I dunno, Amy, what does “Zero Tolerance” Mean?

If it means “one proven act of abusive behavior with a minor by a priest or seminarian means you are not a priest anymore”, I’m cool with that for the most part. But what about the anomalous cases such as my reader mentioned yesterday? Is it really sane to dredge up something some idiot teenager did 30 years ago with a slightly younger idiot teen–once–and destroy his life for it? I can’t help but think we are still looking to secular models to pattern our thinking rather than to revelation. I’ve never seen “zero tolerance” policies work. They tend to lead to absurdity. So I want to have a very clear idea of what exactly is meant by “zero tolerance”. It sounds so refreshingly morally clear after the long night of ecclesial cluelessness. But it could well be just another form of ecclesial cluelessness which continues to put institutional butt-covering over the needs of human persons.


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