EVERYTHING BISHOP DEWANE NEEDED TO KNOW IS IN THE SCRIPTURES
The gospel for Mass this past Monday, from Matthew, says “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”
That gospel has been read often in the last forty-four months, and certainly was known to Bishop Dewane long before the infamous meeting of October 28th, 2016, when he started the destruction of Fr. Christopher’s life. Soon after that Bishop Dewane, along with the assistance of the St. Isabel staff, would begin to dismantle a parish which was viewed by many as exactly what a ideal parish should be. What did Bishop Dewane think on Monday when he read/heard this gospel? Did he have any tinge of regret for how he has behaved? Did Bishop Dewane have any sense that he should have handled the “Senk” thing differently? Did Bishop Dewane have any moment of reflection which caused him to ponder what he could, or should have done, to bring healing to a parish that he was responsibile for?
From what we have come to learn, it is unlikely the words of this gospel, or any of Jesus’ teachings, have had any effect on Bishop Dewane whatsoever. Bishop Dewane passed on numerous opportunities to pause, regroup, or rescind his attacks on Fr. Christopher, and he never missed an opportunity to insinuate in the most malicious of ways that “there was so much more that the parishioners didn’t know.” The reality is, like the very worst of the worst politicians, all Bishop Dewane was interested in was winning, and when Rome told him they were not inclined to remove Fr. Christopher’s priesthood, Bishop Dewane connived new ways to get the next best thing, shifting gears ever so slightly that places all of the upset to the Church and community at the feet of Fr. Christopher, an upset Rome determined needed punishments (“remedies”), all placed under the so-called blessing of the Pope. When Rome did not pursue the removal of Fr. Christopher’s priesthood it provided Bishop Dewane the opportunity to actually sit down with Fr. Christopher so that the truth would be seen as primary; it offered an opportunity to bring peace to a troubled parish; it provided the time to meet with all the parishioners who begged to meet with him at the outset of the debacle; it gave Bishop Dewane the opportunity to tell the truth; but we are certain that none of those thoughts were ever entertained by Bishop Dewane or his mercenary Fr. Joseph Waters, for those thoughts would bear no resemblance to winning.
During his general audience on June 17, 2020, Pope Francis stated “true believers do not condemn people for their sins or shortcomings but [should] intercede on their behalf with God through prayer.” Francis spoke of Moses, who, angered at the people of Israel after their worshipping of the golden calf, never detached himself from the people, he was “a man of his people.” The Pope said that Moses’ attachment to his people is an example of “the greatness of pastors” who, far from being “authoritarian and despotic,” never forget their flock and are merciful when they sin or give in to temptation. “Pastors are bridges,” the Pope told us, “between the people to whom they belong and God to whom they belong by their vocation.”
How many “bridges” have been built to Fr. Christopher and the ‘former’ parishioners of St. Isabel in the last nearly four years? If the conviction of the administrators, pastors, and the Bishop and his cronies, is that those parishioners went astray, what kind of effort was made to “seek out the lost sheep” and restore them to the fold? The answer to both of these questions is none. From the very beginning, long before Bishop Dewane switched from elder abuse claims and moved to unknown offenses against the Pastoral Code of Conduct and the heinous insinuation of “other things” parishioners don’t know, there was never any effort to talk to Fr. Christopher or parishioners. Bishop Dewane’s judgement, uninformed by the gospel or Pope Fransis’ suggestions, is all about winning, and we hope that winning, after destroying many people’s lives, gives him great comfort when he attempts to go to sleep at night.