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By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 06, 2004

Former Stigmatine priest Leo Landry pleaded guilty to abusing two boys at a now-defunct seminary high school in Massachusetts. At the sentencing hearing, Assistant DA Jeanmarie Carroll read an impact statement addressed to Landry by one of his victims, identified only as ''DS."

''I was a faithful and devoted altar boy and an enthusiastic, idealistic young seminarian when I met you," Carroll read from the statement by DS. ''Today I have zero faith and a visceral avoidance of all things religious." The statement said DS went through nearly 45 years of psychotherapy.
Painful reading. The only glimmer of hope -- a faint one, admittedly -- might be detected in the bitterness of DS's remarks. In speaking of losing his faith he seems to suggest Landry robbed him of something valuable. He's not crowing that he threw off a burden of superstition and guilt, etc.

Analytic philosophers speak of "second order intentions." A first order intention might be the wish to give up smoking. If a man realized he didn't wish to give up smoking, but wished he had the wish to give up smoking, the latter is an example of a second-order intention. DS claims to have no desire for God. Perhaps we can hope that, deeper even than his rage, he has a desire for a desire for God. It's not much to carry to one's deathbed, but God is merciful, and it might lighten the millstone around Landry's neck.

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