This is punishment?

This is punishment?

For the crime of running down a man and leaving him to die in the street, Bishop Thomas O’Brien has been ordered to do community service, including man a help line for people who want him to visit their sick and dying relatives. This is punishment? This is what a priest is supposed to do anyway. He’s administering the sacraments.

What’s slightly more disturbing is that his brother bishops have done even less to censure him. He was allowed to retire in good standing and retains all the privileges of his office as bishop emeritus. He’s a convicted felon! Does the Church have nothing to say about that? And even if he wasn’t convicted of this crime, what about all he did to allow perverts to molest kids? What about other bishops in the same position? Have any of them suffered any canonical penalty, any censure by the Church? Not Weakland, Law, Dupre, O’Connell, Ziemann, and on and on.

I know that ultimate justice comes from God and that mercy is a virtue, but for mercy to be given a judgment has to be given first. We haven’t seen even that yet. What lesson about justice is the Church teaching us by this omission?

  • Bill,

    As Dave already pointed out, you took my words out of context. You removed the complete clause. The crime was leaving the scene of an accident: he ran a man down and left him to die. Running him down is a key part of the crime. If he left the scene of an accident in which someone else had hit the guy, then there would be no crime.

    You seem to go through all kinds of semantic gymnastics to make excuses for things. I wonder why.

  • Dom’s point about censure is really about the lack of precedent.  Until now, we’ve never had to deal with a criminal class of bishops.

    The bishops say that the are subject only to the Holy See and word from Rome is that is this a problem that the “Americans” should solve on their own.  It’s a dropped ball.

    As far as the accident being “unavoidable”, that was neither proven or disproven at the trial.

  • Bill,

    And if had said, “The crime of leaving a man to die in the street after having run him down”? Same thing.

    Oh, and don’t tell me that I have contempt for the Church (note the capital “C”). I love the Church with all my heart and soul as the Body of Christ. You have made the classic error of confusing the bishops with the Church. They are one part of it.