Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The High Cost Of Bubbles

The boys called him Bubbles. Most of them avoided direct contact with the Jesuit priest, joking about not getting too close, but it's not that they went around the school warning other boys to keep a distance. They had a sense that the priest wasn't like the other Jesuit educators. Those teenage boys sent to the private Jesuit prep school for a classical education that would prepare them for a future in the upper echelons of society were intelligent, sharp-witted and observant.

His real name was Father McGuire and he has cost the Jesuit order $19.6 million.

It is the price that the Jesuits must pay for covering up Father McGuire's pedophilia for over forty years, for allowing him to abuse boys wherever he was sent. And he was sent all over.

They knew, the Jesuits. They knew Father McGuire was sexually abusing young boys he was supposed to be mentoring and teaching. It is yet another example of the Church protecting a criminal while letting Catholic children be destroyed.

In the philosophy of St. Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuits are to train young men to be of service to others. Father McGuire, however, was of service to himself, and his superiors did not stop him.

For that, the order must pay and pay dearly.

When Father McGuire's crimes came to the attention of the president of Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, back in 1970, it was recommended that the pedophile be transferred to Loyola University in Chicago, as if he was fine as long as he was with university students rather than teenaged boys. Get him out of Loyola Academy, the president asked, because Father McGuire could not be cured of his perversion.

The Jesuits did not remove the priest from ministry or bring him to the local police to be arrested and tried in a court. Instead, they shifted him around so that he was able to abuse other boys at so-called spiritual retreats that he arranged in Wisconsin and then Alaska and Russia.

And what did the acting provincial do about it?

He wrote a letter to the priest. Probably used harsh language, firm words, and told Father McGuire to stop.

In time, Father McGuire was bounced around until he came back to Chicago, where he received a glowing recommendation from his superior. He kept abusing boys, and the Jesuits kept ignoring letters from parents complaining of the priest's conduct towards their sons.

For hiding the truth, for ignoring the facts out of fear that going public would damage the reputation of the Jesuits, the order must pay millions of dollars to the many victims of Father McGuire. The abused will never be made whole, of course. Money cannot fix what was done, it can only pay for therapy to help hold the pieces together.

They called him Bubbles, when he was a teacher at Loyola Academy in Wilmette. They called him Bubbles and they stayed away from him because they knew there was something a little off. His superiors knew what the problem was, but they chose to hide it and pray that it would all go away.

It came back. And they will pay the price, not only to cover the settlement of the lawsuit but in lost donations from alumni of Loyola Academy who are disgusted with the Jesuits for leaving them vulnerable to a pedophile.

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