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Back to School

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 04, 2003

Rev. John "Saint Sebastian's Angels" Harris began a voluntary leave from his Maine parish after reports surfaced that he laid aside his cassock when recreating with boys at a private camp.

Parishioners in the Rangeley area had no idea that Harris was under investigation, said Anthony Jannace Jr., parish council president at Our Lady of the Lakes. Jannace said Harris announced after Mass on Aug. 10 that he would start a leave of absence at the end of August. "He just read a letter that he was going to go back to school."

How's that for a manly and forthright declaration of the truth?

For the sake of argument, let's say that the investigation into Harris's past uncovers no legally actionable abuse. Even on those terms, is he fit to serve as a priest? Had he emerged from years of penance and abject contrition to assume new parish duties, we might have some reason to think he had put his life in order. But only a deliberately self-deluded superior could pretend that the counseling Harris received in remonstrance for his St. Sebastian's escapades would restore the integrity befitting his calling. Was it a lack of insight or self-knowledge -- the kind of thing you can pay a therapist $60 an hour to fix -- that led him to dabble in presbyteral porn in the first place?

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