Monday’s post about the priest who allegedly stole church money for porn, got quite a response. To my surprise — or maybe it’s relief — I’m not the only one who sees Father Keith’s story as one of addiction and suffering more than one of personal evil.
Some of the more powerful comments came by way of LinkedIn, one of the social networking sites where this blog appears. I wanted to use some space to share what people had to say:
There but for the Grace of God go I. Which commandment have priest broken? All of them. We esteem them to for their personal character but for the indelible character of ordination. Those hands that sinned are also the hands that bring us Our Lord Jesus Christ, every day, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. How many faithful have no priest?
As for porn. It is a plague. Sunday while you’re at church, look around. One out of every three men sitting there with their families has an addiction to porn. Good men. Generous and faithful–except for this one sin. It is destroying men’s ability to relate to women in any meaningful way–especially their wives. It is destroying families. It is handicapping parishes. The PC and the internet has caused evil to proliferate in an unprecedented way.
Men, if you (I was) are trapped in this addiction, get help. There are resources. Here’s one:
Posted by Jeff King
The Priest is human. He made a serious mistake and by the law he must pay the consequences. The greater issue is the breach of his fiduciary duties in his role as a Priest. A Priest is held to higher standards and must exercise the office with caution. That being said, he sounds as though he is a man of God and his work is extraordinary. If he can be rehabilitated, he certainly should be allowed to practice his vocation although it sounds as though it should be in a different capacity. My questions would be regarding the oversight of the board in this case and where is the rest of the money?
Posted by Dave Profitt
A priest in our Diocese was charged with theft of over a million dollars from the very residential facility for indigent alcoholics which he founde in 1979.. He admitted to over 3 million in theft. He was sentenced to a day in federal custody and then on probation for (I cannot recall), but I think a number of years. Working at this world-class facility as a clinical counselor, I was completely in awe of this man and still am. I only worked there for three months as the salary was so low, but I remained in contact with this priest. His dedication to the indigent addicted individual was so obvious; I witnessed so many miracles while I was there (in three months). I contuned to refer persons who, having lost everything, even if still gainfully employed, got their lives back through the miracle of this residential facility..
Come to find out, according to the papers, his “addiction” was to money!!! Who’d ‘ve thought?! He was “hoarding” money; the articles talked of his having lost his father at a young age and having to witness his mother raising a large family on her own. I get all of that. My issue is with his Board: I found, out via a client of mine, (via confidential EAP counseling) that this priest would drive a very expensive BMW to work everyday which was given to him as a gift. My client, an indigent, shared his sense of being “aghast” when he would see this priest pulling up to work in ths vehicle everyday!
The big “neon light” for me was: the BMW. This priest, apparently dedicated to the indigent alcoholic, many of whom (including my client, many years removed, who was finally gainfully employed) were, according to my client, equally aghast at him driving his vehicle into work ,as I described. It was like: “Hey, you guys lost everything but, it’s OK for to for me drive this expensive car to work.” What a cruel, cruel (I haven’t used THAT word in awhile)) thing to do: drive a very expensive BMW to work in plain site of those who had lost EVERYTHING to this disease…. If the Board, unless they are the ones who gave him this vehicle, confronted him, and IF the priest had an issue with this, then the Tis a classic case. I feel for the priest…really!
Posted by Margie (Sypniewski) Roop, LPCC-S; CEAP
Great blog & totally agree. The poor chap. True he shouldn’t have taken money to feed the addiction but we can’t have a one strike & the priest is out policy should we? This is one of those examples where I’m quite sure he can be restored spiritually. It wasn’t illegal pornography so this does not make him a pervert as such, impure when sinning but not a danger to others in any way & frankly the man will probably be an even better leader to other men (& women) similarly addicted. My view? As if being a celibate priest with the temptations about these days isn’t difficult if near heroic when acheived! Please … I hope he returns to ministry and is welcomed back enthusiastically.
Posted by Jason Richardson, AFA, FFTA