So you have this pastor. He’s admitted to visiting hundreds of pornographic web sites on the rectory’s computer. He was removed for counseling. Now there’s a debate in the parish because some people say that, since he wasn’t viewing child porn, he should be returned. Others say that we don’t know if he viewed child porn and we shouldn’t jump to conclusions and endanger our kids.
I think they’re missing the point. I think Fr. Papa should be removed from his parish for an extended period of retreat, before he can perhaps be returned to ministry. Otherwise, his ministry is suspect. Viewing porn doesn’t automatically discredit a guy forever—if that were the case I know a lot of guys who would be quickly tossed out on their rears—but it does mean that his ability to minister in that parish has been compromised and he needs to deal with his sinful habit and do something that engenders confidence in the people that he will be a virtuous pastor.
By the way, Fr. Papa was a mover-and-shaker in the local Voice of the Faithful. Hmm.
A reader makes the following point:
- The Newsday article says Padre Papa’s fondness for kiddie porn “surprised nearly everyone.” Those who were not surprised are not named or quoted. My hunch is that such people are mean-spirited, unforgiving, judgmental, rigid, unsuitable for ministry in today’s pluralist Church, and absolutely spot on target.