Father Comes Home

RNS columnist Kevin Eckstrom thinks the plans for the post-nuptials are in bad taste. I don’t begrudge a couple that wants to travel. I am curious about this timetable of Thomas Williams than I am about his and his bride’s wish list.

A priest knowingly fathers a child with a woman who was his employee. He waits about seven years to take a leave to discern what to do. After another year, he comes clean publicly and wants to care for his son and the woman. Early childhood is so critical to human development, not to mention the semi-selfish motive of wanting to be there every single day–not just as an occasional friend of mom. I think thirty days to discern is sufficient to keep those one loves in suspense. One to eight years: that sounds like a prison sentence.

Perhaps I can understand this timetable a bit better if the woman gave this guy an ultimatum all those years ago, and it took him this long to wake up. Meanwhile, he was keeping his options open that the pope wasn’t going to blow up his scandal-ridden order, that if he was rejected from family life, he’d still be a priest, and so on.

If I were the prospective father-in-law, I would not be encouraging my daughter to go through with this marriage unless there was a real conversion moment in play. And even so, future son-in-law would be getting a difficult conversation. Very, v-e-r-y difficult.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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