If you live in Kansas City or the surrounding area, you have most likely heard about the most recent events with the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. It appeared on the news Monday night, that a local Catholic priest fathered a child seven years ago. Now the mother and her husband are getting a divorce because of the situation.
This is a situation that brings about many thoughts and feelings. There is a lot of hurt to go around with all involved, and even those not directly involved. I cannot say that I am for or against anyone in this case. There are problems all the way around. I feel bad for the child involved. He’s the one that will be hurt the most by all of this. It seems that there must have been problems in the marriage for the mother/wife to have an affair to begin with. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph suspended Fr. Joe for five months after they were made aware of the affair. They are now under fire for reinstating him in his pastoral duties. Appropriate steps were taken before he was reinstated. There has been no comment on any of this from the wife/mother involved. She is not a party to the lawsuit.
Fr. Joe has been a Catholic priest for many years in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. He has served at many parishes. He was the pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church in Belton from 1989 to 2004. It was he that planned for, built, and dedicated our new church. He, his father (now deceased), and his brother have all been good friends to me. When I was questioning my faith and whether I wanted to remain Catholic (I was raised Episcopalian), it was he who helped me with many faith decisions and understanding the Catholic faith. He has been a good priest to many people over the years.
What does all of this bring us to? Bad things happen to good people. It is up to us how we react to them and what we choose to do about them. The bigger the challenge, the better chance for growth; especially spiritual growth. To those who are on the fence, angry at the Diocese, Fr. Joe, or are just on the outside looking in at this whole situation, the Bible says this, “All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. (And) be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ” (Ephesians 4:31,32).
My thoughts and prayers go out to each and every person who is involved in this situation in any way, or has been hurt by what has occurred. Time will tell what the future will hold. In the meantime, we must keep our eyes, minds, and hearts focused on God. He will have the final say in everything.