The local Maine media has picked up the story of my mother’s pastor who was forced to resign last week. I first mentioned this on Sunday. It jibes pretty much with what the diocese told me on Monday although it adds a bit more detail.
- Diocesan spokeswoman Sue Bernard says Bishop Joseph Gerry was concerned about Thomson’s management of the church’s finances and about a persistent rumor of an “inappropriate relationship” with an adult female parishioner. Bernard says that if Thomson wishes to return to ministry, he would have to be reevaluated. This is not the first time Thomson has been on leave. Thomson was pastor of Saint Andrew’s in Augusta when he was convicted and fined six years ago for soliciting a prostitute in Lewiston. He was placed on leave, and the diocese says he received counseling before being installed as assistant pastor at Saint Maximilian Kolbe in Scarborough.
I knew about the finances and the rumor of a relationship, but I didn’t know he’d been suspended before. What does it say about the state of things when you’re glad it was with an adult woman?
My impressions of the pastor? He was fairly orthodox, his homilies were good, although he tended to be a bit of a showman. I went to confession with him once and he was helpful and gave me what I considered appropriate spiritual advice and penance. He was a very nice guy and was loved by the parish (evidently too much by one person).
I’m sad to see such things happen and for a man’s personal weaknesses to pull him down as well as a whole parish. A priest’s sins don’t affect only him, but challenge the faith of many who look to him. That’s why it’s so important that the Church is highly selective about the men she ordains to the priesthood.