Fr. Tim's Letter - September 30, 2018

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Monday night; a ‘cashing in’ a few vacation days; sorta wishing the Norbertine house at Algoma didn’t have WiFi, or that I had more self-discipline to ‘cut the cord’, and just get away, after days which have challenged us all, here at Resurrection, in the Diocese of Green Bay and at Saint Norbert Abbey.

Along with some extra sleep, and a good bike ride into Algoma, to visit the graves of some priests whom I admire very much in the parish cemetery, the one advantage of WiFi is that I could reach out to Bishop Bob, by e-mail early this morning, to let him know of the great love and affection which has been expressed for him, from so many of us through the weekend masses.  

As one woman put it (and I totally agree): “I love him more now than before, for being honest and coming forward with this this; he didn’t have to.”  Of course, knowing Bishop Bob, his integrity and goodness, from ‘inside’ he did have to do this, in order to be the man, the Christian, the Good Shepherd that he is.

He’s in a good place, with good people, though struggling with a clear agenda after 52 years for running from one thing to another.  There’s some ‘darkness’ he faces; we pray for him in that. And when I told him I had a few days off, he said:  “Tim, nature heals; so does silence.”  Yes, for him, me, and for all of us, if we allow...especially the silence.

I also tagged base with one of the victim/survivors (survivor is really more accurate for him) of the 1970’s abuse.  This person’s perspective surprised me, as he indicated that he had forgiven; it’s in the past; why bring it up again?  Whether you agree with that or not, please remember that every person has a right to their perspective.

And I spoke with the perpetrator in a very honest conversation; a much different person now than he was back then.  And aware of how sin can take a person over (so we all have to be cautious).  “There but for the grace of God...”

These various perspectives help me to process all of this – I hope with an integrated result.

I realize while I wish Bishop Bob didn’t have to go through all of this, that in order to be a loyal brother-priest and friend to him, I have to respect that he chose this path, for integrity. He identified publicly his mistake and its unintended though serious consequences. If I minimize that or ‘skate over’ it, I disrespect him and his goodness and honesty at this time.

I realize too, how little I know of what survivors of abuse need, and how much, I and we, as a Church, need to listen to them, in order to know.

As we make our way, respecting each other and continuing to pray and listen...

“God bless us...EVERY one”!

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