Sunday, February 25, 2007

More on Deacon Gerbermann


February 25, 2007

We are encouraged by the fact that Bishop Peña will be taking “some action against Deacon Gerbermann” for his remarks during a homily at Holy Spirit Parish last weekend and were pleased that the Deacon was to make a personal apology this Sunday. We look forward to hearing what the Bishop’s action will be, but are very disappointed at the form and content of the Deacon’s statement today, February 25th.

Deacon Gerbermann did not make a personal apology, as the pastor of the parish indicated that he would, but instead he had a statement inserted in the Sunday Bulletin. In this statement, the Deacon claims that his remarks were “misunderstood” and that he apologizes “if he offended anyone.” There is no hypothetical at play here, people were offended. The Deacon’s characterization of his remarks of the previous Sunday does not match how those remarks were described by parishioners present at that Mass. It is difficult to see how this statement, which does not accept responsibility for what was said and does not include an unconditional apology, is an action which sets the scales right.

We are also very disturbed by the remarks of Monsignor Brum, the pastor of Holy Spirit, that are quoted in the February 23rd edition of the McAllen Monitor.

The Monsignor was the celebrant of the Mass on February 18th at which the Deacon spoke and so heard first hand what was said. He, based on his remarks to the Monitor, does not seem to think the Deacon said anything requiring an apology, since he did not ask the Deacon to provide one.

The Monsignor goes on to say that the offended people misunderstood the Deacon’s remarks. On the contrary, they understood them in exactly the same way that the Monsignor did, namely, that parents share responsibility when their children have been sexually abused by a priest. The question is, why wasn’t the Monsignor offended?

If a principal of a local valley school would have publicly stated that parents share responsibility when their children have been sexually abused by a teacher, that principal would have been clearing out his or her office before the end of business that day. It is difficult to understand why Monsignor Brum did not demand an apology from the Deacon, why he does not share his parishioners’ outrage at the remarks, and ultimately why he does not take responsibility, as pastor, for what is preached from the pulpit by his own employee.

We hope that the Bishop, who is ultimately responsible, will take steps very soon to not only discipline both the Deacon and the Monsignor for their remarks, but to take whatever actions are necessary to insure that there is proper oversight of the administration of Holy Spirit Parish.

Gerald Brazier

for Call to Action-Rio Grande Valley
February 25, 2007

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