The Right to Know?
Here is what is: Last night, I reported after corroboration from several sources that Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg had dismissed a student yesterday after an investigation which, supporters say, was based on "false allegations."
The Mount's Visitation begins two weeks from Saturday.
The anger from supporters immediately poured into my inbox. I was accused of "harming the Church," damaging the career of a potential priest, and "not showing concern for the little people in the Church."
Um, so something of this kind should be kept quiet? That got us into a lot of mess before, didn't it? That's not concern for the little ones, that's protecting one at the expense of the many. (See, there's a good example of "pro multis," snowflakes.)
As I will profess to the end, this isn't the first time a journeyman seminarian has had a setback on his quest for priesthood. It won't be the last time. And as always, if he's in the right, time and another house will vindicate him, and there's nothing to be feared from the spotlight.
However, repeating what I've already said, the nature of this work is not p.r. -- I'm no one's flack, in case you need reminding. This is a work of journalism -- and especially in this case, as the People of God have a right to know what happens in the formation of their potential pastoral leaders, their future priests. A decision to dismiss is never taken lightly by formators, and when a man is shown to be less than compliant with and less than submissive to the valid authority of those charged with his formation, that raises a flag. The seminary is, after all, the proving ground of priestly obedience. And, now more than ever, if we err, it must be on the side of openness and transparency.
Emotions are running high over this, and everyone involved has a place in my thoughts and prayers. I ask everyone to echo these.
But, with all the focus on issues of formation and seminary life these days, should this story have been "kept on the down-low"? What about the truth setting us free?
People of God, tell me what you think.