This week the news centered not on our declared $208.8 million dollars overall deficit; not on the proposed-denied public-salary pay cuts; not on the almost daily fatal shootings and alleged suicides.
Of course, it had been decided almost from the moment a charred chunk of him had been retrieved from a mysteriously burned-out vehicle at Cap Estate that the recent death of wealthy realtor Oliver Gobat would be treated in much the same way Giselle Georges, Mary Rackliffe, Trisha Dennis, Cheryl Hunte, Verlinda Joseph and dozens more victims of unresolved violence had over the years been treated: pick ‘em up, babble about what they did nor didn’t do when they were still able to breathe, bury ‘em and forget ‘em.
When it comes to its homicides, black or white, rich or poor,it makes no difference: official Saint Lucia remains a determined equal opportunity dispenser of injustice!
Preferential treatment is today reserved only for election rejects such as our Just-Us Minister and his senatorial colleague, the government’s main supplier of lubricants for intercourse, whether or not diplomatic!
There was almost no mention this week of our thrice handicapped police department; the unprecedented high and escalating unemployment figures; the frustrated thousands of young citizens island-wide for whom the only way out of their predicament appears to be crime; the former employees of business houses large and small that in the last few months have shut down, all victims of our acknowledged vision-hunting government and related comatose economy.
Mary Isaac continues to be the official scapegoat of choice and Jadia’s favorite munchie. However, relatively little was heard of her this week—other than that she was “in bed with Allen Chastanet”—as if indeed she alone were in bed with our nom sans gwen politicians.
What the week’s spotlight focused on was a relatively unknown young man, thanks mainly to his somewhat obese boss who seems determined to convince Saint Lucian followers he and others similarly cassocked had in the last year or so undergone an attitudinal change toward coupling on presumed holy ground.
No surprise that the July 5 press release from the Archbishop’s Office left its message open to interpretation. They say the same about lines from the Holy Scriptures such as “It is better to marry than to burn . . .”—to say nothing of the meaning of “brother” when applied to Jesus. It’s all open to interpretation!
The archbishop’s press release: “Allegations of inappropriate behavior incompatible with the priesthood were brought against a priest of the Archdiocese of Castries. Using the mechanisms at its disposal the archdiocese initiated a process of investigation. The accuser and the accused priest were interviewed by the Delegate appointed by the archdiocese. The Archdiocesean Review Board, after serious deliberations on the report filed by the Delegate, concluded that the accused priest in his relationship with the accuser acted inappropriately.”
Additionally: “The archdiocese considers this inappropriate behavior incompatible with the priesthood a serious matter and has taken the decision to withdraw the priest from pastoral ministry with immediate effect. The priest has been put on administrative leave and during this time will receive spiritual and counseling support. The accuser has also been offered counseling support.”
This being the Rock of Sages, long before the press release hit the airwaves, the informed word was that the so-called accused had been doing with someone what for some time now has been synonymous with Catholic priests worldwide—compensation for which has cost the church court-ordered multiple millions of dollars.
By popular but uncorroborated account, whatever had taken place between the fingered priest and his unidentified accuser in a presbytery boudoir or on a prayer mat back of a church altar—which is to say, in privacy!—was last Sunday exposed to a congregation unused to titillation by a guy in clothes more female in appearance than male.
This was altogether in keeping with Luke 12:3: “Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed from the housetops.”
I was among those who imagined the worst, especially when I heard the word according to Timothy—not the Timothy whose father was a gentile Greek and his mother Jewish, and whom the apostle Paul described in his letters as “timid.” I speak here of the local Timothy, especially notorious as a “media terrorist.”
Yes, I regret I had jumped to the somewhat emotional conclusion that another local priest had been caught with his cassock above his waist and his person unnaturally connected to a minor.
Also I had formed the impression that the archbishop had, in the regular fashion, aided and abetted the disappearance of the accused (who had been judged by The Delegate and Archdiocean Review Board, and declared guilty as charged!).
Those of us still with functioning memory banks will easily recall the current man of the church manor had promised, soon after arrival here as the replacement for then Archbishop Kelvin Felix (recently promoted to sainthood or something close), that henceforth unholy and unnatural connections would be dealt with by the police and not covered up with altar cloths. That no longer would it be lubricated holy intercourse with impunity; that the police would be involved.
To be altogether truthful, the new archbishop never said priests accused of inappropriate behavior would be handed to the police once fingered. As usual, they would be first interviewed by the church-appointed “Delegate,” in advance of police involvement.
As I say, I was quick to condemn the unidentified holier-than-thou I imagined were engaged in the usual cover-ups, now legendary. I went so far as to suggest the archbishop should be required to give a full account to the police for what had inspired his July 5 press bulletin.
By mid-week I was in a new mood to withdraw what I’d said so passionately to Timothy Poleon. I had discovered no minor was involved. I had also been told by an informed source of some standing in the local church that there had been no, as they say, “penetration”; that the unbraided priest had “merely fondled the other guy.”
My source would not say why the recipient of the apparently unwelcome fondling had taken his complaint to the archbishop, not the police.
More recent information casts new light on the deliberately clouded issue: I know now that just one day before the pulpit announcement that a priest had behaved inappropriately (one wonders how many at Bordelais are there because of inappropriate behavior such as rape, bestiality, murder, child molestation etc), the archbishop had circulated to his “dear sisters and brothers,” the following statement:
“In recent months allegations of inappropriate behavior incompatible with the priesthood were brought against your parish priest, Fr. Stephen Quinlan, in his relationship with an adult male.” The rest of the statement coincides with the press release of July 5.
Well-placed reliable sources tell me further that the archbishop had for some time before his shocking announcement known what was going on but refused to act. He moved reluctantly only after complaints were made to the Pope’s representative in Trinidad.
It remains unclear what was the adult accuser’s complaint. My sources tell me the so-called inappropriate behavior had for a long time been going on in plain sight of parishioners whose reports the archbishop ignored until he was ordered to act.
And then, as is usually the case, there was the matter of money. Another church source told me the suspicion is that the identified priest had normally paid the accuser for his inappropriate services and that problems arose only when, for whatever reasons, he could not come up with sums owed.
Reliable informants also assure there are at least three other local priests whose homosexual activities will sooner than later explode and embarrass the church and its faithful followers.
If any of this is true, then the archbishop’s press release is at best misleading and tangible proof of “inappropriate behavior, incompatible with an archbishop.”
While the alleged male prostitute is an acknowledged adult, it should be remembered that prostitution in Saint Lucia is still a crime, whether or not involving holy lubricants.
It turns out that what has been so far reported is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Rather than leaving it to the media the archbishop, in the best interest of himself and his priests, not to say the beleaguered Catholic church, should voluntarily issue a statement detailing all he knows concerning this issue that, to quote Pope Francis this week, appears more and more to be “a matter for the police.”
Meanwhile another scandal looms, this time involving a high-ranking clergyman who impregnated not just one but two nuns, while residing, contrary to papal instructions, at their monastery.
For your added information: nuns fall into two main categories: the contemplatives and actives. The first group live a life of intense prayer and their work is within the monastery, for example, that at Coubaril.
The second category also pray but their work is outside in the world; teaching, hospital activities, orphanages and so on, such as the Marian Home and St Joseph of Cluny.
All convents are to have cloister. That is, parts of the house are out of bounds to other than the nuns themselves—unless otherwise permitted by the bishop and in some cases the Pope himself. How a particular priest came to be domiciled at a local convent is still another story with consequences waiting to be uncovered.