Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

wholly in compliance

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 15, 2005

Remember Rochester's Father Michael Volino, whom the FBI helped ease out of full-time ministry because of his penchant for kiddie-pix? Well, it turns out the Diocese had sent him to the St. Luke Institute, and it turns out the St. Luke's folks recommended in 2002 that Volino should be "restricted from ministry involving children." Get a load of the Diocese's statement issued in response:

The Diocese of Rochester, in 2002, asked Rev. Michael Volino to undergo assessment at St. Luke's Institute, to which Rev. Volino agreed. The referral and assessment were related to behavioral issues and not to sexual abuse.

A fine specimen of the U.S. episcopacy's new trust-building transparency. "Related to behavioral issues." Binge eating? Telling bad puns? Inappropriately aggressive chess openings? Mixing mauve and electric blue beachwear? Somehow I don't think so either.

The recommendations of St. Luke's staff were not issued in the context of a person who was sexually abusive. However, the diocese failed to adequately monitor the follow through of some of the recommendations. The report did not give any finding, nor did the Diocese interpret any indication, that Fr. Volino would be a danger to anyone.

"Not issued in the context of a person who was sexually abusive." Parse that, transparency fans. In what context are we to imagine that a St. Luke's grad would be restricted from contact with kids? Incompatibility based on his horoscope? Just why was Volino asked to undergo an assessment at St. Luke's in the first place?

No mystery here. The Diocese of Rochester, in common with the majority of U.S. dioceses, is incapable of speaking the H-word as if it referred to an intrinsic disorder. That means the Volinos and the bishops who love them will continue to get the green light, provided they stay clear of the "danger zones" -- defined, thanks to Wilton Gregory and his chums, in forensic rather than spiritual terms. Your pastor subscribes to GQ for the "men's fragrance" ads? No problem! His appetites aren't assuaged in the context of felonious sexual assault, so he's perfectly suitable for ministry. Any further questions?

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.