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By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 30, 2004

Fr. Richard Poster, director of liturgy for the Diocese of Davenport, has pleaded guilty to downloading hard-core child porn. The judge gave him a year in prison.

Poster told the judge he would not return to the priesthood and has come to terms with his sexual identity after years of struggling to balance desire with the clergy's vow of celibacy and the Roman Catholic church's opposition to homosexuality.

This particular balancing act seems commonplace in the liturgy business -- as do the falls from the wire. One thinks of Fr. Michael Spillane, director of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) for sixteen years, who was defrocked for molesting six boys; or of Spillane's successor, Fr. Kenneth Martin, who crashed and burned for molesting a male high school student; or again of the famous John Huels, a Servite priest and influential liturgical canonist in Ottawa, who likewise was forced to resign for abusing a male, and is now seeking laicization.

Oh, they have one more thing in common. In each case it was the pressure of external constraint -- law enforcement or the media -- that forced their ecclesial superiors to act.

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 31, 2004 1:26 AM ET USA

    As a resident of the diocese of Davenport, I am not surprised that this happened here.

  • Posted by: O'Solanus - Jan. 30, 2004 12:22 PM ET USA

    Perhaps bishops would be more accountable to the people they are supposed to serve if every news story about a priest molesting children identified the bishop who ordained him.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 30, 2004 12:06 PM ET USA

    Fifty years ago in the parish hall of my rural Irish parish a sign was prominently displayed which admonished: "No Jitterbugging". And that was the parish hall, not the church! Today we have evolved to 'Liturgical Dance'. Fr. O'Donoghue must be turning in his grave...

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jan. 30, 2004 9:58 AM ET USA

    "Come to terms with his sexuality" Terms? Sounds to me like the only terms that this crowd has coming are consecutive sentences at a penal institution.