After removing himself from Facebook, I was surprised to see young Keven McGill send me one more message:
I have realized the pictures that I have posted have insulted many and that I have caused shame to my faith and family. I realize that I am wrong and because of that, have removed the pictures that have caused this situation. I love my church and try to follow the doctrine as close as I can. I loved being a missionary, and I love all other churches. I went to a catholic mass one time and enjoyed myself. I also went to a baptist church and even pentecostal churches in Harlem. I love all churches, and I didn't mean to offend. The pictures I had were to joke around with my friends, and I know that it's not tolerable. From the bottom of my soul, I apologize, and hope that god directs your path always. I know it may be too much to ask, but I would appreciate it if those pictures were removed. If there's anything I can do, let me know. My sincere apologies.
I am sure that there are those who would think me cruel, but here is my reply:
You are probably hoping for a short answer, but that's hard to come by when someone is both of Irish descent and an attorney.
As you know, Catholics have what we call the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or - using a term that you might have heard [name deleted] use - Penance.
It is widely misunderstood by many to hold that if a Catholic sins, all he or shee needs to do is to enter the confessional, blurt out what they have done, and voila! The soul is cleansed and nothing more.
But that is not the case, because in addition to stating aloud the sins, there is also penance - depending on the age and maturity of the penitent, the priest prescribes an appropriate act that the person must do. And even then, that does not mean the person escapes the consequences of judgment by God. You might have heard that Catholics have to "say five Our Fathers and three Hail Mary's". It was that simple when we are children, but as we mature, our sins become more significant and the penance greater. And greater still what lies after death.
I will not take down my postings, but I will not send a letter to any Mormon officials or the Catholic League. Eventually, with the frequency of my posting, they will all too soon slip "below the fold," as they say in bloggerese, and given the relatively short attention span of people, become forgotten.
Let me try to explain the magnitude of those pictures to me. I am Irish-Polish and so both sides of my family were persecuted for their Catholic faith. My grandfather's family left in Poland (he emigrated to the US in 1921) were largely wiped out in Operation Barbarossa, by which Hitler sought to exterminate the Slavic peoples. My father suffered the loss, albeit indirectly, of his first wife and son due to the savagery he experienced as a Ranger in WWII and the psychological effect it had on him. But let's talk about my late father - he was a devout Knight of Columbus and a member of the Holy Name society, who attended Mass and prayed the Rosary and worked two jobs so his three kids could attend Catholic schools. Those pictures do more than insult my religion - they descecrate the memories of my family.
I forgive your actions, resulting I am sure from youthful exuberance and immaturity. I can say this because I have made similar mistakes and will always be imperfect until the day I die. But as I have grown older, as much as I wish certain moments of time could be expunged, I have come to appreciate the discomfort they evoke because it serves to help me "go and sin no more," as Jesus told the woman with five husbands. I hope very much your apology is motivated less by getting those pictures down and more so by true reconciliation.
That's my compromise - I don't write a letter but the postings remain in the blogosphere. Perhaps if Keven is concerned that a Mormon official might see them, perhaps now is a good time to report to his religious superior and admit his mistake, regardless of whether he considers it merely an indiscretion or realizes the bigotry displayed.
And yes, after sending it, I realize I have the wrong woman from the story - so Scripture buffs, hold your fire.