Withholding Judgment

I saw on a few fb feeds the news that a liturgically and doctrinally “correct” priest was credibly accused of sexual misconduct. I’m not interested in learning the cleric’s name or post a link–I’m sure any intrepid reader can find the news easily enough. I’m of the opinion a person, even a possible predator, deserves an opportunity to make a case for an error or false accusation. Until then, I withhold a strong opinion–unless I have direct experience otherwise.

Some social media persons, and the man’s parishioners have rushed to his defense. However, orthodoxy is not a sound defense. As we’ve seen over the past several years, many priests and bishops of the JP2/B16 mold have been outed both as offenders and cover-up perpetrators.

From social media, Mark Shea:

This is Michael Voris’ priest. Yesterday, N. immediately took to social media to begin the process of exonerating him. Her access to facts? None. It’s just that he’s an ideological ally of the Righteous and therefore it *must* be that this is an evil plot by the Church of Nice to destroy the Righteous.

At the same moment, a priest beloved by Lady Gaga was also accused. Much gloating. Just goes to show what these damned liberals are up to, say the Righteous. Their access to facts? None. It’s just that he’s associated with the Wrong Sort and so he must be guilty.

Some of this phenomenon is grooming. People engage in grooming all the time. “Successful” addicts and predators are particularly good at it. Celebrities on all levels do it: athletes and small parish pastors and lay people and lots of people in between. Some celebrities get bumped from their pedestals and people are eager to put them back up with a little bit (or sometimes more) of rehabilitation. Martha Stewart and Richard Nixon come to mind in the secular sphere.

In Catholic circles, we have the experience of confession. We can be rehabilitated in the eyes of God. That’s all a good thing.

But yes, the Catholic Right long ago lost the veneer of the moral high road. It almost seems that hyperactivity in either extreme–moral finger wagging or shoulder shrugging–is a potential sign for a troubled soul. Give me a preacher who links to daily life issues any day above a culture warrior or someone with a social justice cause-of-the-week.

Meanwhile, let the investigations continue. I’m never surprised anymore as to a person who has a problem with sexual predation or its covering up.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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