Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Rest Of The Story

As mentioned in my St. Francis of Assisi post, and I've been wondering whatever happened to Fr. Francis Mary Stone. It appears (presuming authenticity of this website) that he has moved on and is a new dad. He will be writing about it in an upcoming autobiography.

Whatever it was - sin, motivation, disconnect from vocation - that led him away from the priesthood to where he is now (aside: it's so surreal to me, having met him in person in AL with the girls in tow, having a nice chat, and receiving Communion from him with him just 2 years ago - the news just bowled me over, never could've imagined that coming...), he's taken responsibility for the consequences of his actions. I don't think, with a baby on the way, he could rightly have done otherwise as a Catholic man. I would like to think everyone familiar with this situation and reading this post seeks not to judge, but rather to understand with charity.

Best of luck to you and prayers for peace and happiness in your new life, Dave.


Kasia said...

I have to admire your equanimity on this. I certainly don't want to judge him or anyone else involved in the situation, but I still get a churned-up stomach and other physical symptoms of distress when I read or hear about him or his situation. It's probably just the easily-scandalized neophyte in me. But then, I never met him in person. I really didn't even watch his show. So I guess if you can put it so neatly into perspective, I can pray for the grace to do so also...

Kit said...

Oh, don't get me wrong...I was scandalized, too, as anyone is when you discover someone's cheating on their spouse.

Both parties to that transaction acted badly. Fortunately, there was no divorce and no injured children involved - just a case of a single man and a widowed woman who found each other and became involved. It would not be so remarkable were he not a very well-known public figure AND Catholic priest.

I guess that's the hurtful part - by breaching his vows to his Spouse (the Church on Earth) he broke faith with all of us. But what else could he do, especially when he knew he was going to become a father? Leave this woman and his child alone to bear the burden and responsibility, apologize, and return to the priesthood? We'd never have accepted that either.

It's such a sad situation, but at the same time, a new life came into being. What a mixture of pain, shame, and beauty this past year must've been for him. God's plan and purpose in all of this is sounding loud and clear...I just am not sure how to interpret it.

We'll see what Dave has to say about it in due time, and then be in a better position to opine, I guess. Maybe he will be genuinely contrite and conciliatory, or maybe he'll sound cocky and selfish, as some have called him across the blogosphere. In the meantime, I say we should celebrate the good news of this story (he's okay, he's decided to laicize and take up the mantle of husband and father) and contemplate the bad (self-evident) as a cautionary tale.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I did watch his show, and hear him several times during EWTN daily Mass...the scandal that has been caused is not describable by words...You are absolutely right Kit, we should look at the positive, he's alive, took responsibility for the kid, as well as got lacitized...Ss Joseph and Monica pray for him.

Anonymous said...

I still remember watching the LOTR when Fr. Mark (is it?) was sitting there by himself and had to read the letter from Fr. FMS. You could tell it was a very awkward moment for him, and I really felt bad for him for being put in that position.

When I listen to a priest I want to trust that I'm listening to a man who is truely grounded in his calling, and that his wisdom is flowing from that groundedness. I hate that that perspective was weakened.

I do wish the best for everyone involved, but we clearly need to pray more for our priests.

Kit said...

Oy... Got a comment from someone who claims to know the parties personally, took me to task, but did not want me to post the comment. Fine. I'll paraphrase.

Essentially, I am being very mean-spirited, judgmental and presumptuous about a subject I know nothing about. (Clearly, the parts where I said stuff like "let's wait to see what he has to say in his book," "let's not judge, let's be charitable" and "good luck" illustrate that point...)

But I guess the part that has me shaking my head the most was the outrage that I used the word "shame" - i.e., my supposition that he's experienced "pain, shame, and beauty" in this process. Is that so far-fetched? Really?

I'll leave you with this:

Imagine yourself in his position, walking into the abbey and standing before Mother Angelica, your Foundress and spiritual mentor, and telling her what happened, and saying goodbye.

How would you feel?

Kasia said...

RE: shame

I remember being told by the priest who brought me into the Church that shame is not intrinsically a bad thing. That tradition holds that St. Peter had furrows on his face from weeping so much in his shame over having denied the Lord, even after the Lord had forgiven him. And that shame is not the same as guilt.

According to him, guilt is wiped away in Confession; but shame can remain, and can even be healthy, in that it reminds us what we are capable of.

I don't know the parties involved. I can't say how they have felt.

BUT I will say that if someone with a well-formed conscience (whether Fr. FMS or anyone else) broke a freely-made vow and did not feel any shame over having done so, I would be amazed.

a thorn in the pew said...

This is hard news, nonetheless. I gave you an award, dear Kit(not sure if you already received it.)

Dymphna said...

I'm sad about the whole thing but the idea of a book really disturbs me. I know that a man has to get money for his family but instead of leeching off of Mother Angelica's accomplishments why can't he go get some crummy 9 to 5 like millions of other people? The book just seems well, sleazy.

Anonymous said...

I am truly saddened. I prayed he would come back. But I am pleased he is going to acknowledge and care for his child. May God bless that little family-because I think it will be hard for them.
I'm not sure about the book idea either. Perhaps he feels he owes everyone an explanation-but a book?
It's all very sad.