Turning tricks

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 02, 2003

Father Vincent Rogers is back at work as the pastor of St. James parish in St. Joseph, Missouri.

His ministerial service had been rudely interrupted by Missouri law-enforcement officials, who arrested the priest along with 100 other men during a crackdown on prostitution. Eventually Father Rogers, who did not contest the charges against him, was sentenced to two years' probation.

Once the court had rendered its judgment, Bishop Raymond Boland of Kansas City saw no reason to keep Father Rogers away from his parishioners any longer. After all he had "satisfactorily completed the requested psychosexual evaluations." And if his "psychosexual" situation was all squared away, what more could anybody want from a pastor of souls?

Parishioners at St. James welcomed back their spiritual leader, giving evidence of the profound theological training he had lavished upon his flock. One woman told a local newspaper that the priest's trangressions should be kept in perspective. "Nobody walks on water," she observed.

Actually someone did walk on water; the incident is recorded in a book to which Father Rogers has probably alluded in his homilies occasionally. But it's true that none of us walks on water. It's salutary to remember that we are all sinners, all capable of a great fall. If we avoid grave sin, it is only through the power of...

... psychosexual evaluations?

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  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2003 4:29 PM ET USA

    If a married man betrayed his wife in this manner, it would be enough to warrant the wife an annulment by the church even if he expressed his repentance. He would be forgiven in the confessional, but, I believe he would suffer some kind of penance that was lasting on this earth.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2003 1:14 AM ET USA

    V. Proliferation of Sin S. 1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them: Example (1), (2), (3), (4) -- Cathechism of the Catholic Church

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2003 8:24 PM ET USA

    IMHO: sin is not the result of satan's tempting, sin is a result of our weakness of flesh. Was not Christ tempted in every way as we are? Difference .. Jesus chose not to use the 'pop-off' valve of sin ... sinning is EASY, resisting it is what's hard!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2003 8:20 PM ET USA

    Who's to say the superiors did not use more than the 'evaluations' mentioned? Are any of you privy to the private conversations between bishop/advisors/priest .. are you privy their own personal prayer regarding their decisions in this situation .. are you privy to what may have been the Holy Spirit's instruction to them?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2003 3:20 PM ET USA

    Question for Jdarc: Is all sin the result of temptation from the Devil? Is redemption unqualified? Or does a serious fall call for a change in vocation? And, if so, who judges the change in vocation? Who discerns? Who is the pastoral authority? It is the Holy Spirit that moves among us. There is a way to discern it. I see no evidence that that is occurring here.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2003 10:16 AM ET USA

    Hatred of error should never be confused with narrowness of spirit. I am concerned in the Freudian/Emotivist superiors who are doing harm to both the giver and receiver of Scandal, the priest, and his flock, who are subject to error as well. Where is the prayer and fasting in a monastery, possibly with a vow of silence? Where are the Spiritual Exercises? Where is the Dark Night of the Soul? Transformed, even a fallen priest can be a powerful living example of Christ's prescence.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2003 9:32 AM ET USA

    I think Diogenes' problem with the situation here is not so much with Fr. Rogers, but with his superiors who seem to have relied more on psychosexual evaluations than spiritual ones to determine his fitness to be a pastor of souls. The difference between a CEO and a priest is that the CEO is only responsible for profits. The priest is called to be a sherpherd and father for his parish.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2003 7:11 AM ET USA

    Judas betrayed Christ, Peter denied Him .. only difference, Peter asked forgiveness (& got it). STILL Christ built His Church upon Peter. Who are we to restrict the Spirit's use of Fr. Rogers? Why deny this man the opportunity of turning this sin into a victory? Pope St. Leo the Great: Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2003 11:16 PM ET USA

    That parish WANTING him back speaks for the man .. I've watched a few beloved clerics 'fall' & have this observation: If homilies are moving & it comes to light he has struggled with a sin the rest of us consider a "biggie", you learn he preached from within his struggle--the reason it was so real, touching, 'human'. St. John Vianney: The devil only tempts those souls that wish to abandon sin and those that are in a state of grace. The others belong to him: he has no need to tempt them.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2003 10:59 PM ET USA

    "If God forgives, who are we to judge this priest." Sensus Fidei. We are all subject to final judgement. But, we are accountable to god for growing the Cardinal and Theological virtues -- Justice v Mercy. Clearly, our Bishops have trouble with the Justice v Mercy distinction.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2003 7:53 PM ET USA

    Any inkling of repentance from the good father? Or shame? I guess I must have the wrong translation of the Gospel. Our Lord must really have said: "Go thou and complete the psychosexual evalautions", right? Yep, that's what I thought...

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2003 7:35 PM ET USA

    If a CEO of a corporation had committed the same offense - sin- that this priest did, went to confession, paid the lawyers and fulfilled the sentence of the courts, it would have faded into oblivion. Yes, this priest is a shephed of souls and had a vow of celebacy, but he is a man who gave in to human temptation. If God forgives, who are we to judge this priest. He will have to live the rest of his priestly life with that albatross around his neck.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2003 4:59 PM ET USA

    Nobody walks on water? Perhaps He turned wine into water as well. Lewis said that the Gates of Hell are locked on the inside. While we do pray for all sinners, I honestly do wonder how many of this crowd can ever repent. Just as Napoleon pacing back and forth blaming everyone else for his defeats, for all eternity, I can see this crew arguing for Women Priests, Liturgical Dance, Gay Marriages, etc for quite possibly all eternity.