Bless You Father, for You Have Sinned

By Jim Albracht
November 10, 2008

With the media in Election Day overdrive, it was easy to miss the results of last week's sexual abuse hearings involving several Catholic priests with local ties. So, let's get it out in the public daylight, where it belongs.

Apart from providing compensation for the victims, the Church has to officially determine what accusations were credible and which ones were more of the Witch-hunt variety. This is done through Review Boards or by Special Trial if a member of the clergy thinks he's been judged unfairly.

In the case of retired Bishop Lawrence Soens, who had previously spent time in Clinton, the Church said guilty as charged. Soens maintains his innocence, despite that 31 men said he took theirs. 31!

For that many former altar boys to go through that kind of public scrutiny and personal embarrassment, and all point to the same predator...Please Bishop, give us 5 million "Our Fathers," 4 million "Hail Marys," and...give us a break!

As for Monsignor Drake Shafer from Davenport, his church trial found him not guilty of sexual abuse and he'll be re-instated after a 5-year leave of absence. The difference? The underage victim here claimed that Shafer had gotten drunk and then they both slept in the same motel bed. Not behavior anyone condones for a priest, but there's no accusation of intimacy or anyone else claiming similar behavior.

All humans make mistakes, Shafer has apologized for his and paid his accuser. In this case, forgiveness must come with a very short leash attached to a collar. Your God is watching, Monsignor, and so are we.



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