North New Jersey parents are ticked off. A wayward priest, forgiven by his archbishop, was with their kids. This is predictable, and justifiable anger.
It’s complete craziness that the church can let this happen. I’m a softball coach, and I need a background check just to get on the field. Every single person I spoke to today said, ‘Oh my God. I didn’t know about this.’ It’s incomprehensible.
Incomprehensible is about right. I could place an expletive adverb before the word, but otherwise, about right.
And neighboring bishops have weighed in against Fr Fugee, and by extension, their metropolitan. First Trenton:
Bishop David O’Connell has ordered the pastor of St. Mary (where Fr Fugee has been in active ministry) to bar (him) from any church activities, a spokeswoman said in a statement.
That’s no activities, not even under supervision. So much for the interpretation of keeping a watchful eye on offenders.
(Bishop) Arthur Serratelli, has likewise said Fugee was on a retreat at Lake Hopatcong without his permission.
He might have gotten MR3 wrong, but this was even more of a no-brainer.
SNAP, of course, is calling for the pink slip. Mark Crawford, state director:
The archbishop continues to insist it’s fine for Fugee to work with children. It’s a very dangerous message. When will it be enough? When someone gets hurt? What does it take when you have a man who has admitted groping a child on more than one occasion?
It has already tripped up bishops like Francis George. And it could have been worse for Robert Finn.
Father James Connell is appealing to Rome:
The truth in this crisis has to come to light or we will never have true justice. We cannot expect there to be healing for the victims and survivors if we do not have that truth.
So now Cardinal Gerhard Müller is on the griddle for this, too. Good.
At this point, I feel nearly desensitized to the institution and its defenders. Blind traditional Catholicism is a spent husk. It has no heart. It’s lost its head. Entrails come to mind.
John Myers rode into Peoria a quarter-century ago as the hero for a return to a rosy pre-conciliar Catholicism. Like a number of others of his ilk he has demonstrated that the self-styled orthodox have no high ground where virtue and morality are concerned. They seem focused on the problems of others, yet blind to their own weaknesses. It is absolutely essential that a leader in ministry be aware, even to the point of personal pain, what his or her shadows and weak points are. Someone like John Myers has been in ministry for decades. He might be an archbishop. But he doesn’t escape from the reality of sin and a refusal–a blank refusal–to come to grips with his problem here. We might treat Robert Finn a little differently for his naivete, though he gets demerits for not researching his own pastoral letter on pornography. Archbishop Myers was found wanting in 2002, and it clearly hasn’t changed in the last decade.
At this point, I also don’t care if he resigns or not. I feel fairly sure that New Jersey Catholics will be hyper-sensitized to watching for predators on the loose. Perhaps a stray priest or two will be suspect. That’s the sad fallout from all this. Any cleric who gets a new assignment will have a few parents wondering and questioning. So the clergy of Newark can send a thank-you note to their bishop for that one. But I don’t think a predator is going to get loose from the Newark clergy. the people simply will not stand for it.
And I think I’m fine with the man remaining on the cathedra for another three years, as a reminder for a lot of people not to look to human beings, princes, or the self-styled orthodox as savior. Jesus is savior. There is no other. For all the finger-pointing at Muslims and the nones and the other non-Catholics, it seems that bishops themselves have some serious deficiencies with the Catholic faith. Good thing we rely on the Lord, and not the shepherds.