Under pressure

Under pressure

When people complain about imperious and arrogant bishops now they have a poster boy for their complaint. Archbishop Patrick Flores of San Antonio does not come off very well in this article about a deposition he gave in August.

A woman is suing the archbishop because she says he publicized her confidential charges against a priest, which forced her out of her job. I’ve heard plenty of times of bishops telling people that whatever they tell them is confidential and then having it get back to the pastor or whomever else it was they complained about. We had a letter to the editor about it in the last issue of Catholic World Report.

But in the deposition, Flores completely loses composure. When asked why he didn’t ask the priest, Father Michael Kenny—who left the priesthood after admitting havng a sexual relationship with a woman in 2000—about other women he was involved with so the women could be offered assistance, Flores says he didn’t think of it and that he can’t be expected to take care of everything. OK.

Flores said that all sexual abuse allegations will be taken seriously and investigated promptly but says he didn’t read the women’s complaint. When asked how he can say that the policy will be taken seriously, he only says, “We just simply pray and hope.” And when asked when he would read the complaint, he said, “Maybe when I retire in a year from now.” When the lawyer told him that a judge has the authority to compel him to answer questions, he replied, “I have the authority to refuse.”

Can you imagine anyone else getting away with such outrageous behavior? I can’t wait to see him on a witness stand in court. He’s going to get eaten alive.

The spokesman for the archdiocese says that the archbishop had been subject to hours of questioning designed to provoke him. But I agree with Diogenes on this:

Lawyers are paid to ruffle the composure of witnesses. And bishops are especially vulnerable to the pressures of close cross-questioning, since they are so completely unaccustomed to being held responsible for their statements. It shows. 

Then there is another well known reason for being uneasy under questioning: a peril that George Washington neatly avoided when he was grilled about the cherry tree.