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a regrettable lapse

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 24, 2004

"We're very saddened by the whole experience," said the Rev. Michael Billian, Episcopal vicar of the Diocese of Toledo. "It certainly saddens the diocese that any one of its ministers would be in this situation."

The human condition is sinful and priests are human, Father Billian said.

Thanks, Father! A very timely reminder. The behavior of our clergy has been so godly in recent years that we tend to forget, and are very saddened by, the reflection that they do foolish and even naughty things sometimes. So what foible of imperfect humanity has turned up in the Diocese of Toledo? Breaking the Eucharist fast by snarfing Hershey bars? Polluting the Sabbath with pinochle?

The Rev. Gerald Robinson faces a charge of murder in the death of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. The 71-year-old woman, who belonged to the Sisters of Mercy of the Union, was found dead April 5, 1980. It was Holy Saturday. Sources described her death as part of a ritual slaying in which Sister Margaret was strangled, then covered with an altar cloth, and stabbed several times along the neck and torso.

Police yesterday said she was stabbed 27 to 32 times, with most of the wounds inflicted after she died. Her body had been posed and it initially appeared that she had been sexually assaulted, though authorities offered no details last night.

Hey, the human condition is sinful and, as Fr. Billian says so well, priests are human. The fact the authorities should get so upset about one mistake that allegedly occurred 24 years in the past shows that, inter alia, they need to nail some more covenants on cathedral doors in northwestern Ohio.

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 24, 2004 3:28 PM ET USA

    The story said that Bishop Blair "stands in prayerful support." What does that mean? Is he praying that Fr. Robinson didn't ritually murder this person? Is he praying that Fr. Robinson will be acquitted and the whole unpleasant affair will go away? This kind of horrible crime sounds like something out of Malachi Martin's book "Windswept House." What other devils are loose in the sanctuary?

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