For years he’d prayed to have these urges expunged from him, for God to fix what must’ve been a mistake.
Then, after the first time he acted on them, the prayers shifted. Now he prayed that he wouldn’t get caught, that the boys wouldn’t tell anyone what he’d done.
God heard those prayers more than He heard his original ones.
But, the priesthood had ways of handling priests with problems and proclivities like his. When he was discovered, he was quietly shuffled away. Lost, like a slip of paper into the belly of a bureaucratic beast.
He found himself in Memphis when it was all over, preaching to a congregation that was a mix of blacks and hispanics. They also had him in counseling, a rehearsed and awkward affair where everyone’s best was done to talk around what had happened.
And for a while, his prayers went back to what they used to be. To be free of these ear-piercing urges.
But after a while, they assigned him to help with the youth outreach program. Everyday became a struggle, one that he could feel himself losing.
He knew it would not be long before his prayers would change again.
When the Catholic sex abuse scandal swept across the church, Memphis was not spared. A Dominican priest (his order, not nationality) was charged with sexually assaulting a 14 year old boy in the suburbs of the city. His was moved to Saint Louis after the assault, and this was not his first reassignment for his sexual conduct. The diocese of Memphis settled the civil case for $2 million dollars.