Dear editor:

Trust, but verify

A recent story on Newsweek has the ‘OMG-Wow-Sensational’ factor going for it. “Nuns stole $500,000 and spent it on gambling and vacations.” As a (retired) career Assistant DA, my office prosecuted a bowling league’s treasurer, a friend scamming social contacts in worthless investments, the trusted meat manager, Diocesan accountant, daily newspaper’s bookkeeper, and insurance and taxi cab company secretaries, etc. Allegations of criminal wrongdoing confront the President, family and associates. Several have been convicted and sentenced. What could possibly possess anyone to throw it all away? Entitlement “unappreciated for all I have done” or “look what the honchos at the top did” or “an addiction negating judgment and integrity or the old-fashioned “lust for power” or “simple greed”? As a minister, how does society move past these wrongs? What of the transgressor moving forward? Behind every well-executed scheme are skills and organizational talents, if re-directed. Let us not be “Jail, no bail” vindictive or morally self-righteous. Our gods and goddesses are subject to the same temptations as the rest of our ego-driven, fear-based species. Although isolation is the remedy when the offender’s pathology is beyond our ability to treat such as a nasty malignant personality disorder or certain sexual disorders, there still is a need to forgive. However, it isn’t all on the victim or society. Over a protracted period of time the wrongdoer must engage in meaningful acts of contrition documenting a change of heart. Call the process of healing and offenders contributing “Trust, but verify”.

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah Alpine