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Public Priestly Ministry

July 27, 2009

One of the lies I keep finding McMahon doing always catches my eye — substituting his words for the actual words in the legal/pastoral agreement.

It’s really a very serious problem and the kind of thing YOU would notice too.

But I am thinking about just one of those lies here.

McMahon keeps saying “public sacramental ministry” — and knowingly using wrong words — since I’ve told him a few times he’s making that mistake.  The agreement says no “public priestly ministry”.   Sacramental ministry is a (very important) subset of priestly ministry.   The agreement says no public priestly ministry.  (FYI, it also says no priestly faculties.)

The abuser violated both:   McMahon’s public sacramental ministry and the larger public priestly ministry that is the actual restriction in the agreement.  ( e.g. 50th anniversary at a Sunday mass.)    He also violated public priestly ministry, as Father O’Connell giving the public prayer before the St. Patrick’s Day parade in St. Louis in 2009.  (That’s why McMahon wants to lie about the words.  It was in the news.)

This is one of the examples of where I’m coming from, but there are loads of others….
When I was a kid, our parish offered a summer religious ed program,  and I took part from first grade to fourth grade, when the whole thing ended.

Fr. Hart, the parish priest, drove the school bus that drove us home.   It was a sprawling suburban town, ten miles either way from the church.   I think I knew when I was in first grade that it was odd that Fr. Hart dropped me off last all the time, not first, when my street was closest to the church.

One day I asked him why.   “Because I enjoy talking to you.”

We talked about saints —  every summer day for four years.

Public priestly ministry.

Public priestly ministry and public sacramental ministry are not the same thing, and the people who substitute words have something to hide.  Lying 101.

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And a footnote to this story…..  that says something about our current Church…..

I was sitting and talking to my bishop a few years ago, and I had a Fr. Hart priestly ministry story to tell.   My bishop immediately jumped ahead, “Fr. Hart didn’t harm you, did he?” “No”, I said, and watching as my bishop said “I am so relieved.   No one ever made an allegation about him.”    I remember noticing that what he was saying didn’t match his body.  He didn’t look relieved at all.   I think he was wondering why he asked…

(Long strange journey for a lot of people, isn’t it?  And aren’t you glad you’re not a bishop?)

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