Today on Monday, August 28th, Fr. Christopher will be on administrative leave for ten long months. It was ten months ago that Fr. Christopher was treated so unjustly that it caused hundreds of parishioners to band together and form Parishioners For Justice, a concerned group of parishioners whose sole purpose is to bring light where there is darkness, to give support where it is necessary, and to bring justice to where it is needed. We continue to be steadfast in our desire to have Fr. Christopher fully exonerated and returned to the church that he so capably nurtured for fourteen years. We believe strongly that both the civil and canonical accusations against Fr. Christopher are false, and we stand by this conviction as sons and daughters of a Church which is so much bigger than any single person.
There are some who see us as dissidents or rabble-rousers, stirring “up the passions or prejudices” of other parishioners. Nothing could be further from the truth. As Pope Francis teaches us, “true mercy, the mercy God gives to us and teaches us, demands justice!” Like all Christians, PFJ is called to live with Christ-like integrity, to stand up for the values of the reign of God, no matter the cost. Standing on the sidelines and waiting for the dust to settle is blatantly unchristian. Neutrality is not an option. Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize laureate who survived the Holocaust, is quoted as saying: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor…. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. ” When confronted with evil, disciples of Jesus must not remain silent. Evil demands of us a gospel response, and all would agree, even Bishop Dewane whose recent press releases on immigration, the death penalty, and health care, curiously quote Pope Francis: “Mercy is the only way to overcome evil. Justice is necessary, very much so, but by itself it is not enough. Justice and mercy must go together.” With the greatest of respect we ask you Bishop, where is the justice? Where is the mercy?