Geoghan report due

Geoghan report due

The Massachusetts state investigation into the death of laicized priest John Geoghan will be released soon. There has been a four-month investigation into the murder of Geoghan in his cell in a state maximum-security prison where he was serving a sentence for molesting kids. While the killer, another convict, confessed to the crime, the culpability of corrections officials, including allegedly abusive guards and dismissive prison officers, was the focus of the investigation. Legal aid advocates say that hundreds of complaints have been filed about abusive guards who act like God. Geoghan was reportedly transferred to the maximum-security prison for failing to show respect to his guards at his previous location, someplace more suitable for an old man accused of molesting children.

John Geoghan deserved prison time, but he didn’t deserve death, especially death at the hands of a convicted murderer, but perhaps his death will act as a bit of atonement, helping to correct a system that is out of control and instead allow it to dispense that which it is designed to dispense: justice.

  • He didn’t deserve death because that wasn’t his sentence.

    He was murdered.

    When does anybody deserve to be murdered?

    Are you referring to a human being as a malignancy?

    What “better time and place” are you referring to, when “the Catholic Church itself” would have “excised” this human being—or in your words, “malignancy?”

    And, with all due respect, I think the term you’re trying for is “namby pamby.”

  • Sock,

    John Geoghan was not a monster or a demon. He was a sinful human being. To dehumanize him is to minimize the horror of sin. A monster or a demon is expected to do horrible things, and thus it doesn’t impinge on our own consciences. Christ didn’t die for the actions of monsters or demons, but for the sins of men. When a human being commits a heinous sin, it should cause us to reflect on our own capacity for sin. “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

    And that’s why I also pray for men who commit monstrous sins: Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam, Osama. It doesn’t mean I condone the sin or even that I like the sinners. In fact, I don’t particularly want to pray for them, but I do so because the Lord commanded it.

    Kelly can stand up for herself, but I think you took too much offense at her statements. She is a friend of mine and I don’t think she is deliberately contentious (women or no.)

  • Hey, cut me some slack, Sock!

    I mean, jeepers. First I have to cope with all the inadequacies and deficiencies in my life. And then you throw a word like “contentious” at me, so I’ve gotta drop everything to look it up…give me a break! Sheesh, no wonder I’ve got “issues.”

    You like “mamby pamby,” then keep “mamby pamby.” Didn’t mean to offend, honest. One man’s “mamby pamby” is another’s “namby-pamby,” I always say.

    And I can’t “not read” your posts…at least not easily. See, the e-mail notification just reads “Somebody just responded to your post”—not “Sock just responded to your post.” Besides, I LIKE reading your posts. Can’t I keep reading your posts?

    Anyway, thanks for the link on the Inquisition. Do you really think I’m contentious?

  • No problem, Sock. I get that “edge” thing, too, sometimes…just ask my friends, family, and co-workers (and fellow parishioners, parish priests, butcher, baker, local wine merchant, gas station guy, etc.)

    Grazie, and buon Natale e l’anno nuovo buono to you too! (I hope I got that right…my Italiano isn’t all that great.) And I’m really glad you’re posting and not just lurking.


    Kelly <———Dom? Dom who? wink

  • Probably you all know this but I didn’t. In his last paragraph, I think Sock is referring to the book “Liberalism is a Sin,” referenced here:

    Sock, I don’t know that anybody here is against calling evil “evil,” or sin “sin.” God help us, I wish more of our spiritual leaders would identify evil and sin outrightly and often.

    This thread is confusing to me, though, probably because it requires intellect I simply don’t possess in order to completely grasp it. This line, for example:

    “The order of charity demands that those who are nearer to us ought to command most but certainly not all of our attention and our prayers. “

    We just celebrated the Feast of Saint Stephen. Who, just before dying, prayed for his killers. Just like Jesus did. I can’t imagine anybody farther away from Jesus and Stephen then their killers. What am I missing, here?

    Anyway, I’ll read Father Salvany’s writings. Thanks.

  • “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19-21)

    “‘He deserves death.’ ‘Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.’” (Frodo and Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring, chapter 2.)

    There is a reason a society does not give right of punishment to the victims of crime. Punishment must be dispassionate and redress the ill done to all of society, not just the victim. And certainly, the death John Geoghan received was very cruel—throttled by a hate-filled murderer who sat on his back and banged his head on the floor. The Church does not teach the use of the death penalty for retribution, but only for the protection of society from those who continue to do grievous harm by their life. John Geoghan was going to do no one any more harm.

  • Prayer is not a zero-sum game or a simple listing of names. It is an attitude of the heart as well. We should be prepared to pray for enemies, i.e. enemies of Christ, as we encounter them, even if we’re not currently including them on our list of people to pray for.

    In fact, I rarely run down a list of names when I pray, mainly because I have a bad memory for prayer requests. I simply ask for prayers for all those for whom I have been asked to pray and for those for whom I had resolved to pray. And if my attitude toward some was such to pray for them, it will be done.

  • Sock,

    Re: the quote from Aquinas. That’s all I’ve been saying. We should not exclude our enemies from the prayers we offer up for others. I’m not saying anyone has an obligation to pray for Geoghan individually, but we shouldn’t have an attitude that dismisses all great sinners as monsters and write them off. We are obliged to pray for them generally.