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in vino veritas

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Aug 11, 2008

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on the case of Raymond Kownacki, a suspended priest of the Belleville, Illinois diocese with a history of trouble:

In one case in the 1970s, Kownacki was accused of raping a girl — who later became pregnant — and then trying to squeeze her uterus to force the baby out.

After complaints stemming from the incident, Kownacki was sent for alcohol treatment, according to testimony from the Rev. James Margason, former vicar general of the Belleville Diocese.

Alcohol abuse? I'm guessing the alcohol was of age, and didn't resist. What about the teenage girl?

There's a polite fiction still popular in clerical circles: When a priest does unspeakable things while under the influence of alcohol, the fault is traced to the booze, and no further. The implicit assumption is that if the priest could stay sober his problems would be solved. No doubt troubled priests-- like all of us-- are better off sober. But this approach tends to ignore the real suffering of the people to whom the unspeakable things were done, and to relieve the priest of responsibility for the wrongs he has done-- for which he still bears the moral guilt, even if he was not thinking clearly when the incidents occurred. The alcohol didn't rape the girl.

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 12, 2008 7:31 AM ET USA

    St. Thomas tells us that if one sins while one is drunk, he is still blameworthy because he knows that excessive drinking may cause irrational behavior. The drunk is responsible for putting himself in the altered state of conscience.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 11, 2008 5:19 PM ET USA

    It’s even worse. She delivered a dead fetus. Bishop Zuroweste showed little concern for the matter, and Kownacki’s successor at the parish, Rev. Dean Braun, told the girl “that bishop Z. would not discipline Kownacki and that Gina must forgive Father Kownacki and forget his physical and sexual abuse of her.” Braun performed an unusual anointing on her and told her she had to forget what was done to her on her soul would die, Where is the Inquisition now that we really need it?

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