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Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Think of it as pastoral outreach to the massage parlor community.

Dallas bishop Charles Grahmann refuses to remove priest who admitted to abusive behavior (registration required), despite a recommendation by his co-adjutor bishop. Moreover, the masseur in this case apparently has "issues":

"Father Alvarez acknowledged 'inappropriate contact' with the Houston-area man and was told to resume counseling about 'boundary issues' that he'd previously undergone voluntarily, diocesan Chancellor Mary Edlund said."

"Resume counselling." Oh, yeah, great idea. Especially since it worked so well the first time. Although I have to acknowledge that grabbing another man's privates after he's come to you for help certainly qualifies as a "boundary issue."

This is par for the course for the leadership in Dallas, who in April took a hard line against two priests who failed to implement background checks for church workers. Here's the tough talk about the two errant priests:

"'What I hope would happen would be that pastors realize that bishops couldn't be any more serious about wanting this policy followed," Sister Walsh said. "I think that's the message that comes from this ... we mean business.'"

Uh-huh. They sure do mean business. The bottom line? Priests who don't do background checks on the bookkeeper and maintenance man get fired, but one who fondles a vulnerable parishoner during "counselling" gets continued tenure and "counselling" about "boundary issues." Got it.

Let's see: looks like we can strike "appointment of co-adjutor bishop" from the rapidly-shrinking list of Ways To Make A Bishop Do His Damn Job.

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