OKC Priest Commits Marriage. Is Removed from Parish.

OKC Priest Commits Marriage. Is Removed from Parish. February 21, 2015

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by https://www.flickr.com/photos/theologhia/
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by https://www.flickr.com/photos/theologhia/

I know I’m supposed to get all in a lather about this.

But, frankly, I think it’s ok-ish.

Father Dan Letourneau, who until recently was the pastor at what we Okies call St Joseph Old Cathedral in downtown Oklahoma City, has been outed as a married man. It seems that last November, Father Letourneau secretly got married. He then tried to hide it and continue his work as a priest. He succeeded in this until just recently, when the Archbishop found out about his marriage.

Archbishop Paul Coakley, Archbishop of the Diocese of Oklahoma City, had this to say about the situation:

This is obviously a very serious violation of the commitments, obligations and duties of priesthood. I deeply regret his decision and the impact this has had on the Catholic community and the people he has served. I will continue to pray for Dan and for those who have been hurt by his actions.

Obviously, Father Letourneau should have been a big boy about this and left the priesthood before he tied the knot. But, I’m far more sympathetic than appalled by this turn of events. I would imagine that the embarrassment and humiliation are scalding for both Father Letourneau and his wife.

It’s painful, having your life with its human stuff paraded around in public, and that’s all this is: Human stuff. On a scale of one to ten, this “crime” barely makes a one. This is a personal and, on a human level, understandable, situation made of normal human emotions and normal human fear of fessing up.

Love makes a fool of all of us from time to time. It certainly has me.

The deeds are done and nobody was hurt except Father Dan and his bride. The months of lying and sneaking must have been miserable for both of them. His time as a priest is over. Now they can begin their lives as husband and wife out in the sunshine and for real.

Personally, I’m all ok with Father Dan and his bride. I wish them a long, happy, holy marriage and a great big Catholic family.

 


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63 responses to “OKC Priest Commits Marriage. Is Removed from Parish.”

  1. You are awfully forgiving of clergy who flout their sacrament so long as they’re heterosexual. Your position is hard to believe, given that you usually are so even handed.

  2. I’m pretty forgiving of homosexual priests who fall off the chastity wagon, too. I just want them to get back on the wagon and do their best.

  3. My feeling is that his penance should be assigned by his confessor, not me. I truly wish him and his new wife all the best.

  4. . It’s an inevitable direction in general after the Anglican inflow of married priests like the one here at Patheos. Those who are over scandalized would get a sense of perspective by looking at Luther’s lifetime contrasted with the Popes of his day. Luther lived from 1483 til 1546 so from the time Luther was 9 years old til he was 20 years old, the Borgia Pope was on the throne of Peter with 7 children by mistresses…not wives…and held parties in the Vatican. From the time Luther was 20 until he was 30 years old, Pope Julius II was on the throne with three daughters he had while a Cardinal….no…not the baseball team. When Luther was 34, he posted his manifesto….after all that good example.
    So from the time he was 9 til he was 30, our leaders on the throne were way relaxed more so than a priest who committed to a woman at least on municipal court terms. The priest did it wrong but he was less wrong than about five Renaissance Popes during their lifetimes…several prior to being Pope…Paul III e.g. who stopped slavery to a degree in Sublimus Dei but had four illegitimate children prior to Orders and was the brother of one of the Borgia Pope’s mistresses.

  5. The guy broke his solemn vow. He lied to the people in the church. He apparently was trying to get away with his lie. He exhibited extremely poor behavior for a man and a priest. If you are a priest, you are called to more than “let me lie about it, let me put my new wife through hell, let me see if I can get away with something” Good riddance. Nobody is assigning his penance. He exhibited atrocious behavior and people need to say that in this day and age.

  6. You imply his new “marriage” is valid. I can assure you it is not. Canon Law clearly states that a priest is not a valid candidate for marriage, and if he attempts to get married, it is rendered null and void. Further, this kind of public scandal indeed harms everyone, and not just the two involved in committing the double-sacrilege (one against the sacrament of Holy Orders, and the other against the sacrament of Marriage).

  7. Rebecca, there are several issues here. All my comments are based on your post.
    Fr Letourneau took 2 vows at his ordination, chastity and obedience. I don’t think diocesan priests have to vow poverty, but I’m not positive on that.
    The sacrament of Holy Orders makes an ontological change in the man ordained. He, therefore, can not be married after ordination to the priesthood.
    There are a lot of harms I see being done here. One is obedience and integrity in the parish, nature of the priesthood, especially the young.
    Married men in certain circumstances, may be ordained to the priesthood, but priests or deacons cannot be married.
    That is the teaching of the Church. So, why don’t you see a problem?

    Something similar happened here and it did a lot of damage to the Spanish speaking community where the priest was very popular.
    Btw, I have no problem with men who are married receiving Holy Orders and think there should be more of them.

  8. “Nobody was hurt?” I was in a parish with a similar situation and I assure you parishioners were hurt, very hurt. The entire community as a whole (not just those of us that personally considered that priest a friend) were grievously hurt. Are you in this parish or have you talked to parishioners? I assume in the interim since his civil marriage he performed baptisms, witnessed marriages, heard confession, celebrated Mass. How does this leave the parishioners on the receiving end of these sacraments? If the sacraments are indeed valid, forever will the families of those babies baptized or the couples married feel something is lacking? That, at the least, they were lied to by someone in the Church they trusted? Do things like this also hurt the Catholic Church as a body? Do some turn from the Church and say ‘oh,just another hypocrite priest?” While our faith is not built on the humans that make up the Church, undeniably people do have their faith shaken by the actions of priests or bishops.

    As for the hurt cause to Father Dan and his “wife” I have limited sympathy. Choice. Life is about choices. They made many, many, many choices along the road that led to being civilly married. Even after they were married–they chose to not come clean as to their relationship. As we always tell our children, choices have consequences. Or I guess to get Biblical–you reap what you sow. In any relationship, there are many instances where you choose to move ahead….or not. Both are adults and able to make choices. Choices to break sacramental vows, choice to lie and deceive. If Fr. Dan felt he had to leave the priesthood to marry a women, the better choice (I think you would agree) was to apply to be laicized then marry….not to go to a JoP and then sneak around until he was ‘found out’. It is a very sad situation for everyone involved. You make it sound like “no big deal” Is this what we believe, that our passions/love give us carte blanche to toss aside sacred vows, promises, responsibilities to others to follow our passion? I bet that is not what you taught your children.

  9. Since Catholics cannot validly marry in a civil ceremony without a priest to witness the vows, is his marriage null and void, or does his own presence make it a valid marriage? I think it’s an interesting point that the Church may have removed him for entering into a marriage which the Church doesn’t recognize as existing at all (however much it does exist in civil law).

  10. Who married them? We’re they married in the Catholic Church? If not, does the Church recognize the marriage as valid? If it is not valid then should he dismissed from the Priesthood? In a time when the church is struggling to teach so many issues about marriage, family, etc. this could open a real can of worms. I would not want to be making the decisions. Celibacy is a discipline that could be changed. There are married Catholic Priests, (they were Anglican Priest’s or another faith) prior to joining the Church. He broke his vow, he’s human. I too pray for them. I also pray for the Church and all of us. None of us are perfect.

  11. I go to this parish, so I can tell you the Letourneaus were not the only ones hurt by this series of events. Finding out your priest is a liar in this big a way is, yeah, kind of a big deal. You really don’t get that? I’m a little angry, but mostly I feel betrayed and very disappointed. I could understand if he wanted to leave to get married, but I cannot understand him trying to put one over on us like this. How can we ask young people to be responsible and faithful to one another and to their marriages if our priests aren’t? A terrible terrible example. And yeah, again, I feel way more hurt and betrayed than angry.

  12. Part of a society or culture becoming decadent is that one’s word or pledge comes to mean nothing—as in America today. I am old enough to remember when a common attitude was “A man’s word is his bond” and if a man didn’t keep his word society helped others keep their word by treating the word-breaker as a leper or pariah and beneath contempt. This may sound harsh—but the damage done by word-breakers to others is usually much worse. However, today, when words are broken our decadent culture “feels” for the breaker and not the group or individuals harmed by the word-breaker—thus encouraging more word breaking.

  13. Interestingly, I don’t think your sentiment here and the one to which you are replying are contrary. He should be at least a little ashamed, as you said, of not having acted like a grown man. And it should be for his confessor to give him penance, rather than for us to help it in him.

  14. I can’t wish him all the best. What he did was wrong and he knew it or he wouldn’t have been secretive about it. I will however, pray for the two of them and hope that that turn back towards God. I’m still a believer that priests should not be a allied to marry. He may have not only defrocked himself, but he may have even excommunicTed himself from the church. Doing what he wanted to do isn’t worth what he may be facing in the life to come.

  15. “Doing what he wanted to do isn’t worth what he may be facing in the life to come.”

    … because the shed blood of Jesus Christ does not cover the sins of priests??? Are you saying that God doesn’t love Father Dan and won’t forgive him? What kind of Christianity is that?

  16. I am in no way judging him Rebecca. Father is a sinner like all of us. He was called to do Gods work through the priesthood and he decided that he wanted to do something that went against the priesthood. Then he concealed it. He has to be sorry for what he’s done and go to confession and then make himself right with God which would mean to undo what he’s done. Do you think he’s done that?

  17. I’m praying for him, hoping that he sees the error of his ways and turns back to God and realizes that Satan has his hooks deep within him. I can’t wish anyone well and hoping that they have a happy life when they are living in the state of mortal sin. That’s condoning the sin. We have a right, a duty, and an obligation to defend our faith. Condoning Father’s actions put us in a very bad situation with Our Lord and it hurts me that we’re slapping Our Lord in the and crucifying Him again. When will we turn back to God? Dayan is loving this!

  18. I dunno, Rebecca, I started out with the sort of sympathetic attitude you’ve shown, but as I looked into reports that give us a hint about his age, it appears that he is in his late fifties.

    If this had been an impetuous youth, that would be one thing, but by the time someone reaches their mature years, they ought to be able to show more self-restraint and good judgement. At the very least, he should have been upfront with his superiors and not made this secret marriage.

    But, having said all that, I hope he works things out and gets right with the Church and God and that he and his wife have a happy life together.

  19. Oh good grief. If you don’t wish anyone well when they are in sin, then you can’t wish anyone well; including yourself.

    Do you not know that we are all sinners in need of God’s mercy?

  20. That’s comparing apples to oranges. I don’t go out and purposely deceive and when I do something wrong I quickly try to make amends and get back right with God. Again, he decieved not only his superior, but he decieved those who had entrusted themselves to him as their pastor and priest. I would hope Rebecca that if I went out and committed adultery that you wouldn’t wwish me well! I would hope that you would set me down and say listen Neil, you and I both know what you’re doing isn’t right, not gee Neil, that’s great I’m happy for you that you’ve found someone else to share yourself with! Don’t worry about what the consequences are just be happy and do your thing!

  21. This is actually a big issue. She is not his wife. As a priest, he *invalidly* attempts marriage according to canon law, so they aren’t married in any Catholic conception. He has effectively made her his concubine. He has placed her immortal soul in danger. And I think that is a big deal.

    He has done his community a great wrong by living this lie. He has done this woman a great wrong by allowing her to enter a life of adultery (allow at the very least, he may have led her into it).

    Considering the crisis of marriage in our country and in our Church, I think it unwise to speak of her as his “wife,” or talk about their future. He may not be released from his promise of celibacy, and she can certainly not live as his wife without endangering her soul. His sin has profound consequences and I think those who diminish it by talking about wishing them well only add to the confusion of what a big deal it is to treat marriage so lightly.

  22. The Sacraments are valid, we aren’t Donatists after all. 😉 But while his actions had no impact on the sacramental grace, they were very likely to have an impact on people’s experiences of grace just like you describe. He has tainted the memories of those events for those people, linked what should be some of the most Grace-filled moments in their lives with scandal.

  23. Is your faith this fragile? Really??? What will you do if they come for you with knives and clubs as they are people in other parts of the world if your faith is so weak that it can be “tainted” this easily? Do you believe in Christ and Him crucified, or do you believe in the sanctity of priests?

  24. I suppose the Good Samaritan (who was sinful by the teachings of that day) was verboten as well. I suppose the woman at the well was beyond redemption, as well as the woman taken in adultery, as well as St Peter who denied Him and St Paul who murdered Christians and all the Apostles who ran away like a bunch of scared rabbits. I further suppose that you have never sinned, never needed forgiveness, never hungered for forbearance and mercy.

    Good grief man, don’t you know that there is a God and YOU AREN’T HIM?

    It is not your place — or mine — to exact the punishment for this man. The Archbishop will handle this. Our job in Christ is to pray for him and to help him get through this. We need to welcome him back into the fold with the love of Christ, not exact some social death as punishment for his sins.

  25. I think that is a huge over-reaction to what I actually wrote. If I knew that the priest who presided at my child’s baptism was living a life of lies and deep scandal, that would certainly color my memories. It wouldn’t destroy my faith, or make me doubt the grace of God working in the Sacrament. But it would affect how I remembered the experience, it would be a sour note in the song of joy.

    And to one of the many, many people in our Church whose faiths really *are* fragile, it could be devastating. I think that it is actually quite uncharitable to forget that there are many of fragile faith in our Church. It is uncharitable to think that just because your faith can weather the scandal that the scandal shouldn’t be significant to anyone else. There are many who are just a nudge from losing their faith. When I think of all the people I’ve known who have had the back of their faith broken by one more straw, something like this puts souls in danger. That is why this is a big deal and should not be minimized.

  26. I have to wonder if you are actually responding to me considering these statements. I only said that this is a big deal with real consequences. Fornication is a serious sin that puts your soul in danger. What is so shocking about saying that? Why is it shocking to then say that we should be careful about what we say so as not to confirm someone in their sin? When we talk about this woman as his wife, we do just that, we minimize the reality of the situation she is in.

    I don’t know what his (or her) punishment is or should be, I never gave an opinion on the matter. So I don’t know why you are attacking me for trying “to exact the punishment for this man.” It is our job to pray for him, but we do neither him or those who hear about this story any favors if we pretend that what he did is not a very serious sin and significant betrayal of his community. Of course he can be forgiven, but part of forgiveness is contrition and part of contrition is facing the true reality of your sin.

  27. I’m not judging him! What is the first spiritual work of mercy and what does it mean? I have not once judges him throughout this conversation! What I HAVE said is that I cannot and WILL NOT DO is wish him well! Fact: he was deceitful to his parish. Fact: he was deceitful to his superior. Fact: He entered into an invalid marriage that he as a priest, CANNOT do! I have said on several occasions throuout this conversation that I am praying for him that he turns this situation around and makes it right with God! Is that not practicing mercy and being patient with him? We can’t pick and chose what we want to practice in our faith. That’s being a cafeteria catholic and I refuse to be one of those! God have mercy on us all if we’ve reached that point!

  28. Rebecca, there seems to be a theme I see developed here and it is hard for us converts to understand and deal with. There is a strain of clericalism in cradle Catholics. They really expect a high standard of behavior from their priests, sometimes to the point that they are expected to be saintly and perfect no matter what. When they fail because they are human, Catholics are disappointed and disapproving. It is not right, but it happens. We have to pray for our priests always. They are definitely targets for satan and the evil spirits who like nothing better than to ruin a priest, whether by alcohol or drug abuse, indifference, sloth, pride, lust, envy, etc. Their struggle is much harder than ours even.
    Pray for your priests that Jesus will be with them, St Michael will do battle for them, the Blessed Mother will watch over them, always.

  29. One last thing I have not seen mentioned. There are women who are attracted to men they cannot or should not have relationships with. We hear about women who “fall in love” with men like Charles Manson, with husbands of other women and with priests. They present a whole nother problem for priests. Sometimes they are very hard to resist.

  30. Two points.

    (1) Diocesan priests do not “take a vow of celibacy,” i.e. promise to God that they will never marry. The celibacy requirement is a requirement of law and renders the cleric incapable of contracting marriage after ordination to the diaconate. The Pope (but only the Pope) can lift this impediment.

    (2) Popes have, in fact, dispensed priests from the impediment of orders after the priests were dismissed from the clerical state, thus allowing the dismissed priest to enter a valid marriage. So the Church’s position is not as cut and dry as you have presented. Priests and deacons cannot *normally* marry after ordination, except if the Pope allows it.

  31. Neither or nor I are “practicing” anything in this situation. We’re observers from the outside of it.

    Your sins are the ones you commit. If you had driven this priest to the marriage ceremony or counseled him to continue this relationship, then you would certainly be part of it. But I’m betting the first you knew about it was when it was publicly announced.

    By wishing him well, I am not wishing him to continue in an illicit relationship. I am wishing him well in all things. A person can not be doing well in anything if he or she is separated from God, so I am also wishing him a deeper conversion and fuller faith in God, no matter where his path takes him.

    As for admonishing him, hearing his confession, deciding his penance; I’m not part of that and I don’t want to be. Quaint as this may sound, I trust Archbishop Coakley to handle this situation in a Godly manner.

    I wish Fr (or Mr, if you prefer) Dan a holy, happy, life-long Catholic marriage and great, big Catholic family. I wish him well.

    As for his “sins,” they’re not my sins. This is Lent, and I’ve got sins of my own to repent of and pray for forgiveness of.

    Frankly, after everything God has forgiven me, I would be an ingrate to begrudge forgiveness for anyone else.

    Think on your own sins Neil, and get clear of them. We are in a time of increasing challenge, in which followers of Christ will be called to witness to their faith to the world. Pray that you do not fail the test my friend. Leave this priest’s punishment to his bishop and God.

    Also, however, you want to phrase it, wish him well. He is your brother in Christ who has fallen. Be a help in picking him back up again, at least with your prayers.

  32. I apologize wineinthewater. I was working on a post about another 90 Christians being taken prisoner by ISIS when I wrote that reply.

    I do not want to see people drive this good man out of the Church with their unkindness toward him. It exasperates me because I know very well that each and every one of us is a sinner ourselves. I also feel rather strongly that Archbishop Coakley can handle this situation and will do so with love and fealty to the Church.

    I trust my Archbishop and I cam concerned about the suffering people are heaping on Fr Dan with their wrathful expostulations. This is a human being we are talking about. His sin is exposed and he is in the hands of a wise bishop. Why do we need to hurt him more?

  33. That’s where we are different, I guess. It wouldn’t bother me a bit. I mean that. I would feel sorry for the priest, and I might, depending on what he had done, be really angry with him. But it would not tarnish my relationship with God.

    I know that from actual things that have happened in my life. At one time, yes, it might have done damage. but even then, not over something like this and certainly not now after all that I’ve been through with Jesus.

    As for people whose faith is in priests rather than God, they need prayer at least as much as Fr Dan, because one thing I know is that people will always disappoint you. People will betray you. People will turn on you. People will abandon you. People will break every rule.

    That is why Jesus had to die on a cross. That is also why your faith needs to be in Jesus Christ Who will not disappoint you, will not betray you or abandon you or turn on you. You can count on Christ, always.

  34. Maybe saying, “wish him well,” sounds like sending him a card, congratulating him. Instead, could you see it being, “sad for his sins, praying that he repents and makes reparation for his very public sins,” in other words, being merciful as God is merciful to us?

  35. I will pray for him that’s for sure. I will not wish him and his “wife” a long and happy life and hope that they have a big catholic family! Why would you or anyone else wish him happiness to live in grave, mortal sin?! I don’t understand why you would want that for anyone! My prayers and wishes for them is that they both see the error of their ways and turn back to God. We NEED to stop being cafeteriA Catholics, picking and choosing what we want to follow and /it not follow!

  36. You gave it a great try!

    I bet he’s helped people get right with the church when he was a priest. He deserves the same consideration.

    Every single person on this earth has the chance to get right with the church.

  37. JohnE_o, sometimes those old sayings from grandparents are true. “There’s no fool like an old fool.”
    Pray for him.

  38. I will – and for his bride…

    I’m reminded of what Spock said in “Amok Time”:

    “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.”

    May it not be the case for those two…

  39. I never said it would tarnish my faith, I said it would tarnish the memory. Perhaps the best pastor I ever had was removed from active ministry because of an allegation of misconduct. He was later quasi-cleared – his conduct was found to be unintentionally inappropriate, what they call a boundary violation now – but all of my good memories of him have that twinge of sadness. Those memories are now woven with the deep tragedy of abuse in our church and the larger world. It’s not a huge deal. I still believe that he was an amazing pastor and am still grateful for all he did for my family. My faith was not lessened, maybe even strengthened. But the reality is that the joy and peace that once characterized those memories and experiences have been dimmed by this new sadness. You may not be moved by something like this, but I think most people would be.

    I also said nothing of people whose faith is in priests rather than God. I was just talking about those whose faith is weak. For many, their faith cannot weather too many, if any, blows, even indirect ones like this kind of major scandal. Remember Paul’s injunction to those of greater faith, to avoid even that which is not sin out of consideration for their brothers and sisters of less faith. When we minimize things like this, we minimize what could be the difference making blow to a person’s faith. I just don’t think that’s charitable. We are a community of faith, not just a bunch of individuals putting our individual faith in Jesus, we are our brothers’ keepers.

  40. Diocesan priests do not take “vows”…consecrated Religious take solemn vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. Those admitted and ordained into the Diocesan priesthood make “promises” of the same.

  41. Certainly:
    “Again, the prayer put up in the mass can be considered in two
    respects: first of all, in so far as it has its efficacy from the
    devotion of the priest interceding, and in this respect there is no doubt but that the mass of the better priest is the more fruitful.
    In another respect, inasmuch as the prayer is said by the priest in
    the Mass in the place of the entire Church, of which the priest is the
    minister; and this ministry remains even in sinful men, as was said
    above (Article 5) in regard to Christ’s ministry. Hence, in this respect
    the prayer even of the sinful priest is fruitful, not only that
    which he utters in the Mass, but likewise all those he recites in the
    ecclesiastical offices, wherein he takes the place of the Church. On the
    other hand, his private prayers are not fruitful, according to Proverbs
    28:9: “He that turneth away his ears from hearing the law, his prayer
    shall be an abomination.” (Summa theologiae III q. 82, a. 6, resp)

  42. “Personally, I’m all ok with Father Dan and his bride. I wish them a long, happy, holy marriage and a great big Catholic family.”

    Fr. Dan is not actually married, at least not in a sacramental sense. By virtue of being ordained, he cannot validly contract marriage. Canon 1087 says explicitly, “Those in sacred orders (i.e. being ordained a deacon, priest, bishop) invalidly attempt marriage.” Note that Canon law says the cleric who attempts the marriage does so not merely illicitly, but invalidly.

    As to a comment you made to another chatter about Jesus’ blood not covering sins – it does, but we have to repent.

  43. He’s not married in a Catholic sense. He has contracted a civil marriage. However, as a cleric, per Canon 1087 of the CIC, he invalidly (not just illicitly) attempts marriage.

  44. I do not want to see him driven out of the Church either. But, I also don’t want to see him convinced that the wedge he has driven between himself and Jesus does not exist or isn’t so big. Perhaps this goes back to my own experience. I regret all the time that I wasted farther from Jesus than I thought I was because those around me minimized my sins and their impact. When we soft pedal this man’s sins, we do the same athing, we deceive him as to the impact of his actions on his relationship with Jesus.

    That might hurt, but it is a therapeutic hurt as opposed to the lasting hurt that would result from him never confronting the true consequences of his sin. It is not our place to judge or condemn, but being honest about the severity of this situation is not doing either of those.

  45. I don’t, nor did I say one way or the other. I’m just making sure we all understand that repenting is a necessary condition of the possibility of being forgiven. Has he repented of attempting to contract a marriage when it is, per Canon law, invalid? Since this has caused public scandal, has he attempted to set things right publicly? Whether he’s repentant or not is between him and his confessor, but there are public acts which would coincide with that (i.e. he would no longer be living in adultery with a woman to whom he is not actually able to be wed unless/until he receives a dispensation from the Holy See).

  46. Where we disagree is with whose job it is to talk to him about these things. I do not think that public excoriation on the internet is the right place, method of manner for the conversation. That is for the archbishop and for people who know him and can talk to him in a personal manner to do.

    I said he committed a sin any number of times. What exasperated and saddened me was the insistence that I must also express anger and outrage toward this man personally or I was somehow failing in my Christian duty. That runs exactly counter to the Gospels.

    There is nothing therapeutic about a public shaming; not for the poor soul who has it aimed at them, and not for the poor fools who indulge in it. It hurts people, and when it’s coupled with faith, it drives them away from God.

  47. I guess we do. I think that it is every Christian’s job. If people seemed to be insisting on anger then they have a problem. My comments about being honest about the nature of his sin were not meant to be any kind of public shaming. If this conversation had never been public, I never would have said anything publicly. I saw public commentary that I thought minimized the seriousness of his sin that I wanted to offer a counter-argument for. I saw that as important both for him (on the minuscule chance he would ever read some comment I left in this corner of the blogosphere) but also for those of us faithful engaged in this conversation.

    But also, take the flip side of what you wrote. Public commentary that seems to minimize the seriousness of his sin also takes on the role that you ascribe solely to his archbishop and relations. It lays out an opinion about what should happen to him, what should be his fate. I think that is fine, but you can’t do that and then criticize those who express a contrary opinion (this being completely separate from those who are uncharitable or inquisitorial).

  48. Could we knock it off with the baby talk: “Father Dan”

    Baby talk faithful with a baby talk priest = priests running away to get married.

  49. Exactly right. Letourneau is not the first priest in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to be dating and/or married and still trying to carrying on as a priest.

    1963 – 1966 Fr. Alfred Kelly, St. Barbara’s, Lawton. Kelly was age 25 and newly ordained with a nice European degree from Louvain, Belgium (i.e. a high flier in the Church). He immediately started dating one of the “Grail Ladies” who were the “teaching sisters” for St. Barbara’s School. My mother and I caught Kelly and his date at a convenience store late on a Friday night. Within a year, Kelly was out of the priesthood and married.

    1970s – the pastor at the other parish in Lawton told me that the Archbishop had to suspend the pastor at another parish who was sleeping with and/or married to his housekeeper.

    1/3rd of all priests resigned to get married in the 1960s. The fruit of Vatican II.

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