The pastor of the 1st parish that is dealing with the sexual proclivities of Francis Deluca via the court system had an additional 1 million dollars added to Mr. John Vai’s settlement bringing the total liability of the parish to 4 million dollars. Fr. Norman Carroll was quoted in the news paper as saying that he felt like the Diocese of Wilmington threw him under the bus. They did not assist the parish in any way. I must battle the cynic within because my thought is…”And you’re surprised?” I sent Rev. Carroll a letter.
Although I feel for you because of the mess that you inherited caused by Francis Deluca and our diocese we as the Catholic faithful must remember that we are the one Mystical Body of Christ. We are ultimately responsible for each other. The encyclical, On the Mystical Body of Christ, by Pope Pius XII, 1943, reiterates that for all of the faithful.
Because I am not a pastor, and NEVER want to be a pastor, the intricacies of the responsibilities for a parish elude me. I do know however that the clergy sexual abuse scandal was created solely by the clergy and hierarchy of the Church.
I truly believe that you are the first priest of our diocese to experience the radical transformation that is going to take place in our Church. God’s Church on earth is going to be poor once again. Maybe our seeming obsession with money and property needs to be squelched in order for us to get back to the real mission of the Church, the salvation of souls. All of us: bishops, priests, parishioners are going to have to adapt to a new reality and embrace a new perspective of, “Church”.
The gates of hell will not prevail against God’s Church. We must remind the people who Mr. Vai, other victims of clergy sexual abuse, lawyers, courts and jurors ARE NOT representative of hell. As the Body of Christ we all need to pray not only for Mr. Vai and other victims but we must also pray for the perpetrators, even if they wind up costing us millions of dollars. (And if the gutless priests and bishops had the fortitude to do the godly thing from the very beginning this wouldn’t be the huge problem that it has morphed into.)
All of us involved in this torturous mess are part of the Mystical Body of Christ. We are all responsible for one another. The reality of this scandal fleshes that out for us and stands as a perfect lesson for us all. It is a painful lesson. It is scary lesson because only God knows how He’s going to manifest the outcome. But God will. And it has been my experience that God gets what God wants. I’m praying for your parishioners. Please ask them to pray for me, another victim of clergy sexual abuse and also a priest of God.
Rev. John Lunness