Letter to a (Former?) Bishop

This week the Los Angeles Archdiocese announced that a well-loved bishop resigned as he has fathered two children; they are now teenagers.

The announcement was brief but powerful.  It acknowledged that this is sad and disappointing; it recognized that the reaction and impact will be widespread.

I have been debating about writing this post as it is not my intent to start a debate about Catholic priests and marriage; nor is it my intent to start a debate on the history of scandals in the church.  That being said, I’m aware these comments may still be made.  I respect that.

The shock, sadness and dismay expressed throughout numerous communities are completely understandable.  My personal take on this may be different than some.  I have a short note to express to the former bishop. (Is that the right terminology for a bishop who has resigned?)

I met you before you were ordained.  We called you Gabby. I imagine that fewer people call you that now, but the part of me that is speaking to you is the young person from a parish in East Los Angeles.

You were a deacon in the parish where I was both a music minister and an active leader in the youth group.  Over the years I’ve recognized that I have my shortcomings.  There have been times when I fell and fell hard.  I struggled with the impacts of mistakes that I’ve made…but after reading the announcement of your resignation and why this has happened…well, this is very difficult to fathom.

I reflect back on those times, more than 30 years ago.  You typically had a smile on your face and a warmth that people appreciated.  You were excited to fulfill your vocation.

I have no doubt that back then you saw a road that was full of promise and opportunity to do good.  It’s difficult to comprehend the road that has led to this announcement.

Gabby, what happened? Can you help us understand this?

After your ordination you were assigned to another parish.  We met again briefly about 10 years later.  I had a lot on my mind and you listened intently to what I had to say.  That is my last personal memory of you. 

I am saddened that the work you have done over the years and the causes that you championed may now be called into question.  It is my hope that this can be placed in some type of perspective.

As much I have have been confused and disappointed, I wish you peace.  I pray that you have peace.

Such promise…

Gabby, what happened?


I've always enjoyed writing and finally decided it was time to blog! As part of my profession I write every day, but I'm now trying to take the time to write creatively. My family and friends have been very encouraging as there is little that is written down in the way of a family chronicle. This is a favorite topic of mine! In addition to family history, I write about life, family, friends and faith. My husband is a full-time parent to our special needs daughter. I’ve explored this topic, too. I also enjoy music, crocheting, reading and relaxing with my family. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer!

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Posted in 2012, Faith, Personal, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized
6 comments on “Letter to a (Former?) Bishop
  1. Isabella says:

    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt letter, Cathy. So often, we are blinded to the reality that behind each headline are actual persons and relationships. You have helped to personalize the story for us. I pray, too, for peace for all.

  2. Cathy G says:

    Isabella, I really appreciate your comment and support, and I’m looking forward to continuing our dialogue. God bless.

  3. Cee Neuner says:

    Wonderful note. Obviously you have a kind and loving heart!!

  4. Cathy G says:

    Thank-you. Cee. I’m glad to say that the most common reaction to this post has been one of compassion. We’re all in this journey together! 🙂

  5. Kate Kresse says:

    Lovely post, Cathy…I have felt that similar sadness when dear and special priests have left the priesthood to marry. It is such a loss. My heart hurts for what they must be going through.

    • Cathy G says:

      So true, Kate. They are human beings with emotions just like ours…and it is a loss for many. I hope all those who are affected will find peace in thier hearts. Thanks.

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