Bureaucratic snafu snags Catholic Priest and leaves me wondering: what’s my role?

A friend of mine just let me know of a frustrating and seemingly unfair issue in his neck of the woods:  A popular and much-loved priest in South Dakota is apparently about to be deported due to what seems to be a pretty lame bureaucratic snafu (pemanent residency application accepted but later lost/misplaced).  An advocacy site is here: HelpFather.

But nothing is quite as simple or as black-and-white as it seems, of course, at least in my mind 🙂

Here are reasons why I was tempted not to post this on my blog:
– I’m agnostic, and am not a fan of Catholic doctrine / influence / etc.
– This matter’s already gotten press.  What more could my humble blog do?
– Speaking of my humble blog, and selfishly for a moment, would my readers really care about this somewhat-local-oriented issue at all?
– This guy’s a priest.  Can’t he just pray for this to get fixed?  If that’s ineffective, maybe it’s God’s will for him to return to Ireland?
– There are always at least two sides to every issue.  Can we trust that the folks advocating on behalf of this priest are telling the whole story?

And reasons why I ultimately posted this:
– A favor to my friend 🙂
– Someone’s gotta help the little guy.  And this one seems like a nice fella, mired in an uncaring and often-crappy bureaucracy.
– I do have some power as a blogger.  Perhaps by helping get this guy’s predicament known outside of South Dakota I—and my readers—could make a difference.
– Sometimes it’s the little things in life that matter.  Is this guy really important in the grand scheme of things?  Maybe not.  But he means a lot to my friend and my friend’s family.  Lots of small things, “small people”… they all add up, all contribute to the richness of communities, to our planet.
– And, let’s be honest here… I bet people are more interested in this story than in my swinger blatherings, no? 😛 (hmm… I’m combining a priest-related posting with a swinger reference; it’s a good thing I am agnostic, or I’d be going to hell :D).

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What about you?

What do you think of this priest’s situation? Of me posting this on my blog?


  1. Adam,

    Thank you for choosing to post this.

    You may interested to learn that one of this man’s most endearing qualities, one that draws so many people to him, is that he sees absolutely no religious, political, or societal lines.

    A nearly two hour prayer service was held last night, which was organized by pastors of six different area congregations in loving support of him.  It was attended by hundreds of all faiths who have been personally impacted by him.

    As he addressed the crowd, Father G recounted the words of Mother Theresa (who once personally asked him to bless HER while speaking in Tokyo). 

    Mother Theresa had been asked what she prayed for daily – was it that all Christian denominations could someday worship together in harmony under the same roof?  “Oh, heavens no,” Father told the audience she replied. “But what I do pray for every day is that Catholics become better Catholics, that Evangelicals become better Evangelicals, that Muslims become better Muslims…”

    And then he paused, and looked over at the guitarist he had invited to play Bird On A Wire during the service, and he said, “and don’t think I forgot about you either Mike, she also prayed that Buddhists would become better Buddhists.”

    He has told me of the hundreds of experiences he has had with those who knew they were near their death.  He says that in those pure moments, in those intimate conversations, topics like Calvinism or Catholicism seem as irrelevant as talking about whether you get your groceries at Whole Foods or WalMart.

    Father G would say you posted this story because you are listening and responding to a goodness that was placed deep inside of you – no matter how you choose to describe that goodness.  And he would admire you for it.  He would say it is only the little things in life that matter.

    “Do no evil?”  Father G was living that mantra long before Larry and Sergey founded Google, long before they were born.  And he will never sway from it, no matter where life takes him.

    We have learned his deportation case has no legal remedy, the only recourse is now political.  Perhaps our system is not yet so broken that a wrong like this can still be mended.

What do you think?

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