"You should be ashamed of yourself!" Curtiss wrote to Jeanne Bast, an 80-year-old mother of 11 and retired Catholic grade-school teacher from west Omaha.
Curtiss told Frank Ayers of Ralston that someone who criticized church leadership as Ayers did was "a disgrace to the church."
The archbishop instructed Bast and Ayers, 58, to say one "Hail Mary" for him as penance. He sent copies of the letters to the writers' pastors...
Letters by Bast and Ayers were published this month in the Omaha World-Herald's editorial pages. They criticized Curtiss' decision to assign the Rev. Robert Allgaier to a parish in Ralston in June, after Allgaier admitted to Curtiss in February 2001 that he had viewed child pornography on the Internet while at a parish in Norfolk.
Just so you know that the market on hypersensitivity isn't cornered by the ordained....
Several years ago, when I was teaching in a Catholic high school in Florida, we were subjected to a particularly ridiculous in-service day. We had to drive an hour both ways to get to the place, and the only real substance of the day was a one-hour talk on the educational fad of the moment. Probably learning styles. We were asked to write an evaluation. I wrote a negative one. A few days later I was called into my principal's office. The Superintendent (a lay woman), had FAXED my evaluation to the principal and told him that he needed to deal with this negative force in his midst.
At one point in the conversation, the principal asked me, "How would you feel if someone had negatively evaluated a program you put on?" I was almost speechless. For four years, I'd been a Director of Religious Education, so that meant I was constantly dealing with dissatisfied parents who thought the program was either too lax or too demanding. I was an adult professional. I could handle it.
But at least I wasn't assigned a penance.