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Boundary issues

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 20, 2004

Msgr. Dale Fushek, founder and director of Life Teen, and former right-hand man to the rapidly-retired Bishop Thomas ("Road Kill") O’Brien of Phoenix, is again in the news. And once again boundaries are an issue.

The Congregation on Divine Worship has informed the Msgr. that having teenagers dance around the sanctuary poses a "boundary problem" during the sacrifice of the Mass.

A few years back Msgr. Fushek himself had some boundary issues with a convicted sex offender, one Mark Gherna. As Fushek reported it:

"Several years ago, I found myself in a situation where my own words and actions, which I considered to be words and actions of affection, were interpreted by an adult staff member as having sexual connotations," Fushek said from the pulpit in a recording obtained by The Republic. "This man complained about that to the diocese."...

After the settlement (of $45,000), Fushek said he went through a psychological evaluation that helped him see himself more clearly.

"I learned that I have a much more dominant personality than I knew I had," he said in the interview.

"If I'm not really careful, people get intimidated and offended. I learned I have to be really careful in what I say and do because of my personality and my position."

Relationships are difficult for anybody, said Fushek, but especially priests.

"You do want closeness and friendship and healthy intimacy," he said, "and yet you have a vow or a promise to have clear boundaries in that.”

Although the Vatican has tried to define carefully what constitutes inappropriate behavior during the Mass, Msgr. Fushek wasn’t quite so specific about the nature of his trespasses against the former Life Teen volunteer. So we're left to guess: What would be a "boundary violation" for a priest with a dominant personality, approaching a convicted sex offender?

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: AveMaria580 - Jul. 22, 2004 8:31 PM ET USA

    Talk of boundaries is self-defeating unless you know the identity of a thing. It is the identity that determines the boundaries. A person without clarity concerning what a human being is, who they are and who the other is treats everyone and everything as though it is just an extension of himself. It is nonsense to tell someone not to violate boundaries if they don't see themselves and others as persons inviolate because they are created in the image of God.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Jul. 21, 2004 1:03 AM ET USA

    Let's assign Msgr. Fushek to a prison chaplain post. Then, let him give a retreat for the sex offenders. Then, let's observe his boundary issues. Then, let's bet on clear boundaries re-appearing in a convent chaplaincy. Finally, let's assign him to a remote solitary-confinement hermitage for life-long prayer/penance/reparation. In fact, let's assign to such hermitages all the priests & bishops who've directly perpetuated/advanced the Scandal in the Church. Let's do this for Christ's sake.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jul. 20, 2004 4:20 PM ET USA

    A Kobe Bryant rebound from the 3 point line.

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