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Disturbing NYT piece on priestly misconduct — this time with consenting adults

October 16, 2009

I am struggling to process this NYT story about a Franciscan priest who allegedly seduced a woman who came to him for marital counseling and eventually fathered a child with her. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to take from the piece. The woman, who was married with three children when she began a relationship with the priest, showed incredibly poor judgment. The priest, who allegedly seduced other women and who ignored his son for years, just seems pathological. And now the poor product of this ill-advised relationship is a young man dying from brain cancer. What a mess.

But oh yeah … the takeaway. I’m still not sure. Laurie Goodstein tells us that there are more cases of priests having relationships with adult women than of priests abusing minors. Well that’s good, I guess. I mean, it’s better than molesting kids. But the whole thing is still pretty disturbing. Clearly the woman in this story doesn’t know how to pick men. Divorce, priest affair, divorce, divorce. But clearly she has some right to expect financial assistance from the church.

Blech. I give up. This really is just a mess. The priest should have been removed from ministry. And shunned. What a schmuck. But this woman should be throttled for putting her kids in this confusing and damaging situation and bringing another child into the mix with a man who was not going to be a stable father figure.

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