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second thoughts

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 28, 2006

For almost exactly one year, the woman who supervised health-care ministry for the Boston archdiocese thought she was a priest. I presume that the people who worked with her at the Boston chancery did not share her delusion.

I'd love to hear public confirmation on that point. In fact, I'd be interested to know how many officials in the Boston chancery were caught completely off guard by today's headline story.

It's possible that someone could have worked happily alongside Jean Marie Marchant up until July 28, confident in her fidelity to the Catholic Church, and today's Boston Globe headlines might have come as a terrible surprise. It's also possible that colleagues had a reasonably accurate understanding of her peculiar theological orientation, and saw no particular problem-- until today.

Here's my question: If you didn't see a problem with Marchant's theology last week, is it likely that you'd recognize the problem today? Would you understand, I mean, that this is not merely a PR problem? This is not a new question.


A spokesman for the Boston archdiocese told the Boston Globe: "We greatly appreciate Ms. Marchant's many years of service in healthcare ministry." Lovely. Now in setting up a spreadsheet to calculate the net value of her work, let's decide whether the following numbers belong in the asset or debit column:

  • appointments kept
  • public speaking engagements
  • outreach to other religious groups
  • headline stories in the Boston Globe
  • heresies endorsed
  • souls lost

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Show 11 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jul. 31, 2006 11:25 PM ET USA

    Poor soul is correct, Uncle Di had a misfire in his correlatives. The correct pairings are: debit/credit; asset/liability. Also, not to nitpick, but the term "net value" should really be "net worth" if assessing a personal balance sheet, "net assets" if a non profit, and "shareholders' equity" if a profit-making institution. In Los Angeles, the correct term is "award to the plaintiff's attorneys".

  • Posted by: Clorox - Jul. 31, 2006 5:22 PM ET USA

    Souls? We don't need no stinkin' souls.

  • Posted by: poor soul - Jul. 31, 2006 1:11 PM ET USA

    "asset or debit column"? - not a critical blunder, but that would be assets vs. liabilities or debits vs. credits. Seems to me the most appropriate choice of words for this (besides "heretical behavior") would be assets vs liabilities. (I think I just gave myself away as a bean counter.)

  • Posted by: BostonBlackey - Jul. 31, 2006 12:40 PM ET USA

    The archdoicesan comment about Ms Marchant is just the same as what they said about most of the deviant priests. It seems that after 2 cardinals and a half dozen spokesmen, our beloved archdiocese has learned nothing. I am dumbfounded that there was not a strong statement from the Cardinal himself. It seems we have another spineless bishop who is afraid of hurting the feelings of those on the left.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 31, 2006 12:29 PM ET USA

    Jerusalem, 33AD A spokesperson for the disciples told the Roman Globe: "We greatly appreciate Mr. Iscariot's many years of service in financial ministry."

  • Posted by: Coco - Jul. 31, 2006 12:20 PM ET USA

    Someone help me: Is it ever licit for an ordained priest who has left the priesthood and married to receive the Holy Eucharist? Can he go to Confession and be absolved? Isn't this the same thing as a divorced person re-marrying and receiving the Holy Eucharist?

  • Posted by: ladybird - Jul. 29, 2006 12:42 PM ET USA

    One more point - Marchant is a self-absorbed, self-indulgent hypocrit. There would be nothing in her self-examination which would cause remorse or prevent her from taking the Blessed Sacrament. I remember my mom, a re-married divorcee, crying, because "by her own act" she was no longer able to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist; and my divorced grand-mother, who refused many proposals from loving gentlemen, because she would not give up the Eucharist or entice anyone else to.

  • Posted by: Fiducia - Jul. 29, 2006 7:13 AM ET USA

    As usual, Diogenes is right on target. Corruption is a pervasive problem in Boston ----- in the Church, in the workplace, and in public life. Whether the motivation is money, power, popularity, or sex, there is no shortage of self-serving liars who present themselves as crusaders.

  • Posted by: RC - Jul. 28, 2006 11:11 PM ET USA

    According to the news, her husband left priestly ministry to marry her: that shouldn't give anyone reason to worry about her soundness, should it? Since then, the web shows him teaching at Emmanuel, which I didn't think ex-priests were supposed to be doing. This year he attended a conference of Catholic chaplains, working at Brigham, and I didn't think ex-priests were supposed to do ministry either. Well, at least the head of healthcare ministry was able to evaluate him impartially.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 28, 2006 9:11 PM ET USA

    I remember the first reading from Mass last Sunday: "Woe to you shepherds...I myself will gather the remnants..." When, O Lord, when?

  • Posted by: Pete133 - Jul. 28, 2006 7:29 PM ET USA

    You forgot "scandals given" in the list. Perhaps there should be a similar score card for his eminence and all those in the chancery office.

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