Being a cleric or employee under the influence of our Bishop must have a distorting affect on the mind because these men can’t stop running into the buzz saw of social media for all the wrong reasons. Social media commentary doesn’t seem to add to the dignity of the priesthood at all. Keep in mind when you read this that there are many things posted on Facebook daily that you may ignore but when public figures with authority over your children make comments about school policy regarding sex, gender, bullying, and abuse then every parent is on a need to know basis. Leaders who try to hide these things deserve to be pilloried. Sadly Fr. Stephen Jones recently stepped into the line of fire.
Fr. Jones is the President of Helias Catholic High School in Jefferson City, MO. http://heliascatholic.com/aboutus.php His position makes him a mandatory reporter of child abuse and the priestly office the Church gave him requires him to protect the souls of the children in his care from child abuse. One would think then that he would also inform his staff and parents about potential physical and spiritual threats to the students. Not so, and he’s defiantly proud of it (The bold highlighting is ours):
From time to time I receive “anonymous” letter in my role as president of Helias Catholic. Today, I received one such letter with a return address which read “A Concerned Parent/Diocese of Jefferson City” (as did the president, vp, and treasurer of our Advisory Council). When I read the letter, I agreed with the content 100%…but I threw it (and those addressed to the others) straight in the trash. Why? Because I will not respond to or act on “anonymous” letters, even if I agree with the person(s). If you don’t have the gumption to put a name to your concern or complaint then I will not take it seriously. Put a name to it and we will talk, work together, and solve problems. Just sayin’
He’s referencing what we presume is a letter like this from “A Concerned Parent.” Here: School Board Letter. Here’s what we can logically conclude from his comments:
1. He’s upset about the missing name on a letter recommending a policy that was issued in response to the Diocesan Transgender Process, a process that the Diocese and it’s priests didn’t think parents needed to know about. Isn’t the pot calling the kettle black here? Maybe the writer felt he didn’t need to know their name? Is that wrong? If so is it then wrong of the Diocese to do the same?
2. The letter asks him and the board to consider adopting a policy that he 100% agrees with so why does he need to talk to the writer, work with them, or solve problems with them? You have the authority, whatever happened to just doing your job? Take the time you waste on Facebook and have a meeting with your Advisory board about the policy you 100% agree with. Or use Facebook to inform parents about the comings out at Helias that make this policy necessary. Helias parents and Jefferson City Facebook users have been treated to all sorts of revealing things about Helias students lately yet at the same time there was nothing to acknowledge those things from the leader of the school.
3. If you have tried to Dialogue with the Bishop, the Chancery, your priest, or your principal then in most cases things probably didn’t go the way Fr. Jones said they would. Did they talk to you, work with you, or solve problems with you? No? Wait a second, did they refuse to speak with you about it?
4. He threw away mail addressed to someone else, mail he agreed with, that was sent to his own Advisory Board members. But then again they may not be on a need to know basis either. The board may well remember how much Bishop Gaydos thought they needed to know when it came time to hire a new President at Helias.
5. He either never learned or is willfully ignoring the purpose and hazards of being a whistle blower. Even the secular government has laws protecting whistle blowers. Those laws tell you that a whistle blower might expect retribution.
6. He didn’t learn American History before becoming President of a Catholic high school because “During the debates over the design and ratification of the United States Constitution, in 1787 and 1788, a large number of writers in the popular press used pseudonyms. This list shows some of the more important commentaries and the (known or presumed) authors responsible for them. Note: the identity of the person behind several of these pseudonyms is not known for certain.” Hey, if those men didn’t have the gumption to put a name to their concern or complaint then maybe they shouldn’t have been taken any more seriously than King George took the Declaration of Independence.
7. English class at Helias is devoid of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), Silence Dogood (Benjamin Franklin), and hundreds of other famous writers who didn’t have the gumption to use their own names.
8. He and his clerical supporters are confusing a pseudonym who wrote about publicly verifiable information with the concept of an anonymous and unverifiable accusation. No, you shouldn’t make a major decision based on anonymous accusations that can only be confirmed by the anonymous writer. Yes, you should make major decisions based on information from an anonymous whistle blower who reveals information that can be verified. If you’ve verified the truth and you agree with it 100% then it’s time to act. The children and parents aren’t guilty here, they need protection. Instead though we get legalistic excuses for not taking action.
9. Items 5, 6, and 7 are really just lighthearted logical conclusions one might draw but the true root of this outburst is there for all to see. It’s the outward projection of internal guilt from the failure to have the gumption to accept the path to martyrdom and sign a name to a policy the Bishop would oppose. And, make no mistake, he has no problem threatening these men as Fr. Frank found out. These priests are paid by the Diocese and that money is the stick used to keep them in line. They really wish to remain anonymous, to avoid speaking about this issue, and so they are angry at those who can remain anonymous while forcing them to face tough issues. They could hand off their cross to children if those pesky anonymous writers would leave things alone. Their job is to embrace the cross but since many of the faithful received their greatest cross from the clergy it’s not surprising that as a group they’d receive a little push back from lay parents. Our remaining priests are under a lot of pressure from their Bishop and also from our society and their own confused flocks. Everyone should pray for them because, though it is their job to defend children, it is a very hard job and will make them unpopular with the outside world. A Church that is in this much turmoil is also probably really short on prayers for it’s priests, so right when they need help the most that help is the least likely to be given.
Gentlemen it’s time to get off of Facebook and take a defiant moral stance on something that actually matters. Help the parents carry the cross instead of adding weight to it. Just sayin’
Here’s a snippet from an email forwarded to us that raises some interesting points: