Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another Question for my Readers (this one is even tougher!)

Since you all gave such great advice I thought I'd run another question past you. This isn't my question, but when I read it yesterday I really wanted to find the best possible answer for it (if there really is a "best possible answer" for such a hard situation), because it is a very serious issue. As a mom I'd be horrified and would want to warn every person I knew with a child... but like the writer of the question I'd also want to believe that the person was genuinely reformed (and of course the moment I thought that the next thought that comes to mind is that the very sort of logic I was using was the one that cause quite a bit of trouble in the past). So, I'll try to give my own answer and then leave the question open to you. Here it is:
There is a person at my parish who is active in a couple of adult parish organizations and also serves at daily morning Mass. I just discovered that he is a registered sex offender and has his photo and info listed on line. His crime (a serious one) was against a 6-year old. He is on probation for another 2 years.

My dilemma is that I feel like I ought to trust that he has made things right with God and must assume that he has made a proper confession and such. I don't see him hanging around any kids at the parish. I believe he ought to have a chance to love and serve the Lord with the new life that God grants. The difficulty is that this crime and punishment are public and quite serious. With all the problems of this sort in the Church today, I do have a problem seeing this man serving at the altar publicly in front of a community already so burdened with the scandals of the past years. Most people do not know his crime and punishment. I do not want to damage his reputation. But I don't necessarily think that every person who is reconciled with God should be able to return to all of their former activities. I do not know whether to approach Father, who I believe does not know since the conviction happened before his time at the parish.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
I think I would talk with my parish priest privately, outside of confession (maybe right after? or whenever he had a chance) and tell him what you'd discovered and how as a mother the situation really worries you.

Without being specific about the name of the person I'd also be tempted to tell other moms that I know that it's always a good idea to check out the database of local offenders. I'd be really torn about that as well... but as a mom I think I'd want that suggestion.

Actually since moving to our current town I'd never looked at the registry and I just went over (if you're in California it can be found here...) and was disturbed at how many there are around us and how many look like grandpas (until you go to the list of "offenses").

What a hard situation...

And to wrap up yesterdays question, in the end it was out of my hands. My husband went to our priest after he got off work and told him what had happened, and asked him if he wanted to know the identity of the person, as they have access to at least one of the buildings when no one is around... the answer was not surprising.


  1. Based upon what you've shared here, this man is not behaving suspiciously, and aside from his history on paper there is no problem. I can understand the concern as a mother, but unless he is working with children then there really isn't a problem and it would be akin to slander i.m.o. While desiring to safeguard children is well and good, this man also deserves respect. If he were a youth minister or sunday school teacher my response would be very different. It is also possible to be wronfully convicted, so... I would keep my eyes and heart open but my lips zipped. And pray for him.

  2. Brooke says it best. Close comments now. :)


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