Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

out of order

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 17, 2004

The newly appropriated understanding of the primacy of conscience bears spiritual fruit for the Catholics of Alaska:

A third woman raised in Western Alaska is alleging that the Rev. James E. Poole, a Jesuit priest and former director of Nome radio station KNOM, sexually molested her more than 100 times over eight years beginning in 1974 when she was 12 years old.

A lawsuit filed in Nome Superior Court Wednesday, by the victim, known as Jane Doe 2, says that by age 14, Poole was engaging in sexual intercourse with her and impregnated her. When Poole was told by the victim that she was pregnant, the complaint states, "he told her she needed to 'get rid of the baby' and encouraged her to name her father as the person who had impregnated her. Soon thereafter, she acquiesced, went to Anchorage and had an abortion."

Why dredge up a painful and shocking incident from 30 years ago, etc.?

It might be an opportune moment for the Society of Jesus to reflect on its less-than-glorious history in the abortion conflict and ask some hard questions about the motives -- acknowledged and occult -- behind its pronouncements and its silences.

More generally, not only the Jesuits but all ecclesiastics should do some serious rethinking of the administration of the Sacrament of Penance. Apart from the question of an automatic excommunication of the priest consequent on his procuring abortion, there are big, big problems to face if abusers are going to confession, and big, big problems to face if they aren't.

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