Saturday, August 12, 2017

I Never Met the Man

"Choose your acquaintances wisely. If a priest gives scandal you want to be able to say 'I never met
the man.'" This was a saying of Fr. Donald Curry. And it is one that has stuck with me. He was speaking about clergy in the Autocephalous Catholic Movement. I have noted in my posts what because there is a lack of quality control and because we are so much smaller than mainstream groups, our eccentrics are given the spotlight. Yet, we have to exercise our own discretion in who we take in to our churches as well as who we meet.

This is problematic for me. As an extreme extrovert I love to meet new people. But this quote pops into my head every now and again and provides me with caution. Sometimes meeting problematic people is unavoidable. However, it seems prudent to evaluate people's ministry and even sanity before rushing off to meet them. If they are a difficult person they can cause real problems to our ministries by their bad behavior.

This becomes a larger problem when we validate them. For instance, in our movement there is a desire to want to participate in everyone's ordinations. For some it's a change to dress up and participate. For others they see themselves as genuinely ordaining someone to minister to the People of God. Regardless, it's harmful to do unless we know the content of their character. The worst thing that can happen (and I have seen it happen) is to take someone in and discover they have a disreputable background. I've even seen the bishop be contacted by the media and put his name front and center for the crimes of his priest.

The result is a tapeworm like affect. A person with a past of abuse or fraud then affects our reputation, our church, our family, etc. Even if you depose them they are forever attached to your credibility. And now, thanks to the internet, nothing ever really goes away. How much better to be able to say "I never met the man."

"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." -
Proverbs 13:20.