Hey! I’m all for forgiveness and second chances. But there is the little fact that this guy was not only involved in a violation of chastity, but in a credible charge of *rape*. The issue, Bp. Grahmann, is your failure to do a serious background check on the guy. For some reason, that makes Frisco parishioners feel jerked around and held in contempt. Lectures like this only help to further degrade what trust they might still have been able to muster. A word to the not so wise: this reaction from a reader is pretty much what you can expect, Bp. Grahmann, for your fine effort in the DMN:
What could one possibly say that could be bad enough about this piece by Bishop Grahmann in the Dallas Morning News? The Bishop’s decisions flowed from the purest evangelical motivations, but, sadly, are being obstructed by a mob of unconverted, judgmental, stone-lugging Laity. Not a WORD about the fact that the good people of Saint Francis Parish were already deeply suspicious of the Diocese because their previous pastor was unceremoniously yanked without even the chance to say good-bye, let alone an explanation, despite their repeated entreaties over months. Not a syllable about the fact that this was a situation in which a rape allegation had been raised, in court, only to be dismissed because it was brought too late.
Talk about not ‘getting it.’ There’s a major credibility problem here, and the Bishop can write with all of the Olympean detachment of which he is capable… but at the end of the day, this is NOT the fault of the pitchfork-waving, stone-carrying Laity. The Catholic Faithful are not unwashed peasants. They are good people who love their families and their parish, and neither the diocese nor the Bishop have earned much trust in the last few decades. Charles Grahmann does not understand that; he did not understand it at the close of the Kos trial, when the jury, in a statement read by the Judge, rebuked him for unforthcoming testimony, and clearly, to judge from this condescending article, he doesn’t understand it now.
As you know, I’m not a zero tolerance guy. I think zero tolerance policies are usually both stupid and contrary to the gospel. If it were shown that the priest was truly penitent (and that would include fessing up to rape if he had, in fact, done it and taking the consequences in civil law) and that he had exercised his ministry thereafter with real integrity, I’d be willing to have him as my parish priest with a 20 year record of penitent holiness. However, none of that side of things seems to have been really considered by Bp. Grahmann in the curiously lackadaisical approach to a background check that the Dallas Diocese fumbled around with. The rape charge was dropped, not because it was disproven, but because the statute of limitations passed. If he did it, then he’s been lying (and, of course, we have no way of telling if he’s lying or not.) Yes, I’m told by the bishop his record is great. That’s what Bp. Grahmann said about Fr. Patrick Lynch too! So, as a parent in the Frisco parish, what would I have to think?: “They yanked our priest without explanation and stuck in a guy who might be a rapist and now they are saying ‘Trust us or you are judgmental schmucks.’ Well, call me a judgmental schmuck but I’m curiously ill at ease having my teenage daughter in a confessional with somebody who might be a rapist.” And now, instead of saying, “I handled that pretty badly” the good bishop is chewing out fearful and angry parishioners for their failure to find his idiocy congenial. What does this man suppose people are made of? I hope the people of Frisco make life a living hell for Bp. Grahmann till their shouts knock the wax out of his ears.