April 27, 2007

What would Jesus do, Andrew?

There was another letter to the editor in the Herald-Times attacking local Catholic priest Charles Chesebrough. The name on the letter should be familiar to anyone following the case. You see, Andrew Shea was one of the parents who complained about Chesebrough. (See my previous post from February 19 and my letter to the editor from March 20.)

It has been over two months since this controversy hit the newspaper and six months since the parents had their disagreement with the church. What would Jesus do, Mr. Shea? How do you think Jesus views your actions? Do you think He approves of continuing to attack one of His servants in a secular newspaper, especially since you no longer attend St. Charles? Even in their extremely uncivil editorial, the Herald-Times admitted that none of Chesebrough’s comments “were meant to be anything but terms of endearment”. (Thus, the comparison to radio shock jock Don Imus fails miserably.)

Shea’s letter shows, once again, that Chesebrough was right when he sent a letter to the parents telling them to “refrain from creating controversy resulting in a negative atmosphere with regards to the school administration, archdiocese and clergy.” There is no reason that an internal church dispute should continue to be fought in a secular newspaper. Shea did not get what he wanted and some feelings were hurt, but no crimes were committed and no rights were violated. It is long past time for him to move on.

I pointed out two months ago that this matter should have been handled internally in the spirit of I Corinthians 6:1-8. Apparently Shea needs to read another passage from the Bible. Jesus gives a lesson in forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-35. What purpose does it serve to continue to have this very public fight? How does it glorify God? How does it bring people into the Kingdom? How does it benefit any of the other families at St. Charles?

It is time to let it go, Mr. Shea. Move on with your life. This kind of bitterness does far more harm to your mind, body and soul than it does to the people you perceive as enemies.