FROM CHANGE.ORG – JUST A THOUGHT
Comparisons can be odious, but I could not help reading the above online appeal through the prism of my own life. I am not suggesting that Tevin Hill is not guilty, although his family feels passionately that he is. Mr. Hill is accused of murdering a friend, an extremely serious charge, and authorities say “the case is still active.” What I do know, is that Mr. Hill is entitled to a fair trial and the ‘due process’ that is everyone’s right, regardless of the color of their skin.
While I am not in prison, my priesthood has been imprisoned since October 28, 2016, although it has not been proven that I have done anything wrong. Since October 28 I was treated as a criminal, a “danger to the Church,” who could no longer celebrate my priesthood publicly. With the addition of a “no trespassing citation,” imposed by the Diocese’s lackey, Ms. Khristy Scheer, the desire to tarnish my career was furthered.
October 28 happened some six months after the secret investigation conducted by the County Sheriff’s office, producing a thousand or more pages of materials, concluded that not only was there not enough evidence to convict me of “abusing a vulnerable adult,” but it also prompted the then County Sheriff to state that I was “not guilty,” and if the Diocese did not see it that way “it was unfortunate.” There was no evidence on October 28 that Bishop Dewane had even read the materials assembled by the County, including the subpoenaed eight years of my entire financial life. In addition, in January of 2020, Rome concluded its investigation of the case against me prepared by the Diocese, declaring that Rome could not remove my priesthood as requested. That, too, was not enough for Bishop Dewane, who sadly continues to seek a malicious way to take away my priesthood because of the exceptionally vague “offenses against the Code of Diocesan Conduct.”
As already stated, I have not studied Mr. Hill’s case and do not comment on his guilt or innocence. What I do know is that after five years he deserves justice, and justice will only be achieved for all involved when a trial date is scheduled, and when the trial runs its fair course. In my own case, not nearly on the level of importance as that of Mr. Hill, justice would surely have been served by now had it not been for the recalcitrance of Bishop Dewane and his Judicial Vicar. Had the case against me unfolded with the transparency that was promised, had Bishop Dewane ever thought it was important to speak with me personally, had Bishop Dewane shared his case with me and my advocate as instructed by the Dicastery, had the proscriptions of the Church’s Canon Law been followed, and had the Bishop refused to act on his deep-seated animus against me, then I too, after nearly five years, might be enjoying the justice that I, and every priest like me, deserves.
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IT SEEMS TO SAY TO US THAT ALL BISHOPS ARE NOT GOOD SHEPHERDS —YOU DESERVED BETTER AND THOSE WHO KNOW YOU KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE.
WE HOPE SOME DAY THAT SOME HONEST MEN WILL BE UNAFRAID TO LOOK AT THIS CASE AND GIVE IT THE TIME IT DESERVES. FIVE YEARS IS A LONG TIME TO SUFFER FOR SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT EVEN BEING GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK WITH YOUR BISHOP. THAT IS INJUSTICE!
GOD BLESS YOU FR CHRISTOPHER…WE STILL PRAY AND HOPE FOR SOME HONESTY FROM THE CHURCH IN THIS MATTER. THANK GOD THAT WE KNOW SOME OTHER GOOD PRIESTS AND BISHOPS —
SINCERELY–MARY JO AND HANK