Les Femmes"J'Accuse": The Politics of Persecution

By Mary Ann Kreitzer

The Dreyfus Affair in France in 1890 saw a promising young artillery officer convicted of treason based on a scrap of paper found in a wastebasket. Worried they might be accused of a cover-up, the French High Command pushed through a speedy trial and guilty verdict based on almost no evidence. The prosecution violated Dreyfus’ civil rights and denied him due process. An innocent man suffered a decade of persecution as a scapegoat.

Today, one class of citizens has absolutely no civil rights – Catholic priests accused of improper conduct with minors. How many innocent priests have been caught up in the net? How many are the bishops’ scapegoats?

In Arlington, the latest priest accused is Fr. Chris Buckner whose suspension was announced in the May 10 Arlington Herald “pending investigation of an allegation that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with a minor between 1992 and 1994.” He was given 36 hours to vacate the St. Veronica rectory in Ashburn where he was in residence.

What is the “inappropriate conduct?” The rumor on the street is that Father shook a teenager who defied him when he refused permission to read a poem at a funeral Mass. If this is the case, the diocese has done a tremendous disservice to Father by implying a two-year relationship that most will presume is sex abuse. There’s a world of difference between a two-year situation and a single act of correction. Many adult Catholics today will recall Sister Joan Marie grabbing the class clown by the ear and marching him to the front of the room. Today, she’d be in jail as an abuser. Such is the idiocy of our culture, some of it thanks to the bishops and their policies which were put in place to cover up their own (sometimes criminal) conduct. Please pray for Fr. Buckner, an orthodox priest known for his faithful service to the flock, and for his accuser.

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