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second thoughts

By Diogenes (articles - email) | Jul 28, 2006

For almost exactly one year, the woman who supervised health-care ministry for the Boston archdiocese thought she was a priest. I presume that the people who worked with her at the Boston chancery did not share her delusion.

I'd love to hear public confirmation on that point. In fact, I'd be interested to know how many officials in the Boston chancery were caught completely off guard by today's headline story.

It's possible that someone could have worked happily alongside Jean Marie Marchant up until July 28, confident in her fidelity to the Catholic Church, and today's Boston Globe headlines might have come as a terrible surprise. It's also possible that colleagues had a reasonably accurate understanding of her peculiar theological orientation, and saw no particular problem-- until today.

Here's my question: If you didn't see a problem with Marchant's theology last week, is it likely that you'd recognize the problem today? Would you understand, I mean, that this is not merely a PR problem? This is not a new question.


A spokesman for the Boston archdiocese told the Boston Globe: "We greatly appreciate Ms. Marchant's many years of service in healthcare ministry." Lovely. Now in setting up a spreadsheet to calculate the net value of her work, let's decide whether the following numbers belong in the asset or debit column:

  • appointments kept
  • public speaking engagements
  • outreach to other religious groups
  • headline stories in the Boston Globe
  • heresies endorsed
  • souls lost

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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