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Our Fabulous Florida Bishops, Snapshot #4

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 10, 2003

In March of 2002, Keith Symons's successor as Bishop of Palm Beach, Bishop Anthony O'Connell, admitted that, as a seminary rector, he "touched inappropriately in bed" a high school seminarian in the years spanning the ninth through twelfth grades. Somewhat cryptically he announced there could be "one other person of a somewhat similar situation, in a somewhat similar time frame." At the press conference following his resignation, O'Connell said, "I will have to confess that in some ways I was very misguided back in those years." He also mentioned that he'd made "wonderful Jewish friends" during his brief period in Palm Beach, as well as "wonderful friends in the Muslim community, in the Protestant community and in the civic community."

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  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Nov. 11, 2003 12:14 AM ET USA

    It gives one pause: would a Bishop be struck by a bolt of lightning from the heavens above, if he admitted that he sinned? Think back to the 1980's televangelist scandals. By that sorry measure, Jimmy Swaggart gave a more "Catholic" confession before tv cameras than is seen here.

  • Posted by: Jdarc - Nov. 10, 2003 11:18 PM ET USA

    O'Connell went from rector to Bishop of Knoxville. He made great strides in this new diocese, setting in place guidelines & policies in this area .. measure to keep this from ever becoming an issue. Recognition of this work is what moved him to Palm Beach. Misguided in the past, I agree!! Yet I give the man credit for learning from his mistakes & taking steps when in position to do so to keep it from happening again elsewhere. Give him a little credit for trying to right a wrong.

  • Posted by: Phil - Nov. 10, 2003 5:40 PM ET USA

    Matter for confession: "I was very misguided." Sounds bad indeed. But wait! Notice the passive tense. If I "was misguided," then someone misguided me. I'm a victim!

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