Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Father Fugee Arrested in New Jersey, and Star-Ledger Calls for More Arrests

As a footnote to what I just posted about the new Catholic Whistleblowers group: I noted that Father Michael Fugee, the priest at the center of the latest big scandal in the abuse crisis in American Catholicism, was arrested Monday.

In response to the arrest, the New Jersey Star-Ledger has published an editorial maintaining that the arrests in this case shouldn't stop with Fugee. The Star-Ledger writes:

But remember, he [i.e., Fugee] wasn’t the only one who signed off on this agreement and then broke it. The archdiocese did, too. The prosecutor should press forward with this investigation and consider charging Myers with contempt, as well. This, however, would require a finding that Myers knowingly violated the agreement. Has he been questioned? He should be. 
So should others in his inner circle. There can be no free pass for the hierarchy here. At the very least, Myers should step down. His behavior has prompted widespread outrage even within the church, because he repeatedly protected Fugee.

And they're right. I think it will be a cold day in hell before Myers steps down, however. What remains to be seen--what many of us Catholics are watching for before we begin to buy into the hopey-changey rhetoric about the new pope--is how Pope Francis will deal with bishops like Finn in Kansas City and Myers in Newark.

That they need to be dealt with not only by the criminal justice system--as criminals--but by top church officials who recognize in a public way the unsuitability of these bishops to exercise pastoral leadership in the church is painfully obvious to many Catholics. Whether Francis does what he needs to do with these bishops, however, remains something to be seen--or not seen, as the case may be.

Meanwhile, mess around with adult males and have that become public, as Cardinal O'Brien did, and you'll be out on your ear in a New York minute. I'm not in the least defending O'Brien or what Colleen Baker succinctly calls the "sick expression" of the "homosexual lifestyle" in the Catholic priesthood. (Colleen is obviously differentiating the sick expression of homosexuality in the priesthood in which closeted and self-loathing gay priests and hierarchical figures attack other gay folks to divert attention from themselves, from a healthy expression of homosexuality in which a priest would accept his sexual orientation as a God-given part of his nature and would affirm other gay folks as a result. Father Gary Meier of St. Louis is modeling the latter right now--and see also here.)

I'm just saying: there are glaring, obvious, unjust discrepancies in the way the Catholic hierarchy treats sexual transgressions involving even consenting adults, and how it treats criminal behavior by bishops who endanger children. Particularly when those transgressions are gay ones.

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