I cannot hire him. He has a felony conviction and I have a school. It would be illegal and I would be opening myself and the Church to a lawsuit if someone found out and even worse if something happened even if it would not have mattered as much if a person without a conviction had done it. And the Church is under such a powerful magnifying glass that we would most likely not allow his to enter into our seminary no matter how sincere he is. As much good as he has done, Fr. Carapi has made many in the Church even more nervous about “the great converted” serving in such a fashion. You would be surprised how often this scenario arises.
Most religious orders are not far away from this. Traditionally a convent or abbey could be a place where a person who could not quite make it in the world could go. Now most places want you to be well educated, of sound mind, of clean background, and debt free. Of course they do.
At the opposite end is disappearance from rectories of live-in help. Social Security brought that to an end. The Church is no longer needed to provide shelter and a modest income for a widow who was facing a difficult time. And now we probably would not do it because of the expense and the microscope of scandal.
In some ways, roles in Church life are quite limited. It is often not the bastion for those who need a place to be who can’t find another way to make it in the world. On the one hand this is good. I like to know that nobody working around children, who are among the vulnerable, who handle finances in the Church come from “respectable” backgrounds (all the more scrutinized these days both inside and from without the Church.)
On the other hand – where is the hope for the great conversions – the person with a questionable background (Saint Paul) or of questionable abilities (Saint John Vianney)?
We want both – I want both – I want to know that everyone in the Church is as capable and sound of mind and body as possible – I also want to give people the second chance or the chance to do something that the world does not seem able to give them.
What would you do?