Apparently Alain Beret wanted to buy The Oakhurst Retreat and Conference Center in Whitinsville Massachusetts from the Worcester Diocese and transform it into a venue for weddings and functions. A great idea as the center has been closed for years. And a sale for one million dollars to boot. A win win all around.
Except Mr. Beret and his partner are gay. Uh oh. And they might perform gay weddings there. Uh oh. Bishop McManus can't allow that to happen on this church property. This property is sacred! I'm sure there was some sort of blessing that occurred at one point with holy water, incense and Latin chants. This place is holy!
After all the Bishop is so much against the notion of gay marriage that he persuaded the small Catholic institute of higher learning, Anna Maria College, to disinvite Vickie Kennedy as the commencement speaker. Because as a Kennedy she must be for gay marriage, right? Maybe. I hope so. But she has never publicly said one way or the other.
When your a Bishop you don't need hard evidence. It's been that way since the inquisition. They're closer to God and all that.
And that closeness to God guided the Bishop in his decision to not sell to Mr. Beret. In a message to the real estate agent, Monsignor Sullivan explained the Bishop's position: "Because of the potentiality of gay marriages there….we are not interested in going forward with these buyers. I think they’re shaky anyway. So, just tell them that we will not accept their revised plan and the Diocese is making new plans for the property. You find the language.”
Apparently God was at a loss of words when the Bishop asked for guidance on this one because his move may be illegal and Mr. Beret, a lawyer, is exploring how to proceed. I suspect he won't be at such a loss for words.
It could be that God and the Bishop are also at a loss of words because The Oakhurst Retreat and Conference Center was once known as the House of Affirmation, a treatment center for priests with psychological problems. And pedophiles. The church had a lot of them and needed to prove to insurance companies they were handling the situation.
It was started by Fr Tom Kane, who claimed to have a Phd in Psychology. He didn't. In fact the diocese settled a lawsuit, confidentially about Kane's sexual abuse of a none year old boy. Meaning Kane himself was a pedophile. And he had just created his candy store. Because Kane, with his phony Phd and his cronies sent there for treatment by the likes of Cardinal Law, kind of made the House of Affirmation their own little playground. Kind of a Club Ped.
So much for sacred ground. A lot of the serial sexual abuse of children in the Southern Worcester County can be traced right to the House that Kane built. Kane, like the brother who killed Able. The only problem was that this Kane and his buddies were very willing and able. Because of protection by the church.
And knowing this, somehow the Worcester Diocese is still more offended by the notion of a gay marriage happening on this property, than by it's vast history of abuse. Because if he was more offended by the abuse he might have sought to bring justice to those who were abused there by opening the files and shedding light on this sad chapter. Instead they changed the name to Oakhurst and destroyed the files. Hoping we would all forget.
According to the Bishop, the last thing that should happen on the House of Affirmation property should be something as unholy as gay marriage. Why should a property that terrorized so many children become a place where couples should be allowed to publicly declare their love, devotion and commitment to each other? Beacuse that would be... What? Good? To me it sounds like a wonderful way to heal that space. A way to genuinely bless it.
I fear asking the Bishop "Why not sell Oakhurst to Mr. Beret?" would only fall on deaf ears, as he awaits guidance from his God, who still seems to be at a loss of words over all of this.
No wonder. Who wouldn't be?