I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that priests like to drink. The image of the white-haired, red-faced Irish Catholic priest whose breath reeks of whiskey is a well-known character. Which is why I find it interesting when people think 12-step programs are religious; if they were, wouldn’t priests and pastors be sober? On the contrary, heavy drinking is widely accepted in the Roman Catholic Church and for priests, I assume drinking to your heart’s content is seen as a consolation prize for celibacy.
Still, some may wonder, what about drugs and guns?
Priest Packing Heat
Fifty-two-year old Father Sean P. Thomson has an answer for you. It seems that the University of Alaska priest was pulled over last week for speeding and swerving. When approached, the police officer said that he seemed “disoriented,” which might explain why he produced a receipt instead of registration and why he rolled out, drunk, with a bag of weed, a 9 mm pistol in his back pocket and a .357 magnum in the back seat. And even though Father T blew a .247 at the scene (three times the legal limit), he still pleaded not guilty at his initial appearance at the Rabinowitz Courthouse last week. A wonderful example for the college kids in his parish!
I can’t claim to know much about living in Alaska as my understanding of the state is limited to salmon and Sarah Palin but I would assume that a resident of Fairbanks might use a .357 magnum for hunting game and other woodsy sports like that. But I can’t imagine why a priest there would find the need to carry a concealed 9mm handgun. We are talking about Father T and not Mr. T, right? Yet it seems Fairbanks has their fair share of crime. According to city-data.com, Fairbanks earns a 367.4 crime rating (high is 450-1000) against a national average on 301.1 So maybe it was necessary for a man of the cloth to carry two guns—after all, someone needed to protect the “small quantity of marijuana” he had stashed in his hoodie (it seems that stoners never outgrow the hoodie, no matter how old or holy they are).
If there’s one thing we can learn from the sexual abuse scandals within the Catholic Church back in the early 2000s, it’s that it’s not easy to get de-priested. But the Diocese of Fairbanks has reportedly put Father T on “administrative leave,” according to Ronnie Rosenberg, the legal coordinator and the director of human resources for the diocese. And if there are two things we can learn from this Father T story, it’s surely that between Friedman, Rabinowitz and Rosenberg, there’s a fairly high Jew count there. To all of you Fairbanks-ites not drinking and driving with a bag of weed and two guns, I say, as a fellow Jew, L’chaim!