Rash judgment?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 12, 2005

A couple of weeks back I wondered aloud about the chancellor of the Springfield, Illinois diocese, who was found badly beaten in a public park that is notorious as a homosexual hangout. Could there be, I asked, some connection with the past bishop of the same diocese, who resigned "for health reasons" but remains in good standing, in spite of a few subsequent appearances on the police blotters.

Some readers felt I was being unfair, arguing that I should have given the battered monsignor "the benefit of the doubt." And I would have done so-- if I had had any doubts.

Now, guess what? Msgr. Costa has resigned as chancellor and as a pastor, and the Springfield diocese discloses that while recovering his health he must also come to terms with some "inappropriate behavior."

What "inappropriate behavior?" The diocese is silent.

Look: It's not a good idea to get beaten unconscious. But since we can reasonably assume that the victim didn't want to be clobbered, that can't be the "inappropriate behavior" in question. And not likely that poor Msgr. Costa did anything terribly inapproprate after the beating, since he's spent his time in a hospital bed.

So we can deduce that the "inappropriate behavior" took place before the near-fatal encounter in the park, and diocesan officials were aware of it-- or could have known, if they had wanted to know. And it took a brutal attack, a public scandal, and the near-death of a priest before the diocese took action.

Now tell me this: If diocesan officials knew about the monsignor's problems, whose interests were served by their silence? Whose interests are served now, by the reluctance to identify exactly what sort of "inappropriate behavior" put Msgr. Costa on death's door?

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