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Fr. McGinnity's Friends Speak Up

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jul 09, 2005

In my last column, on the spiritual problem of predictability, I used the injustice suffered by Fr. Gerald McGinnity in Ireland as an illustration. Part of my critique was directed at how Fr. McGinnity responded to the news of his vindication. To emphasize how much he had been injured by being removed from his seminary position and assigned to parish work seemed to me to indicate a certain spiritual shallowness.

What was important about the column, of course, was not the assessment of Fr. McGinnity, but the assessment of his quoted remarks. As I indicated, it is not fair to judge the man from one quotation, for fear that the inference concerning his character might be wildly incorrect.

With this in mind, I am pleased to report that any such inference is indeed incorrect. I received kindly messages from two people in Ireland who know Fr. McGinnity well and have benefited greatly from his ministry. Both affirm that he is a deeply spiritual priest, wholly devoted to souls, and not at all bitter because of past treatment. One correspondent explained that Fr. McGinnity was attempting, in the remarks cited, to use the language of the world to put additional pressure on the bishops to discharge their responsibilities more faithfully, now and in the future.

If this was Fr. McGinnity's strategy (and I have no confirmation from him that it was), one can certainly quarrel with it. It is difficult to see how worldly bishops will benefit from being addressed in worldly language; moreover, the bishops will undoubtedly be a very small minority of those who read and evaluate these remarks at face value. But I am delighted to learn of Fr. McGinnity's outstanding priestly character, and even more delighted to pass this information along to all who have read my column.

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