The following is a guest op-ed submitted to The Badger Catholic.
"What Would You Think About This Situation?"
---An important analogy, by a friend of St. Francis and St. Clare
A Catholic elementary school in Wisconsin recently accepted a male teacher, whose reputation revealed that he was apparently a good teacher and recognized in his field. He also taught in Minnesota at a public school which was nationally respected, and there he was quite admired by his colleagues.
One day, it came to the attention of some of the parents who have children attending the local Catholic elementary school that this teacher had been involved in tragic cases of pedophilia and pederasty in the Minnesota public school. It seems that on a number of occasions this teacher had sexually assaulted a few of the children he taught, and had even admitted to these brutal acts against his students.
Therefore, the families in Wisconsin rightly decided to take their grave concerns to the Catholic school administration. The administrators listened, but decided that since the offenses did not happen at their school, but only over in Minnesota at the public school, this teacher was free to continue to teach at their location.
When the shocked families appealed to the founding religious order who originally started the school, the religious sisters similarly replied that the assaults of children did not actually ever happen at their Catholic schools.
The families who were now very worried about the situation approached the local church. After talking with various churchmen, it was determined by them that so long as the teacher promised not to abuse children or encourage the sexual abuse of minors at the Catholic elementary school, this teacher in question would be permitted to retain his privileges and would be authorized to continue teaching at the Wisconsin Catholic school, provided he give his word to abide by Catholic moral teaching while on school premises.
When further credible evidence was presented that cases of pedophilia continued in Minnesota at the public school by this teacher, the Catholic administration, the religious order, and local churchman responded uncomfortably to the families continued complaints. Furthermore, these Catholic administrators, those in religious leadership, and even some churchmen seemed somewhat disconcerted that these Catholic families continued to be bothered by the presence of this pedophile teacher at the Catholic educational institution, particularly after an apparent amenable special arrangement for this teacher had already been put in place at the particular Wisconsin Catholic elementary school. Among those leaders, some even stated that it was "not accurate" to call this individual a "pedophile" or "pederast" since none of the "alleged activity" ever occurred at a Catholic institution.
So what do you think about this sad situation?
Do you believe that perhaps those Catholic families should just reconsider their grave concerns and trustfully accept the policy in place at the Catholic school?
Do you think that maybe these parents should never have spoken up in the first place? Were they "over-reacting?"
Perhaps the admitted immoral activities of the teacher were not really that "serious"? Or at least, not so serious that his teaching privileges at the Catholic school should be revoked?
If he remained as a teacher at a Catholic elementary school, would his presence constitute any form of public scandal?
What do you think?
Are the concerned Catholic families justified in their outspoken opposition to the pedophile/pederast teacher?
If he admitted to these actions, even if only once, is the title "pedophile" accurate? Is this admittance of the immoral acts sufficient enough for him to be removed from being around all children in an educational setting?
Should that teacher be specifically allowed to teach children at a Catholic elementary school? At any school?
...Now, what would you think if the story remained the same, but the teacher actually MURDERED some of these children, his students, in Minnesota. And what if the administration working at the Wisconsin Catholic school acted as though he was still a respectable teacher in good standing, since he did not kill children at the Catholic elementary school? Would this seem reasonable to you?
Would you let this murderous man teach your children? What if he promised you he would never sexually abuse or murder YOUR children, at YOUR school (since it is a Catholic school), but that he should be free to do so elsewhere at other schools-- would that make a difference to you?
Finally, what if we were to consider that the children harmed in this case were unborn babies who were being killed in Minnesota, and the man was not a teacher, but a doctor and was actually being permitted to practice medicine as a physician for pregnant mothers and unborn babies at a Wisconsin Catholic hospital?
Does this suddenly become permissible now, since abortion is "legal"?
Do you believe there is a serious conflict of interest with a doctor who believes its appropriate to directly kill some of his patients some of the time? And do you feel that it wouldn't be a significant violation of trust and solidarity against the mothers, fathers and unborn children who are patients at the hospital?
Would such an abortionist at a Catholic hospital seem consistent with the Church's teaching on the value of human life? Do you think this arrangement would reflect a positive witness of the Catholic identity of this health care institution? Do you think pro-life parents at the hospital would be rightfully or wrongfully scandalized by the presence of a doctor who kills babies sometimes in Minnesota?
If this happened in your town, what would you do to address this situation?
Do you think we owe a responsibility to innocent child victims who live a whole state away from us?
If you became aware of a reality like this, would you care?
Did you know that at least two physicians who kill unborn babies in Minnesota and work at Mayo in Rochester come frequently, with permission, to practice at Franciscan/Mayo hospital in La Crosse and admit and see numerous patients: unsuspecting pregnant mothers and their unborn babies? And though said abortionists/physicians in question are not permitted to kill, counsel or advise to kill patients onsite at Franciscan/Mayo hospital in La Crosse, yet they can still practice medicine with these innocent patients at this Catholic hospital nonetheless?
What do you think about this situation?