(SC Times) We’re sorry we kicked you out, but you still can’t come back here for a year.
That’s the message leaders of the St. John’s community delivered recently to Prep School alumnus Patrick Marker, who was invited to a June class reunion on campus only to be evicted and then banned from St. John’s property for a year.
Marker, a 1983 graduate, was a victim of clergy sex abuse while at the school and has become a victim advocate. He has long maintained a website critical of St. John’s handling of clergy sex abuse cases.
A Times news report Sunday detailed how St. John’s apologized for kicking Marker out of the reunion, even offering to reimburse his expenses. However, St. John’s leaders still banned him from its property for a year.
As with its initial decision to evict Marker for no obvious reason during the reunion, St. John’s must fully explain this latest move.
Without a very detailed and very public justification for the ban, the apology rings undeniably hollow.
It’s understandable St. John’s leaders don’t agree with nor appreciate Marker’s tenacious efforts, but that’s hardly justification for banning him. To say nothing of how such treatment fits with the Benedictine values that underpin everyone — clergy, faculty, staff and students — in the St. John’s community.
More on that shortly. First, though, the reality is enough of Marker’s efforts have proven credible that his concerns about St. John’s handling of clergy sex abuse cases deserve attention.
Yet by banning him, especially without explanation, St. John’s only increases the public perception that the Catholic Church wants to stay silent.
As for how these actions reflect the Benedictine values permeating St. John’s culture, well, that’s almost impossible to see.
Look no further than “Catholic, Benedictine Values in an Educational Environment,” a roughly 10,000-word document written by St. John’s Abbot John Klassen, former College of St. Benedict President Emmanuel Renner and theology professor Sister Mary Reuter.
Part I is at http://bit.ly/dxKFsx. Click the link at its end to read Part II. Issued in 2001 and updated as recently as 2009, the well-done writing provides a detailed look at the core values underlying the entire St. John’s and St. Benedict’s community.
Citing 15 centuries of history, the authors look at a sacramental view of the world and nurturing and developing community life. Values covered include showing reverence for all persons, practicing hospitality and respect for all persons and being committed to justice. Without explaining why it is banning Marker, those values also ring hollow.
Our View: Values ring hollow with no details from school
St. Cloud Times Editorial Board
Aug. 7, 2013
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