in vino veritas

By Diogenes (articles - email) | 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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