Thursday, January 12, 2006

Father's a father--and I don't mean spiritually

News that the current vocation director of the Discalced Carmelites, who lives in Chicago at the formation house for the order, fathered a child with an Ontario woman, then left her and was transferred to the U.S.--away from the jurisdiction of Canadian courts--is bound to raise hackles, and it begs the question: "What were you/they thinking?"

Father (and I do mean father) Jason Martin, 33, left active ministry in 2004 after reuniting with his high school sweetheart. Sparing us all the gory details, the relationship resulted in a pregnancy, although Martin had returned to ministry a few weeks before, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Says Martin's attorney: "After a great deal of consideration, at this time Jason wishes his involvement with the child to be financial only." So much for defending families. So far, the mother of Martin's child has received only $1,000 in support, despite the fact that the Carmelites promised support of more than $200 a month is Martin turned out to be the father, which paternity testing established.

But the fact that Martin was then made vocation director (!!), responsible for recruiting new candidates, truly makes this a circus. This is the guy the Carmelites want to put out there as a model of poverty, CHASTITY, and obedience? Much less a model of responsibility, accountability, and good sense.

I'm sure there are lots of folks at fault here, but there is one person who certainly isn't: Martin's son. And so I ask, do we really want a "spiritual father" who would prefer to be only "financially related" to his own biological son?

This is just a mess. And a damn shame, too.


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