My faith ... tested again
: Have a window of opportunity to blog, then it’s off again.
I don’t quite know what to say about the Rev. James Foley story
. I don’t want to be too personal in this blog. When I started Hub Blog, I set out to write about public policy issues and other assorted shenanigans of importance and interest to Bostonians, occasionally referring to my own personal experiences in casual generalities, such as my having worked as a journalist for 20 some odd years and what I’ve learned from that experience.
But this morning’s news about Father Foley ... it’s very personal. As I write, there’s a photo on my windowsill of Father Foley and I together at a restaurant, surrounded by a group of smiling friends. Father Foley is a dear friend of mine. And always will be. In a way, Father Foley is my only true link to the Catholic Church. One might describe me as a semi-agnostic/cultural Catholic who nevertheless still loves the church for all its rich traditions and mysteries. Father Foley always understood this side of me -- and respected it. He never once urged me to explore my faith or to start attending Mass. He knew it was more complicated than that. Over the years, I’ve had countless conversations with Father Foley -- about faith, God, the bible, the church, golf, politics, history, the best tasting scotch etc. I’ve always been touched by his deep, quiet spirituality -- and moved, above all, by his gentle respect for others’ viewpoints. And I’ve always thought, “Well, if I ever return to the Church as a practicing Catholic, it’s going to be because of people like Father Foley.”
In the past year, my faith in the church (actually, it’s more like an ingrained allegiance) has been sorely tested, as it has for so many Boston Catholics. Still ... I always thought of Father Foley. He was my rock. My only true link to the Church. A dear friend. “Well, if I ever go back to the Church as a practicing Catholic, it’s going to be because of people like Father Foley. ... ”
And now this. When I first learned last night of the trouble he was in and then read this morning’s papers, I wanted to burst out crying. ''It's all true,'' Father Foley told the Globe yesterday. ''Yes, I made mistakes when I was younger but I have led a proper, priestly life since then. ... I should be judged by my whole career, not just what is spelled out in that letter.'' And he has been a good priest. And he should be judged by his whole career. I truly believe him. And I truly believe that he truly believes. I can’t stand to think of the pain he’s now enduring. He’s a dear friend. And always will be. But I also want to know this: What happened to that poor woman many years ago? And what happened to her and his children? Are they well? Have they been cared for? Are they happy? Do they know
? That’s who we should be thinking of now.
“Well, if I ever go back to the Church as a practicing Catholic, it’s going to be because of people like Father Foley. ... ”
What a horrible realization to arrive at -- to know that’s no longer possible. Father Foley was suspended from his clergy duties yesterday by Cardinal Law, who should have resigned at the same time.
: Couple of emails have come in. The first asks whether I knew about his deep past. Answer: No, I didn't. I hope that comes across in my post. The second asks whether I think his acts stack up with other sex scandals. Answer: No, but ... I would like to know the answers to my questions. I don't want the children's privacy violated, I'm just asking questions in general. ... P.S. Strange how all these scandals come back to children, eh?
Update -- 12-9-02
-- See above link
for more on the same subject. 'Complicated' people indeed.