The Weirdest “Baptism” You’ll Read About Today, With Two Updates

Anyone who claims that things have been getting better in the Archdiocese of Detroit the past five years or so – and if they are, then the improvements have been so negligible so as to be non-existent – needs to open their eyes and realize that stupid, crazy and irregular things are still going on.

Case in point – in the most recent of Mosaic, the publication of the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, there’s a column called “Alumni Spotlight”, and this time around a recently deceased Permanent Deacon was featured, written of by his wife.  Once you get past the sweet and affectionate remembrance bits, you come to this (emphasis mine):

…On September 26, 2008, Jim passed away unexpectedly following a complicated surgery. He was calm—at peace—but just before surgery, Jim said, “Let God’s will be done, no matter what the outcome.” When he came out of surgery, he didn’t respond well and remained unconscious.

On the fourth day, his condition deteriorated. Jim’s last act as a deacon was the baptism of our second grandchild, Matthew, an event planned to occur after his expected recovery. As Jim lay dying, we brought holy water from the hospital chapel to his bedside, along with a borrowed deacon stole and a crucifix. We placed the crucifix on Jim’s chest. My daughter, Jennifer, and I cupped Jim’s hand to hold the holy water while I pronounced the words of baptism, and we guided Jim’s hand to pour the holy water onto Matthew’s forehead. As we lifted Matthew up, he smiled from ear to ear and looked at all the family and friends— packed shoulder to shoulder—in the room. What a blessing it was to witness! Shortly afterward, the angels filling the room carried Jim’s spirit to meet our Lord.

Excuse me? [edited]

It’s not merely the fact this “baptism” took place that’s so egregious – which it is, because the baptism is invalid, and the baby’s still stained with original sin! [I have learned that this is not the case.  See below.  ~Ed.]No – it’s also that this is published in the official alumni journal of the Sacred Heart Major Seminary!!  Which begs the following questions:  what’s really being taught there?  How did this make it past the editors?  Is this going to go unchallenged by the Archdiocese?


Oh wait – this is where the Elephants in the Living Room continue to meet on Church property with nary a peep from the Chancery, and where retired Bp Gumbleton still has a strong following.  And where the invalid illicit practice of sacraments is proudly publicized.

Is anyone safeguarding the sacred deposit of faith out here?  Is anyone caring about the salvation of souls?  Makes me wonder…

p.s.  I have it on 100% reliable authority that the Mosaic article will be forwarded to The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

UPDATE I:  Dr Ed Peters has weighed in on this post, and as he is well-respected by many, including myself, I am compelled to make some necessary amendments.  He states that the baptism is illicit but not invalid, based upon conversations he had with competent authorities at the seminary.  So I’ve added a correction to my statement – as I said I would in the combox yesterday.  I also stand humbly chastised for using language unbecoming of a faithful Catholic, and those expressions have been scrubbed.  I apologize for any offense I gave, and I promise to refrain from similar expressions in the future.  Mea culpa.

UPDATE II:  The online article has been taken down by the Sacred Heart Seminary, per an email I received from Dr Peters this morning.  The print edition will feature a clarification, when it is published in a couple months, as he had stated in his post linked to above.  And I’ve edited out the family name so as to preserve their privacy.


About thelarryd

LarryD resides in Michigan with his wife and 2 sons. He's been blogging on Catholic topics since March 2008, providing orthodox commentary on heterodox hooliganism, with observations on the culture, trends, and the Church. His goal? Inject humor and fun into the New Evangelization, with the gentle reminder that everyone's taking themselves way too seriously.
This entry was posted in Baptism, Exorcising the Spirit of Vatican II, Faith, Unbefreakinlievable, What the....?. Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to The Weirdest “Baptism” You’ll Read About Today, With Two Updates

  1. victor says:

    I’m not certain how this would make the baptism invalid? The Catechism (1256) clearly states that anyone can baptize validly, provided they baptize in the name of the Trinity.


    • thelarryd says:

      Victor – did you read the article I linked to?

      the baptism is invalid


      • David says:

        The article addresses the problem of splitting the statement and the performance of baptism between two people but the Vatican letter they quote does not, at least not directly. I think it’s highly irregular but it might still be valid, at least based on this the article which was poorly written. Of course if there’s any reasonable doubt, and there clearly is, the child should be conditionally baptized.


      • Christine says:

        David: Fr. McNamara clearly states that baptism is invalid if one person does the pouring while another person recites the formula.

        Why is this so hard for people to understand?


      • victorlams says:

        I read the linked Zenit article in which one Priest expresses his opinion without citing any sources that a baptism performed under different circumstnaces than the one in the “Moasic” article was performed would be invalid.

        The distinction is valid as the author of the “Mosaic” article states: “I cupped Jim’s hand to hold the holy water” while she spoke the words of baptism. Given the physical properties of water (it’s powerful wet stuff I hear) it seems likely that her hands would have been wet with the water while she performed the pouring over the infant (if the Deacon had to have his hand cupped, he probably wouldn’t have been able to do the pouring on his own either).

        This is a vaild baptism.


      • Tom W. says:


        Speaking as someone with absolutely no liturgical or theological credentials, I nevertheless have to take issue with your remark that “…it seems likely that her hands would have been wet….” We need to leave it to the experts but “it seems likely” cannot be the basis for something so crucial to a human soul.

        That said, I would hazard the thought that it would not matter whether her hands were wet or not. The Sacraments are made valid by the intent of the celebrant, just as is the Consecration by the priest at Mass. Her intent was clearly that the Baptism be administered by her dying husband, not by herself. That was wrong.


      • SDG says:

        The baptism is valid. The widow, not her husband, poured the water, using her dying husband’s hands as a vessel. Whether the widow’s hands were wet is a red herring; the sacrament does not require the one administering to get wet, only the one receiving.


  2. I heard the Mormons believed in baptising the dead, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of the dead (or nearly dead) baptising the living!


  3. Curt says:

    Wow. Just wow.


  4. terry Nelson says:

    I’m verklempft. Now what was wrong with that?

    I’m just trying to be nice here.


  5. Perinatal Loss Nurse says:

    I get your point that if the goal were the Deacon doing a baptism then the puppetry they describe is certainly incomplete…he didnt DO the baptism. Point well taken

    I also get that although the grandpa was very sick the baby was well and not in need of an emergency baptism…


    as a person who cares for dying babies for a living (and done more emergency Baptisms than I can count) Ive seen plenty of situations where a grandma Baptism was desperately needed and we need to be careful to not accidentally misinform people that emergency non-clergy baptisms are invalid.

    So I agree that dragging dying clergy through “performing” Sacraments is really a bad idea, I will remind all Catholic grandmas that if their grandchild were to be born in a precarious condition, they need to be ready to do a Baptism in a moments notice.


  6. Selaniest says:

    I don’t know what is more troubling. The act or your response. I really think you should step back and look at the core issue.

    Where is your compassion for this brother and the family? This guy dies and you are worried about a “sprinkle baptism.”

    Now true, I follow not your doctrine. But, get your mind right!


    • thelarryd says:

      The core issue is not compassion. The core issues is the act of a valid baptism, which in the Catholic faith, removes the stain of Original Sin and initiates the child/person into the Church and Body of Christ. This is an issue of salvation – as St Peter wrote in his letter “Baptism now saves you”.

      Sacraments are very important in the Catholic faith, and the Church in her wisdom has defined how they are to be performed in order to be valid. They shouldn’t be messed around with, regardless of the degree of sentimentality or “good intentions” on the part of those doing the messing around.


  7. Mary De Voe says:

    The covenant of Matrimony is eclipsed by the covenant of Holy Orders, even, I am sure, the ordination to the permanent diaconate, and why priests are not allowed to have wives. In Matrimony, the wife speaks for her husband. Can anyone imagine the wife showing up to say Mass, in personna Christi, for her husband? Lay persons baptize only in the danger of the child’s death. I was privileged to baptize my brother, who did not live. My brother was conditionally baptized, later, when the priest became available. And if it was God’s will, the deacon would have risen up to baptize.


  8. Susan Peterson says:

    I think you need to ask a canon lawyer and a sacramental theologian before you declare that this baptism was invalid.

    Certainly the deacon did not baptise the baby; he was not capable of having any intentionality. But the person who held the sick deacon’s hand and poured the water with it, was capable of having the intention to do what the church does. The deacon’s hand was just a container. What is required that the person baptizing “do what the church does” in baptism, that water flows over some part of the baptized person’s body, and that the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” be said. Anyone can baptize validly. Even a lay person. Even someone who is not Catholic, and not baptized himself, so long as he intends to “do what the Church does” in baptism. One priest told a class I was in that his mother, who belonged to a religious group called the “Brethren” was a nurse in a Catholic hospital, and the nuns made all the nurses, including her, carry around at all times, a little card with the words of baptism on it, so they could baptise babies that might die, or even other people who asked for it “in extremis.”

    So while I think this was somewhat strange, I don’t think it was invalid. But, ask someone more qualified than myself, please.


  9. Susan Peterson says:

    I read the article you linked to. The same person has to say the words as to pour the water. That person here was Mrs. Sanders, the deacon’s wife. Whatever she thought, she just used the deacon’s hand as a container. I agree that she should not have done this, that it was wrong for her to baptise when the baby was not in danger, and so on. Someone should, very gently, considering her grieving state, tell her that this really was not proper. But I don’t think too much harm has been done.

    The baby can be conditionally baptised in Church, and should be, as the rest of the baptismal ceremony should be performed. But if something happens to baby before that, I would not worry that he was not baptized.
    Susan Peterson


    • thelarryd says:

      Susan – seeing as how she dressed her dying husband in a stole and laid a crucifix upon his chest, one can speculate that the intention was for the deacon to do the baptism.

      In any case, the baptism was very irregular and illicit.

      And it’s inappropriate for the seminary publication to print this, without including any sort of addendum by a competent authority as to the validity of the sacrament. It just reeks of confusion.

      Perhaps if a sacramental theologian reads this post, they can shed clearer light on the issue, and if need be, I will amend my post.


    • Christine says:

      I’m just astounded by these remarks from fellow Catholics.

      “But I don’t think too much harm has been done.”

      How about the potential loss of this child’s immortal soul?

      Are you kidding me?


      • Susan Peterson says:

        I didn’t think too much harm had been done because I thought the child was validly baptized, using the same reasoning which Dr. Peters used. Of course I think it matters whether the baptism was valid. Whether it would lead to the loss of the child’s immortal soul or not is another question.
        Susan Peterson


  10. Tom W. says:

    Where was the priest to administer Extreme Unction to the poor dying man? That was far more important than a faux Baptism for the wife’s feeeelings. Then the priest could have also done the Baptism there if it was so important to do so.


  11. Lena says:

    Tom W. has a good point.

    I think the Deacon’s wife doing this is wrong,


  12. Normally I’d be backing you all the way; but in this case I can only back you partially. Although the baptism was illicit, (I don’t know that it would be invalid). This is something that a priest, a good priest, would know.

    The article was written by a wife that just lost her fairly young husband 3 yrs ago. As many grieving wives might do, she tried to make something good out of something bad. As members of the Body of Christ we are to have empathy for her situation as well as make sure that the sacraments are preformed validly.

    She sounds like she didn’t take nearly the same amount of schooling as her deacon- husband, so it’s likely she didn’t know any better. Maybe in her grief she thought that what she did was valid. (The real question is what priest signed the Baptismal Certificate and what did he do, or say about it? We really don’t know. Perhaps he baptized the child again conditionally, along with completing the other parts of the baptism.)

    The profs. that she said her husband took are excellent orthodox Catholic priests and teach the faith very well, I can assure you of this.

    Yes, the editor should have put a little note in there saying the baptism was illicit and informed readers as to whether the child was baptized conditionally etc. later.

    Outside of that, in this case let’s “judge not, lest ye be judged’ (as far as the people involved go) and focus on the much more serious priestly abuses that happen on a weekly bases all around this diocese and others.

    People still need to report their pastors to their bishops for any illicit or heretical things they are saying and doing. The bishops need to hear what is going on and where (especially by ordained men that know better!) I know for a fact we have pastors that are letting women regularly give the homilies …er, reflections. One, in particular, breaks regularly in the middle of mass for “Friendly Time”. We have several pastors that are telling their parishioners that, as Catholics, we shouldn’t vote Pro-Life, and instead pro-choice! I had a pastor tell me that you just have to know a good Christian in order to get to Heaven, you don’t even have to believe in Christ, or God yourself! I could go on and on. These are issues that need to be reported! We, as members of the laity have an obligation to report these type of things, because our bishops can’t be in every place at all times. They also need first hand reports, when at all possible. It is in this way they can build a case in order to remove these men, and they can certainly speak to them about the issues.


  13. thelarryd says:

    Tired of Deceit – according to the article I linked to, which was written by a priest, this “baptism” would fall under the invalid category. I’ve also spoken with a person who is versed in sacramental theology, and he too believes that based on the information in the article, this was an invalid baptism.

    Regardless of all that, someone is sending this to Rome for them to look into. I think we can agree that that would be a wise course of action, so that the baby’s baptismal status can be investigated by competent authority.

    I’m not judging anyone’s sanctity here, nor the woman’s state of mind, either. Only the facts as presented in the article, as well as bringing up some questions as to what’s the state of things in the AoD. This is serious stuff.


  14. Germanman says:

    The real issue here is this – WHY IS THE Archdiocese of Detroit trumpeting this in one of its official publications. The “baptism” is one isolated question involving emotions and passions etc.

    The AoD’s decision to print this story was a calm cool-headed one which begs the question, what the hades is going on in this diocese. they excoriate Michael Voris and and turn around and print this as if its totally fine, which it isn’t, btw.

    Im glad Rome is gonna hear about this. Some one needs to step in conduct a thorough investigation of this archdiocese.


  15. Joseph K says:

    The point is that this is questionable enough to be problematic for those not VERY well versed in Sacramental theology, therefore, why is it being used as a praise piece in a Seminary publication?


  16. Mary De Voe says:

    Celebrating an illicit or perhaps invalid Baptism does require inquiry.


  17. Selaniest says:

    I think God is much more concerned about the child’s health and well being. Growing up in a good home, well fed, loving parents, good Christian foundation.

    Whether a “sprinkle” baptism was done “correctly” just boggles my mind.


    • Benjamin Dehler says:

      Selaniest…. You cannot have a “christian foundation” without a valid Baptism. An investigation needs to be done and this needs to be determined whether it is valid or not. For you to not understand that a valid Baptism is necessary for a “christian foundation” boggles my mind.


      P.S. The other things you mention……child’s health and well being. Growing up in a good home, well fed, loving parents….have nothing to do with the child’s SALVATION.


  18. I think your painting the entire AofD with a rather broad brush. I agree that the baptism was definitely illicit, probably invalid and should be investigated. However, I don’t get a feel from the article that what she was trying to do was fling the Church’s teachings on the Sacraments in the Church’s face.

    I lived in the AofD for a while–the Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament, Farmington Hills. These are good, faithful, holy women. I met some of the priests who worked at the seminary as well as other priests in the area. All good, holy, men trying to serve God. Are there problems in AofD? Yes. There are problems in the diocese where I live now. Probably in every diocese. Remember, it’s always the bad stuff that makes the news and gets our attention. That doesn’t mean nothing should be done. The faithful need to take action as charitably as possible, like in this case, but to make a few or even several bad examples from a diocese mean that the entire diocese is dissenting from the Church is wrong.

    In 2011 Archbishop Vigneron issued this statement concerning the American Catholic Council. Good things are being done in the AofD as well.


    • thelarryd says:

      Karyn – I live in the AoD, and have been living here for 20+ years. While there are pockets of orthodoxy here and there, like the place you mentioned, they are far and few between. This is the birthplace of Call-to-Action, and we’re still suffering from its effects.


  19. Anonymous says:

    We’ve had so many lousy mousy bishops and priests (and wanna-be priestesses nuns) who’s surprised. Oh, to be a Protestant — then all’s well and we can make up what suits our personal desires and the pope can retire and the world will continue its decay back to paganism and free abortions, a la Obama and Pelosi, while our sons can S—w their boyfriends to the joy of Joy Behar.



  20. Freddieflea says:

    Larry, whether this was a valid or licit baptism is for competent ecclesiastical authority to determine, as you said. The thing that concerns me is who edits that magazine? The article should not have been there as it isn’t just an “awww” moment.
    @Selaniest, baptism isn’t just sprinkling. It makes an ontological change in the person. Look at what Scripture says about the sacrament.
    Anybody, even a non-Christian can baptize in extremus in the Name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit with any kind of poured water as you said above, Larry.


  21. terry Nelson says:

    Joe wrote: “Are not a deacon’s hands consecrated?”

    Which reminded me of this: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die?”



  22. This isn’t something that anyone should make a habit, and there are clearly abnormalities here. Was it licit? Canon Law states simply:

    Can. 861 §2. When an ordinary minister [bishop, priest or deacon] is absent or impeded, a catechist or another person designated for this function by the local ordinary, or in a case of necessity any person with the right intention, confers baptism licitly.

    There is some latitude granted for cases of “necessity.” (For example, in rare cases, the water does not have to be blessed, and it doesn’t always have to happen in a church or oratory.)


    • Christine says:

      Deacon Kandra: This is not about necessity. This is about splitting the action of baptism between two persons–one pouring, and the other reciting.

      It’s invalid, period.


      • Christine says:

        Clarification: it’s invalid if the action was actually split between the two (and it was unclear from the article if the deacon was trying to pour while his wife helped). Dr. Peters has discovered on further digging that it was the woman who did both herself, so the baptism would have been valid.


  23. Anonymous says:

    May the souls of the faithful departed, by the Mercy of God, rest in peace.


  24. Beth Nguyen says:

    The argument here hinges on the question of what the wife’s intention was, since she was performing the baptism by pouring the water and saying the words. If it was her understanding that her husband, the deacon, was doing the baptism, then the sacrament is invalid. If it was her intention to perform the sacrament herself, then the sacrament would be valid. It seems that her intention was the former, so I would guess that the baptism is indeed invalid.


  25. In the case of this article, a few things need to be pointed out. First, this was written under the heading of “alumni activity” (or something to the effect). They have the alumni write the articles, usually they’re about those alumni that have recently past away. A GREAT many of these alumni were educated(?) in the former “loose canon” days of the seminary, and so they are considered commonly “liberal Catholics” (Why they put them in there I don’t know, I guess since the news letter is for the alumni, that is the reason.) Secondly, this article’s bulk of the writing was speaking of this man’s formation w/ his wife, his life, and his last days. The baptism was not the bulk of the article, but an ad-on. (Yes, the editor SHOULD have cleared up any confusion that it might cause.) I hardly think those errors are reason to think the entire AoD is being run by a bunch of non-orthodox Bishops.

    To the contrary, I happen to have it on very good authority that it was our Arch-Bishop that was largely responsible for cleaning out the seminaries in this archdiocese. He, I’m told by a former bishop to the AoD, needed to clean out the books, the classes offered, and many of the staff! This was not an easy task and, I believe left him on one of the “most hated lists”! He’s now BACK to finish the job of cleaning out this archdiocese! It takes a lot of time. If you read canon law and look at, only the requirements that he has to follow simply to remove a pastor from a parish, you’d be amazed at how difficult it is! Jesus said, “let the wheat grow up with the weeds” in order to not take the chance of pulling up the good wheat with the weeds. Think about how many people LOVE Fr. X, and think he’s wonderful, while all the while Fr. X is teaching illicit and even heretical things (but the non-educated Catholics, that THINK they’re educated, don’t know this; they just think he’s WONDERFUL.) If the bishop removes that pastor over-night he risks losing many parishioners too. Many will think the bishop’s an evil man without any love in his heart, and not wait around for the true teachings on the faith. By delicately extricating these pastors from the parishes, the bishop can leave the laity in place, put an orthodox pastor in the parish, who will then teach the people the truth of the faith! These bishops are trying their best to follow the teachings of the Lord. Maybe they ARE making mistakes, but that’s where WE can help. Not by attacking, but by pointing out the most serious offenders, and offenses, and maybe even politely offering suggestions, or help.

    Our bishops have a very tough job, and we need to give them the benefit of the doubt when possible; get behind them, ask them questions on why something was done (if they can reveal it, often they cannot.), and not only pray for God to guide them, but ask what we can do to help them!

    There’s so much going on behind the scenes that it isn’t even funny, let’s get in the boat and row too! Larry, have you written your bishop about your pastor these days? I understand that I am the only one that has written him on these ugly statues so far. Why? He can’t just hear from one person, or how is he to know what any other parishioners think? I happen to know of many other things this pastor has done as well, and I hardly think that I could be the only one that knows of things.


  26. Fr. Larry says:

    An interesting and disturbing article. However, I do not think the occasion, as serious as it is warrants a violation of the cuss-o-meter.


  27. Pingback: The problem with the Archdiocese of Detroit viz a viz RCTV is……..UPDATED! « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics

    • Perinatal Loss Nurse says:

      I read Dr Peters blog article on this and I appreciated it a great deal. He brought some helpful context to this and it was reassuring that he situation was already being handled properly before we all got into a froth over it… maybe this is a good example in looking for the best in people and situations and not assuming the worst.

      Dr Peters did not have an open combox or email link on his blog, so I will put this out here and if he sees it, great.

      He mentions that he teaches seminarians about “Grandma Baptisms” and Im very curious about what is being taught so that we laity can be better informed and prepared to do the right thing at the right time.

      Im not all that concerned with rogue baptisms done when parents are not practicing and baby’s faith formation and initiation is abandoned…it is an interesting topic but not for me today.

      As a person who cares for dying babies, I have seen too many Catholic without understanding of when and how to do an emergency Baptism. Granted not everyone has my same vantage point as I and others are lot likely to see this as an emergency, but if we really believe what we say we believe then ANY Catholic babies dying unbaptized because their families were ignorant is a tragedy.

      In the US every year, 25,000 babies who are born alive die in the first 28 days of life (of natural causes). If 22 % of the population is Catholic (random google search stat, correct me if Im wrong) then were talking over 5000 babies a year.


      • Susan Peterson says:

        A friend of mine, when told that her days old baby required an operation, turned immediately and said to her friend “Baptism!” And they went into the ladies room and baptized the baby before handing him over to the doctors. Later the rest of the baptismal ritual was done in church.

        All the pre V2 catechisms, starting with those for elementary school aged children, used to teach that anyone can baptize, and that infants in danger of death should be baptized. All memorized the proper way to baptize. Why can’t we return to doing this?

        Another thing I wish we would start teaching again is the importance of getting a priest when someone is dying. As a nurse I heard quite a few families say they didn’t see what difference it could make, even when the dying person had practiced his religion all his life, and would presumably have wanted a priest, and even when they still went to church themselves. I also encountered priests who didn’t see why they should come to the hospital if the dying person were not conscious, making me think that they were educated in the subjective, but not the objective, working of the sacraments.

        Susan Peterson


  28. Ben says:

    Free (!) canon lawyer consultation, for those of us without degrees in theology and/or canon law: (by Dr. Edward N. Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap.)

    Bonus: He teaches at Sacred Heart.

    A quote (although the whole thing is short enough to be read in about a minute):

    “Anyway, there the matter rested until a website called “Acts of the Apostasy” reported on grandma’s baptism and, with the phrase “Pardon my French, but, like, wtf ?”, purported to analyze the episode in some detail. May I ask, first, what does the abbreviation “ wtf ” stand for? Is it a phrase that befits the discussion of Catholic sacraments? Is it a phrase that should be used in regard to a grieving widow’s sad gesture? Are these terms to be used to share the truth in charity, or are they instead the crude phrases of derision? Yes, a Catholic widow acted suddenly and strangely out of grief and love, and yes the paragraph describing this embarrassing deed escaped adequate notice by an editor. But is that proof that the “invalid practice of sacraments is proudly publicized [b]y the freakin’ seminary”? Does the incident justify the schadenfreude being exhibited over it? These questions answer themselves, I think.

    The larger the organization or group, the more members there will be who can do something (wittingly or otherwise) to embarrass that community. That’s always been true, of course, but our electronic information age gives instant prominence to the bizarre, casting it as representative of the whole, when it is no such thing. It’s time people start remembering that.”


    • thelarryd says:

      Well, as I had written in an earlier comment:

      “Perhaps if a sacramental theologian reads this post, they can shed clearer light on the issue, and if need be, I will amend my post.”

      Mr Peters isn’t a sacramental theologian, as far as I know, but he is a well-respected canonist by many, including myself, so I will be true to my word and amend as necessary.


  29. After reading Dr. Peters post on this, I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps we all need to step back in a sense, and re-think using the internet as the first recourse when something seems off (and i include myself in this). It boils down to rash judgment and actions. Here are some examples (I’m not picking on you Larry because I’ve done this kind of thing before, and many of us were thinking along with what you wrote, if only interiorly).

    1) We presume that the editors saw it and allowed it, rather than considering the possibility that it slipped through (consult CCC 2477 – 2478)

    2) We presumed that the SHMS was condoning it based on 1 (one rash judgment leads to another).

    3) Rather than approaching the seminary administration as a first recourse, to see how they would respond, as Peters did, a comment further up reveals “someone has sent this to Rome to look into”. So, a problem which had already been in the process of being addressed is also on it’s way to Rome.

    4) None of us participating stopped to think about the imprudence of addressing concern publicly where the family would be subject to public humiliation. This is why we should always see to address things at the lowest level, wait for a response and if none is forthcoming or if we disagree, then go to plan B, C, and D – one of which may be the internet (though I believe specific information should be stripped).

    If we take anything away from this, myself included, it’s that, even if we don’t believe a diocese or seminary will respond appropriately, we have a duty to try there first, long before taking it to the internet (Matthew 18:15).


  30. terry Nelson says:

    Well I certainly feel admonished myself – would you please remove my silly comments. Thank you very much.

    This is such an emotional story – from start to finish. It could be a movie.

    (Thomas would never have written this kind of trash, BTW.)


  31. M. Burns says:

    I came to this interesting article on your Web site via Edward Peter’s site (via So many times I’ve experienced people who let their pride get in the way and refuse to even entertain the notion that they *may* have been wrong about x. But here you are in front of the whole world and are humble enough not only to admit you were incorrect about something, but also that you “used language unbecoming of a faithful Catholic.” That is something quite admirable, especially nowadays!

    Thank you, also, for “scrubbing” the French slur. The French language is a mellifluous language that adds to the beauty of the Canadian culture (and others), not a group of swear words.


    M. Burns
    Member, Tiber Swim Team


  32. Diane says:

    From Update II: And I’ve edited out the family name so as to preserve their privacy.

    Good man, Larry!


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