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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

no contest

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 10, 2008

A Diocese of Monterey priest pleaded no contest yesterday to playing pirates with a sheriff's deputy.

A Nipomo priest was sentenced to three years probation this morning after he pleaded no contest to committing sex crimes near the Pirates Cove nude beach.

The Rev. Geronimo Enrique Cuevas, 52, must also complete 40 hours of community work service and an AIDS education class, Deputy District Attorney Craig VanRooyen said. He must also stay away from Pirates Cove.

What's the story with the AIDS education class? I can see his 40 hours service work as a reasonable punishment, and the reason for keeping Father out of Pirates Cove is clear, but what's the point of the HIV workshop? For the state to coach its convicts in the ethics of "if you can't be good, be careful" is a roundabout endorsement of the behavior it ostensibly prohibits -- doubly so when you consider the unlikelihood that Cuevas will learn from the workshop anything he didn't know already. The only possible value is that, by treating Cuevas as just another unsanitary public health menace, rubbing his nose in the mandatory lessons on the use of Clorox and dental dams might bring home to him the disgrace he visited on his priesthood.

As it stands, the news story is mercifully incomplete. We are not told what business the assaulted sheriff's deputy had at Pirates Cove nude beach, and all the obvious answers lend themselves to puns too horrible to contemplate. And while we're on the subject, perhaps a reminder is in order that many enlightened clergymen believe the Holy See's understanding of spiritual paternity to be insufficiently nuanced.

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