the Cardinals and Archbishops, who will speak on Catholic Dogma and Doctrine, as well as, get this, morality and ethics. I am starting to debate on whether or not I want to go to Canada, should this scenario take place and Father John has to resign. To sit there and listen to men I view as hippocrates would make me sick. I am hoping that the higher ups do the right thing and let Father John come back. Thanks for letting me vent. I feel better now, I can eat breakfast!

On a happier note, RENT has brought its national tour to our local theatre. My friend Marian and our newest Bahead Mike went to see it last night, and they said they liked it. I have seen this great musical twice now, and I listen to the soundtrack ad nauseum. If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor, at least get the soundtrack, which is more reasonably priced. The production notes are inside the CD, meaning you can listen and follow the story line, and it's ALMOST like you're there.

Hmm. Hungry. Aunt Sarah's Pancake House, here I come!
See you guys later.

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