The rehabilitation of the Rev. Ted Haggard will look a lot like parole.My first thought was -- is there any such kind of system of accountability for Catholic priests who mess up (I'm not talking just about criminal sexual abuse)? Maybe there is ... but my sense is, move the guy, do the most damage control, and shuffle him off somewhere.
It might not include urine tests or ankle bracelets, but he'll be tracked all the same. He'll have to keep appointments, work on issues and constantly answer to other people.
With one difference.
"He can stop at any time. A guy on parole can't stop," said H.B. London of Focus on the Family, who will step in for his cousin, James Dobson, as a member of Haggard's restoration team.
London, appointed to the team last week, said he doesn't yet know exactly what the job of helping the former pastor of New Life Church in his spiritual recovery will entail.
But over the years, London said he has participated in scores of such restorations - with people including a pastor who stole church funds, a minister who discovered Internet pornography to his liking and a minister caught plagiarizing a sermon.
That's usually how it starts, London said. Like Haggard - whose associations with methamphetamines and a male prostitute became public when a Denver man revealed them Nov. 1 - most pastors don't report their own sins.
They get exposed.
But once it's in the open, some opt for a path that could lead them back to their church.
"The end goal is to have that person healthy again," said Tom Pedigo, a Colorado Springs man who wrote a manual on restoration after losing his own ministry for marital infidelity.
Success won't necessarily return them to the pulpit, but that isn't the point, London said. "It's not so much getting back into ministry that concerns me as seeing them live in peace," he said. "I want to see the person happy again."
I would hope there is.
(The rest of the article gets into the whole issue of whether sexual orientation can be changed or not, which, to me, isn't really the point here.)