On the last two successive Saturdays, an individual was pulled over for a DUI as the clock approached midnight. Both cases made the news.
In Case I, the individual was charged with driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal state limit. The vehicle was observed swerving within its lane, touching the fog and center lines several times, making a wide turn, nearly driving into a ditch, and barely missing a fire hydrant. The driver was arrested, cited, and released around 4PM on Sunday. The details for Case II are not as extensive. The news merely reports that the driver was pulled over for speeding, failure to drive within one lane of traffic and driving within the bicycle lane. This driver was also arrested on suspicion of DUI, cited, and released.
Despite the similarities of the two cases, the reactions of the employers of the two arrested individuals were markedly different.
The first case involved a Catholic priest, Fr. Joseph Gates, who is currently assigned to St. Isabel Parish in Sanibel. This parish is in the Diocese of Venice in Florida, led by Bishop Frank Dewane. The Diocese released a statement about the arrest on the following Monday as follows, “The Diocese is aware that over the weekend, Fr. Joseph Gates was arrested for an alleged DUI, while he was returning from a personal social engagement. As the matter is pending, the Diocese will await the judicial outcome before further response.”
The second case involved Ron Minegar, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. On Sunday morning, right after the DUI incident, the Cardinals issued the statement, “Ron Minegar’s actions last night are inexcusable. He made the decision to drive after drinking alcohol and is fortunate that he was pulled over before injuring anyone or himself. According to MADD, drunk driving results in almost 11,000 deaths per year and is the number one cause of fatalities on roadways. We fully recognize the seriousness of these actions and they will have serious consequences.” What those consequences will be are presently unknown, but a Cardinal’s executive arrested last summer for extreme DUI was suspended for five weeks and fined $200,000.
The response of Bishop Frank Dewane to the incident involving one of his priests further reveals his failed leadership of the Diocese of Venice that is devoid of justice and moral leadership. It has been said that for Catholics on Sunday in the US, the place of worship is the NFL football field rather than at their parish churches. It seems that the football Cardinals may provide stronger moral leadership than the Catholic cardinals. Most certainly, they have shown more courage, conviction, and dedication to responsible behavior than Bishop Frank Dewane.