There is a Time . . .
I am following up my last post, “With Heavy Heart’ with a conclusion of sorts. That is, if conclusion is an appropriate way to describe my feelings of the moment. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 which be begins with the line “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens . . .” Line number nine says there is a time to search and a time to give up.
Over the past many weeks I–along with my brother David– have tried to find out how our beloved friend, Father Thomas Stack’s wonderful reputation could be utterly destroyed by someone’s ‘hearsay’ accusation. Yes, hearsay! Ms. Patty Beissel decided to pin the blame for her brother’s unfortunate and tragic life on someone so she chose Father Stack, the priest of Queen of Peace Church in Hoyt lakes. In that Father Stack died in 1986, he had no way to defend himself from this heinous accusation.
I have talked with dozens of people who knew Father Tom–including former parishioners, priests, and even non-Catholics who knew the man. NOt one . . . NOT ONE! believed he would ever sexually abuse anybody and least of all an altar boy.
So, based upon the Helms accusation (even is without truth) my friend’s name was placed on that despicable list of sexual abusers. In my contacts with the Diocese of Duluth I was stymied/stonewalled. The investigator, although sympathetic with what he termed “a very imperfect system” said that he had to take an oath of confidentiality and could not share any details of the system in place. David researched Code of Cannon Law and discovered that the Church provides that ‘the accused enjoys the presumption of innocence and his good name must not be illigitimately harmed’. My brother and I are left empty relative to the process. Even worse, I was told that the good reputation of a blessed priest can NEVER be restored. NEVER is a painful reality.
Thus, I have closed my file on Father Stack this morning. He will be always in my prayers and I am certain that his ultimate judgement before the God he served for so many years will be the vindication that counts. Father Stack, we tried–and we failed.
Lastly, we will never be informed of any details of the Civil matters facing our diocese which is currently in bankruptcy. It seems certain, however, that Ms. Helms will be generously compensated for her timely, but hearsay, allegation. I will pray for her as well. “There is a time to mourn and a time to dance . . .” Our late priest is dancing as I let go of my fruitless endeavor.