Gerard corrects me
Note that, Gerard corrects me and asks me to blog it.
Gerard writes to tell me I’ve misread his statement on his blog as a flat denial of any wrongdoing, saying “The indiscretion on the website and in the paper is “correct” but there are circumstances that change it as well – which I’d rather not speak of at least yet.” He says that the indiscretion was not sexual abuse and that “My own hope is that there can be some deeper grasp of the complexity of things even if someone did fail and fall – even to his own horror and disgust and repentance and renewal.”
So, I’m wrong on a couple points and need to make that clear. I was wrong to have said that that “I do not believe for one damn minute that Gerard ever did anything wrong”. By Gerard’s own admission, there was wrongdoing by him involved in his dismissal from the priesthood. My apologies for that. I was also wrong to have assumed that his accusation was a completely false one. Apparently there is something (we don’t know what) to it.
So this leaves us where? Well, it leaves me looking at the danger of reading and blogging in anger. I ran across the article on Keeler’s release of “accused” names on Greg Krehbiel’s site this AM before I’d heard anything about Gerard. I was already pissed off by that and continue to regard the Cardinal’s action as ass-saving human sacrifice for which there is no conceivable justification. Then I got an email about Gerard’s blog, read it (and misread his statement as a flat denial) and blew my top. It’s been a while since I’ve been that angry.
Now, I’m aware there are a contingent of Shimei’s out there who are absolutely delighted since, for all their profession of Christian charity, what they really rejoice over is the destruction of other human beings, all in the name of justice, of course. And so, just as accused=guilty for them, admission of “inappropriate sexual activities with a minor” is, of course, exactly the same as infant rape and they can now stone Gerard to death with dark joy. This is the happy result of zero tolerance thinking I’ve complained about before. I would remind such people of several things:
First, neither you nor I know what the actual story is. All we know is “inappropriate sexual activities with a minor”. “Oh sure,” the Lidless Eye contingent shouts back in chorus, “but the fact is he *admitted* wrongdoing: Inappropriate sexual activities with a minor! Now you’re defending him cuz you know him through the web! Hypocrite! I thought you cared about the victims! What about the millions and billions of ruined lives he left behind him! Are you going to let him go unpunished?”
This brings us to our second point: Gerard has *already* paid the penalty: he’s laicized and has been so since 1985. We don’t know that there is or ever was anything meriting a civil charge. We don’t know there is one single victim (was this consensual with some girl just before her 18th birthday?), much less one whose life has been ruined. We don’t know Gerard is an ongoing threat to society or somebody who has continued doing anything wrong. We don’t know (and the Lidless Eye crowd don’t care) if he’s repented and tried to live an exemplary and quiet life since then. No, the Lidless Eye crowd wants blood, not redemption. Punishment is to be eternal. Let God forgive, but we will not. It’s not enough that he’s laicized. He must be henceforth treated like a moral leper to satisfy our conviction that endless ongoing punishment without mercy is ours to mete out to him forever. He *deserved* to have his name made public, even though he’s not a priest and poses no threat to anybody. He deserves eternal humiliation. There are some sins God just doesn’t forgive and it is our task in life to make sure those sinners know it.
Third, this brings me back to what angered me so much before I ever knew that Gerard was involved: what conceivable *good* this action of the Cardinal’s does? Who is helped? What is accomplished? Who is protected? What is redeemed? All it does it destroy the life of a man who has, from all I’ve seen, repented of his deed and tried to be a better man, so that the Cardinal can look good for the cameras. I continue to think it was a despicable, utterly unjustifiable act, and even more so in the case of those others on the list who were merely accused.
I will, in future, think twice about blogging in red anger. I jumped to some unwarranted conclusions today (which Gerard, to his credit, has courageously corrected). But I think the substance of my complaint is still sound. The Cardinal has much to answer for before God, I believe.