In the year after “Spotlight” focused renewed public attention on the Catholic Church’s horrific betrayal of its mission, its members and humanity by the enabling of child sexual predators within its ranks, how could the Church not realize that reinstating a convicted rapist priest, as it did this week, undermines all of its efforts to regain the trust and faith it had forfeited?
After months in which Pope Francis presumed to tell the governments of the world what its moral obligations were, how could he allow this to occur?
In short, how can a credible religion have broken ethics alarms? How can the Catholic Church preach morality while rejecting ethics?
Father Joseph Jeyapaul, a Catholic priest from India, served in the Crookston, Minnesota diocese from 2004 to 2005. While he was there, he raped at least two adolescent girls. I say “at least” because he admitted to raping them to cop a plea. Who knows who else he may have assaulted?
After being charged with the crimes, including rape and forcing at least one of his victims to perform fellatio on him, Father Joseph escaped to India, where an Interpol warrant got him extradited back to Minnesota. There he confessed, and as part of a plea bargain, received an outrageously light sentence of a year and a day for pleading guilty to one count of molestation.
Don’t ask me to explain why any prosecutor whose law license wasn’t obtained by passing a quiz about “Law and Order” episodes would make such a deal. I assume that some kind of political pressure from the Church was involved, or that the prosecutors were Catholic, or that they had brain lesions or something. Frankly, I’d rather not talk about it.
Jeyapaul was suspended from the priesthood and served his time in Minnesota. The U.S. deported him back to India with a DO NOT RETURN TO SENDER label after his release last July. Meanwhile, the Minnesota diocese had to pay millions in a civil lawsuit, during which we learned that the rapist priest had told one of his victims in the confessional that she was at fault, and had made Jeyapaul “impure” by letting him abuse her.
Does the term “evil” come to mind, or would you call that too judgmental?
Now comes the amazing part. In February, the Vatican lifted Jeyapaul‘s suspension and restored him to the priesthood. It then assigned him to a new parish in India, where he is now the diocesan head of its commission for education.
I’m sure it’s also a great place to meet chicks.