Rod Dreher posts a question for and response from Bishop Charles Grahmann of Dallas, who turns 75 on Saturday and must submit his resignation to the Holy Father. The questioner asks what the bishop’s greatest regrets might be. Considering that he shuffled about and enabled one of the worst priest-predators in the whole Scandal, Rudy Kos, in addition to several other priests who have sullied the collar over the years, you might think he would express some regrets for any role he played in the matter. Here’s what Rod wrote:
You would think. But how un-Grahmann-like that would be! Here’s an excerpt from the special Grahmann newspaper section published by the diocese (and unavailable online):
If you could have changed anything during the last 16 years, what would that be and why?
First of all, when I came here I did not know the composition of the life of the church here, of the people. The very wealthy—and then the very poor. I would have more forcefully challenged people to a conversion of heart. I would have challenged those with more resources to share them. I would have also challenged the concept of power and control, and invited people to unite as one body and serve everyone, esepcially the poor and the needy. Toward the end of my ministry here, I see how entrenched all of that is! That leaves me very sad. This abyss between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots, is deep—how deep it is! If I could have changed anything, I would have more forcefully challenged people to a conversion of heart.
That’s beautiful, Bishop. I’m sure the family of Jay Lernberger, an altar boy your priest Rudy Kos molested, and who later committed suicide, will be so touched by your words.
This is the kind of pastoral sensitivity that Bishop Grahmann has become so well-known for here in Dallas. I swear, Saturday can’t come fast enough.
As a priest who emailed Rod about the quote said, Grahmann’s regret is that he didn’t recognized how screwed up are the people in his diocese when he came. What we get from the bishop is a lot of the same pious mumblings that we often hear, a sort of “Sleep tight, be well fed,” that the oblivious rich man unconsciously throws out to the homeless man lying on his doorstep. We hear some vague assurances about the need to remember the poor, which seems to be a default fallback position of clerics who want some non-specific, but pious words with which to answer the questioner. The passing of a certain generation of bishops and replacement of the new breed can’t come soon enough.