An E-Mail Addressed To Me, But Which Is Really For Archbishop Myers

This note popped into my “in basket” this afternoon.

It’s from a reader, whose identity I’ve scrubbed, and it explains why events like what happened in the Archdiocese of Newark, after the travail for more than a decade following the Long Lent of 2002, are so damaging to the Body of Christ.

Read it and weep.

Hello Frank,

I have been following your posts (and Mark Shea’s) regarding Archbishop Myers and Fr. Fugee – thanks for the service you have provided. I receive “Read the Catechism in a Year”, I believe from Matthew Warner, and thought of you. This section pertains to the Bishop and his role/importance to us as the Faithful.

Day 203 – How important is the bishop?

How important for a Catholic Christian is his bishop?

A Catholic Christian feels that he is under an obligation to his bishop; the bishop is appointed for him, too, as Christ’s representative. Moreover, the bishop, who exercises his pastoral ministry together with priests and deacons as his ordained assistants, is the visible principle and the foundation of the local Church (diocese).

I am a convert to the faith, and most unfortunately, a victim of childhood abuse of the worst kinds – NOT by Priests. I also am back home, living in New Jersey, and this news is heartbreaking to me, and to all of us in our state.

The outrageous behavior coming from Archbishop Myers, whose Masses I have previously attended, leaves me feeling so unprotected, and although I know *logically* that I do everything in my power to protect my children from abusers, I am sick to my stomach, knowing that I actually thought what a wonderful *blessing* it would be for my son to serve with this Archbishop someday. I am sick to my stomach, because I began to trust people after many years of not trusting anyone.

Those who have been so abused may understand these feelings, and I may be overreacting. However, I imagine there are people who, like me, feel a sense of betrayal on the deepest levels. I never want my children to experience ANYTHING like what I went through, and we should NOT have to put up with anyone – an Archbishop especially – who cannot protect us, or will not protect us, from this behavior.

I feel almost frozen with fear, disgust and shame.

At any rate, please see the Catechism note above, and thank you for your time and prayers. I will continue to pray for you, God bless you.

This is why I said that no one has been served well by the way Fr. Fugee’s case has been mishandled. Everyone loses when leadership is bungled like it was in this debacle.

I too am a convert to the Faith. I came from a culture where able leadership is prized, and where all are taught to lead, as well as follow. The Master/Servent mentality is frowned upon, because the harm to good order and discipline that results from that failed model prevents the successful accomplishment of difficult missions.

The culture I’m from favors the Teacher/Scholar model instead. And it is in the spirit of that model, and as someone committed to being a servant leader, that I share this note from someone who is from Archbishop Meyer’s flock, and to all the bishops who don’t read my blog, and with everyone else.

I share these words in peace.

…but the word was set in a circle of thorns. Pax: peace, but what a strange peace, made of unremitting toil and effort, seldom with a seen result; subject to constant interruptions, unexpected demands, short sleep at nights, little comfort, sometimes scant food; beset with disappointments and usually misunderstood; yet peace all the same, undeviating, filled with joy and gratitude and love. `It is My own peace I give unto you.’ Not, notice, the world’s peace.

Much damage has been done in Newark and I don’t blink an eye when saying that it could have been avoided.

A little of St. Hildegard of Bingen’s work is in order.

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Power of Wisdom,
circling all things,
comprehending all things,
on one path, which has life.

Three wings:
one soars in the height,
one exudes from the earth,
one soars everywhere.
Praise to you, as befits you, Wisdom.

  • http://www.lesbiansinmysoup.com/ Katy

    The abuse scandals are pretty devastating to the moral authority of the Church, and when it’s flubbed – even in individual cases like this – it’s anybody’s guess how much is undermined long-term.

    And there’s no question that the authority of the Church gets undermined by it. If the general public, in their minds, connects child abuse with your leadership, then your moral authority has absolutely been compromised.

    How many arguments about the issues of the day – abortion, gay marriage, etc. – have been derailed because of the abuse scandal?

    Individuals are sinners and even, occasionally, wretched people, and there’s probably very little that could have been done in many cases to prevent the abuse. But the response of the hierarchy has been a whole other scandal, unfortunately.

    I know this is a little tangential to the topic here, but it was on my mind as I read this and it made me sad…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yimcatholic/ Frank Weathers

      Good thoughts, Katy.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    There is one concept that could help greatly: Transparency.

    There shouldn’t have been a single parent unaware in that parish of Fr. Fugee. That it took an investigative reporter to uncover this, is a scandal in and of itself.


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