By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 22, 2004
Last May, Diocese of Winona priest Edward McGrath was arrested and charged with groping an undercover police officer in a public park. This was the Diocese's reaction at the time:
In a statement released Thursday, Bishop Bernard Harrington said he "is saddened by the news regarding the charges against Father Edward McGrath. "Father McGrath has been an excellent and much loved priest, serving the people of our diocese well in both administrative and pastoral capacities." If necessary, the diocese will see that he is provided professional counseling, the statement said. [Spokesman Ivan] Kubista said the charges against McGrath do not fall under the diocesan sexual misconduct policy.
"This involves his personal life," Kubista said, explaining that this is a civil matter, not involving McGrath's conduct while he was "engaged in the mission of the church."
Amy Welborn was unimpressed by the last paragraph:
Wow. Unpack that one for a while. I thought a priest's entire life was supposed to be a living symbol of the "mission of the church." So if a priest robs a convenience store on his day off, it "involves his personal life?" If he calls an African-American or a Latino a derogatory name after he leaves church grounds on his way to the golf course it's okay because it merely "involves his personal life?" Somehow ... I doubt it.
Well, last week McGrath was found not guilty of the charge. Here's part of the news story:
[The Rev. Edward McGrath] was found not guilty Thursday in Ramsey County District Court. ... McGrath was charged with fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, which involves nonconsensual sexual contact.
He waived his right to a jury trial, leaving it up to a judge to make the decision. On Thursday morning, Judge Joanne Smith filed her "not guilty" ruling. McGrath has maintained his innocence. He was put on a leave of absence from his duties as pastor of Pax Christi church in Rochester after being charged.
The Diocese of Winona was pleased with the outcome, said spokesman Ivan Kubista. Kubista said he did not know where McGrath is staying or what his plans are. "I suspect that's between the Bishop and him and I'm sure they'll be working out what kind of ministry he will be engaged in," Kubista said.
What are we
We're committed to "transparency," right? That's a key feature of the USCCB's trust-rebuilding software. So let them tell us bluntly: what kind of man is the Diocese returning to ministry
What it boils down to is this: the integrity of our pastors is none of our business
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