Action Alert!

The Better Part of Valour -- or, No one heah but us capons, boss!

By Diogenes (articles) | Dec 06, 2004

Remember Father Robert J. Silva, President of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils? He has been in the news frequently since the eruption of the Crisis, arguing that both abuser priests and their superiors have gotten a bad rap, because "The trauma caused by child sexual abuse was not known" back in the days before Oprah. I guess that's why, until quite recently, child molesters were held in such high esteem by society at large. The same Fr. Silva was recently interviewed by the (Chicago) Catholic New World, discussing the changing image of the priest.

TCNW: Do you travel with your collar on?

Silva: I don't anymore. I did one time coming out of New York, and man, I got the daylights scared out of me. There was a guy there who was saying, "There's one of those blankety-blanks," and I thought, "Oh God, I'm going to get beat up." I've never worn my collar when I'm flying again.

But some priests will say, "I'm not going to give in to that kind of stuff. You should be proud of who you are and take the beating." I'm proud of who I am, but I don't know that I want to take the beating. It's like putting a dollar bill on the desk of the teacher and then having the teacher walk out of the classroom. Why tempt?

Why indeed? If St. Isaac Jogues had taken these elementary precautions he'd be playing Les Miz in piano bars today.

What message, then, are the younger readers of the Catholic New World meant to take away from Silva's edifying display of ... discretion? "Young man, give serious thought to the possibility that you too may have a vocation to the priesthood. Consider the spiritual bounty! You forgo a career, relinquish independence, give up marriage and family life, and then -- God willing -- you'll have the chance for a lifetime of wearing lay clothes in public so as to hide from potential unpleasantness."

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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