Showing posts with label clerical sexual abuse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clerical sexual abuse. Show all posts

Monday, March 25, 2024

Dear Bishop Douglas Deshotel: Excommunicate me too!

A few days ago, Bishop Douglas Deshotel, prelate of the Lafayette Diocese, excommunicated Scott Peyton, a former Catholic deacon whose son was sexually molested by a Catholic priest. The priest, Father Michael Guidry, pleaded guilty to molesting the boy and is now in prison.

Excommunication is an extraordinarily harsh punishment to impose on an errant Catholic, especially an anguished Catholic whose son was sexually abused by a Catholic priest. What did Mr. Peyton do to deserve Bishop Deshotel’s wrath?

It seems Peyton angered the bishop by writing a letter that expressed his disillusionment over his son’s molestation and the way the Catholic Church handled it.

After “deep reflection,” Peyton wrote, he had decided to “leave the Catholic Church and the diaconate.” He also wrote that he was distressed by years of reports about sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

“The magnitude of these revelations,” Peyton wrote, “has deeply shaken my faith and trust in the institution to which I have dedicated a significant portion of my life.”

Peyton stressed that his decision to resign from the diaconate and leave the Church was not a rejection of his Christian faith. “Instead, it reflects a conscientious objection to the way the Church has handled cases of sexual abuse and a desire to distance myself from an institution that, currently, falls short of the values it professes.”

I think Bishop Deshotel miscalculated. If every Catholic whose faith was shaken by the Church’s sexual abuse scandals deserves excommunication, then millions of people are going to be kicked out of the Catholic Church.

I confess that my Catholic faith has been deeply shaken by hundreds of reports of child rape—rape that was covered up by dozens of bishops on the advice of their lawyers. So, Bishop Deshotel, I invite you to excommunicate me too.

Scott and Letitia Peyton 
Photo credit: The Advocate