Saturday, January 03, 2004

Coal for Bishop Gossman's stocking Peace, all. Hard to know where exactly to file this one on a diocesan Catholic newspaper editor getting fired just before Christmas. First, you can chalk it up to diocesan newspapers being seen as little more than overblown puff vehicles for the bishop's schedule and the events that would draw single digit turnouts if it weren't for the free food. Or the bishop showing up. Second, even if a lay person -- much less a journalist -- took working for a bishop seriously, you'd have to check the mental health of someone who succeeded Mr. Strange in this position. Who's going to take this job? Really. Third, I'm disappointed I'm not a subscriber. I don't have the pleasure of cancelling my subscription. This story really belongs under the heading of They Still Don't Get It. The bishops got into trouble on sex abuse because they failed the accountability test with the laity. They assumed that because they had the "power" they could use it: lie to victims and their families about the reassignment of predators, lie to other bishops about criminals they were farming out, lie to the criminal justice system. Some of the readers will take me to task on this. Go ahead. A bishop has the power to hire and fire at will. So what? So does God. God can do a lot more than that. God, however, shows divine restraint in dealing with people who don't measure up. It is somehow conceivable that something else inspired Mr. Strange's dismissal. And if this were indeed serious enough to merit termination, I'm afraid to say Bishop Gossman still doesn't get it. The whole episode makes him look like a pouty, immature, brat. Clearly, prudence, patience, and restraint are not virtues cultivated in prelate finishing schools. Does this decision ensure fidelity to the Church? Far from it. A commenter here on Amy Welborn's site summed it up just right: "...in the Catholic Church today, the truth does not set you free. It gets your ass fired"

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