At least Fr. Hamilton had the grace to resign. However, the priest who tried to sound the klaxon on this and other disgusting slime is discovering the “no good deed goes unpunished” rule applies to him too. What is the bishop of Arlington thinking?
Meanwhile, a reader writes in from the trenches, being a parishioner in Fr. Hamilton’s parish:
I found out on Thursday about the porn and that being the reason one of our priests (fr. hamilton) had resigned at the end of august. We actually missed his last mass b/c we were out of town but the week before we happened to be at mass where he presided and he told us “next week I’ll have an important announcement” and I almost think he added a “and you’ll want to be here” or a “you wont want to miss it”. I personally didnt have much of a fondness -ok I didnt have any fondness- for Fr. Hamilton. I just didnt care for his personality or style and because I already didnt think too much of his character I can’t say I’m at all surprised with the “accusations”.
We have two great priests left, but my husband was a tad concerned with the homily when he went to mass Sunday morning. I missed it since I went with the bunchkin the night before. We had a letter read that supposedly was read everywhere in Arlington from the bishop and afterwards our priest (according to my husband) seemed to give a homily on “the sin of coming forward with this information and slandering a persons character”. Now, I tried to question my dear husband to make sure this wasn’t the case, but knowing the priest who gave the homily (who I do like LOL) I can see how this priest might “go there”.
At any rate I am going to our moms meeting on friday where this priest will be present and I’m certain this will be a topic if not THE topic of discussion. So I’m kind of writing to see if you wanted to throw this out as a blog topic (maybe not my particulars but this next part which is my point…im getting there i promise) . You all are so helpful in generating intelligent conversation most of the time and I’d like to be able to have some productive input at our meeting.
So to the point:
The Bishop found out about the porn situation with our pastor last fall. Media delusions aside, our pastor did have to leave and was shipped off somewhere to be de-programmed or re-programmed –receive “treatment” for I know it was over a week – more like 2 or 3(I remember this happening b/c last fall was such a busy time I wondered why anyone would choose a ‘vacation’ then).
Apparently he got out of treatment and “made use of the sacraments” as stated in the bishops letter etc.
I think my concern as a parishioner is this: Should we have been made aware of this priest’s “struggle”?? I have confidence that our Bishop did what was right and followed his little guidelines etc, but I think I’d like to know if some guidelines need to be changed. If a priest is collecting gay porn, toys and whatnot, should that get a whole new set of guidelines, bells and red flags?? It seems to me that we know the real effects pornography has on individuals, corrupting the soul, arent there studies showing how pedophiles and murders all start on porn and slowly intensify with harder porn until they have to “act out” in a physical way? Maybe I watch too much court tv. Is this “just porn” or something serious that we should be made aware of?
It seems to me that yes, a priest as a public figure, and as the groom our Church should have to let us in on a struggle like this. As a sin against the community and something that could be an indicator — should we have known? I know and I don’t doubt for a second that God can heal and with grace they can overcome these types of sins, but maybe part of reparations and atonement is that in such a serious matter such a priest would have to come out of the closet so to speak! If you are struggling with celibacy like this, maybe active ministry isn’t where you should be?
Anyway!! I’d appreciate any thoughts you all had.
My not-very-well-thought-out reply: Hell yes, I’d like to know if my priest is a gay porn addict since I have four boys and there is a vastly disproportionate amount of sexual abuse of minors coming from homosexuals. I’d also want to know that my bishop was trying desperately to overlook this. I’d also want to know about the bishop trying to punish whistleblowers. Most of all, I’d like to know that a priest who despises the evangelical counsel of chastity is soon not going to be a priest anymore.