How long does it take one to rehabilitate from a public scandal? When is enough exile enough? When can a person start up their life again, minus, we hope, the trappings of serious sin? Does something have to change post-rehab, and if so, how drastic must it be?
On an America thread one commenter wished that the Deal Hudson quotes and links would go away and stay away. Several years ago when that scandal broke, I blogged a similar opinion about Mr Hudson. Also Archbishop Rembert Weakland, whose own earlier sex scandal, unearthed many years after the fact, had deflated many of his admirers.
I don’t have an answer on this one; that’s why I’m opening it up to the commantariat. I will share that my recent exchanges with Deal Hudson on the site InsideCatholic were a source of consternation, less it seems for the two of us, and more for our editors. Was I picking on him more than others? Wouldn’t that be because he writes a plurality of posts on the blog and on the main page? Would I be operating from disproportionate resentment of him? Or do I just find his (more numerous) essays disagreeable?
Who gets to say, “The scandal was a long time ago. It’s time to move on.” The penitent? The victim? The followers or detractors? The spiritual director or pastor? Or some combination of these?