By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jul 20, 2004
Msgr. Dale Fushek, founder and director of Life Teen, and former right-hand man to the rapidly-retired Bishop Thomas ("Road Kill") O’Brien of Phoenix, is again in the news. And once again boundaries are an issue.
The Congregation on Divine Worship has informed the Msgr. that having teenagers dance around the sanctuary poses a "boundary problem" during the sacrifice of the Mass.
A few years back Msgr. Fushek himself had some boundary issues with a convicted sex offender, one Mark Gherna. As Fushek reported it:
"Several years ago, I found myself in a situation where my own words and actions, which I considered to be words and actions of affection, were interpreted by an adult staff member as having sexual connotations," Fushek said from the pulpit in a recording obtained by The Republic. "This man complained about that to the diocese."...
After the settlement (of $45,000), Fushek said he went through a psychological evaluation that helped him see himself more clearly.
"I learned that I have a much more dominant personality than I knew I had," he said in the interview.
"If I'm not really careful, people get intimidated and offended. I learned I have to be really careful in what I say and do because of my personality and my position."
Relationships are difficult for anybody, said Fushek, but especially priests.
"You do want closeness and friendship and healthy intimacy," he said, "and yet you have a vow or a promise to have clear boundaries in that.”
Although the Vatican has tried to define carefully what constitutes inappropriate behavior during the Mass, Msgr. Fushek wasn’t quite so specific about the nature of his trespasses against the former Life Teen volunteer. So we're left to guess: What would be a "boundary violation" for a priest with a dominant personality, approaching a convicted sex offender?
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