No doubt many readers of this newspaper, including us, enjoy Terry Mattingly's column that runs in the weekly Religion pages on Saturdays. This religion writer, opinion maker and senior fellow at Ole Miss mostly gives us a break from the political op-eds. That is, his focus is normally on something Higher.
But his beat took him to the secular this past week, and he reported on the resignation of a priest at MIT. As you can imagine, the priest got sideways with the madding crowd. Which is easy to do.
From Terry Mattingly's lead:
"Earlier this year, a Catholic priest published a book titled "Mercy: What Every Catholic Should Know," focusing on doctrine and discipleship issues that ordinarily would not cause controversy. But these are not ordinary times."
We refer you to the column for all the details. But suffice it to say that Father Daniel Moloney wrote an email about protests and the killing of George Floyd, and his archdiocese asked him to resign from MIT. No doubt after enormous pressure.
As Mr. Mattingly mentions, the priest didn't write in soundbites, but noted that George Floyd was killed, shouldn't have been, and that he had made mistakes before--but we don't kill sinners but instead try to get them to change their lives. Also, police work often hardens cops at a "cost to their souls." But we don't know that this particular case had anything to do with racism. That is, we just don't know that.
Once again, we refer you to Terry Mattingly's column Saturday, because he tells it with better skill and more space. The point is, the priest couldn't explain his opinion on the matter without losing his job.
If we're going to have this discussion in the country, and we should, then how does it help to diminish discussion, to make others reluctant to speak their minds, and to stifle the thoughts of a good man trying to help?
We really shouldn't have to answer that question. But soon enough, we're going to have to.