Bishop Martino, this is your long distance dedication:

A report published on the Scranton Times-Tribune website and discussed on the National Catholic Reporter today has Bishop Joseph Martino, the patriarch of the Diocese of Scranton, moving out of the bishop’s residence near St Peter’s Cathedral in downtown Scranton.  He is alleged to be taking up residence the Fatima Renewal Center near Dalton, Pennsylvania. Just when I get accustomed to calling him the Bully of Wyoming Avenue, he changes his address!

It strikes me that Bishop Martino has alienated so many groups (teachers, parishioners of parishes he has closed, democrats, victims of his pedophile priests, parade organizers, etc…) that there may be no one left in the Electric City who can tolerate his presence.

The reason for the move is yet to be explained. His mouthpiece, Bill Genello has not put the spin out on this one yet. In the absence of an explanation, no matter how contrived by the diocesan spin machine, the mind is left to come up with any number of reasons for the change of residence. I found it entertaining that the Bishop had some guy in a pick-up truck swing by for a desk, an easy chair and some other items to take up to Dalton. I makes him look just like a regular guy calling a buddy for a hand moving his stuff.

The question that remains is why is the shepherd abandoning his flock for the suburbs? Is this the result of a vote of “No Confidence” from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church? Rumors of a need for a change are mentioned in the National Catholic Reporter article. Have they had enough of the bishop’s antics? Is there some medical reason for his departure? While I am no fan of this Bishop, I do hope, sincerely, that this move is not the result of a serious medical condition.

Or is it something more sinister. When Father Gibson, my perp, was pulled from his last parish he was sent to a “renewal center”. You know the kind of place that caters to priests that have committed some crime or have become addicted to alcohol, drugs, alter boys, etc… Since he is not being moved out of state, like they have done with other priests with the intention of keeping them one step ahead of the sheriff, I am assuming it is to recalibrate him.

I have to admit, I would love for this to be the result of a U.S. Attorney probe into the Diocese’s activities to commit fraud, hide felons, and endanger children.  But it could just as easily be that the Direct TV reception is better in Dalton and that the reception for the Phillies games is all the more clearer outside of the city.

I hope he enjoys the quiet and solitude. Perhaps he will come to reflect on the damage he has done not only to his flock but to those who were cast out of the flock by other shepherds in his organization. Maybe he will have a chance to hear the voice of some higher power telling him to do the right and moral thing.  That voice seems to have been unable to sway him within the city limits of  Scranton.  If you get the notion, your excellency, how about coming clean on all your pedophile priests?  Why not go on the road to all the parishes and schools that have had a predator priest and look for other victims?  Why not expend diocesan resources on helping people instead of shielding pedophiles and paying public relation firms and lawyers to intimidate and isolate victims?  Why not try to come across as more of a human and less of a bully.

It is all too much to ask for. Maybe we will eventually find out why he is distancing himself from the people he is supposed to serve. But for now, I think his new neighbors should be vigilant. There is a reason he has moved and given this diocese’s track record, I am confident something wicked this way comes.

Enjoy the tune by Billy Joel, your excellency!

P.S. Can anyone tell me what became of Father Dave Bechtel? He was the priest who would spend his days writing comments and countering other comments on the Scranton Times-Tribune Website. He is a young priest who seems to have been overly protective of the Bishop when negative comments appeared in response to the paper’s articles on the diocese or on the Bishop in particular. Father Bechtel has seemingly gone dark. Perhaps he was told to stop “defending” the Bishop? Perhaps he knows something that we don’t. Come on Father Dave, tell us what is happening, I’ll put up your comments for the world to read.

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