To the Editor,
Ms. McCasky in her letter to the editor two Sundays ago chided Steubenville’s Bishop Monforton for not speaking out about what I presume was the moral and financial malfeasance of former bishop Bransfield of the Wheeling/Charleston Diocese. She said the diocese was a “corrupt enterprise” and “The priests are criminals from top to bottom….”
I had the pleasure of casually meeting Bishop Monforton a few years ago at the Christmas Nativity display at the Nutcracker Village. He was an engaging, spirit filled prelate, exactly how I had heard he would be. He also drives his own car and even rides a bicycle — Impression for a bishop! He is the “real deal” as the saying goes. He inherited an ongoing mess that continues to plague him, so why would he hurl rocks at our glass castle that disgraced bishop Bransfield was prince of?
To condemn the entire bushel of apples because a few at the top, as well as a few scattered about, were rotting is misguided. Bransfield’s three lieutenants, who apparently turned blind eyes, have been demoted and disbursed to various parishes. One, a monsignor, is now an assistant pastor. In our church, that is about as humbling as one can get unless one is banished to a monastery to live out their life in penance!
Yet not all is well in Denmark. A priest once remarked to me that they are little popes in their own parishes. Even though we have school boards and parish and finance councils, they have no real say; they are simply advisory entities that can be ignored at will. Every time a parish gets a new pastor, the pastor goes about tailoring the parish to suit his whims. Weather it is the procedures of the laity at the alter, or the decor, or finances; whatever, the priest can run roughshod regardless of how much time, talent, and treasure were expended previously. An excellent example was the demolition of the bell tower at Sacred Heart instead of having it repaired.
The most valid reason I know for priests to be married is unilateral decision making is not well tolerated in marriage. Priests would learn the art of compromise as opposed to dictatorial power. The old saying, “Power corrupts and absolute power absolutely corrupts” is not just true for bishops, but priests as well.