Commentary: Don’t prejudge bishop-nun controversy

Bishop Michael Olson

By now, many have read the allegations lodged against Bishop Michael Olson and the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese by the Reverend Mother Teresa Agnes of Jesus Crucified Gerlach, O.C.D., and the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity.

These allegations have generated sensational headlines and portrayed Bishop Olson as “pure evil.” This is nonsense. Whatever your take on Bishop Olson, he is not an evil person.

In an era of attention-grabbing headlines, it is important to take a step back and acknowledge that the allegations against Bishop Olson and the diocese are just that – allegations. These allegations have not been put to the test in any type of canonical or civil court proceeding.

What little information that is available at this time underscores that the true facts may not be as overwhelming or decisive as the headlines have suggested. Moreover, judgment on what did or did not happen should be reserved until the process plays out.

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Bishop Olson has faced inflammatory accusations in the past only to be vindicated over time. For better or worse (largely depending on perspective), Bishop Olson is a straight shooter with a history of doing the right thing, even if it may not be the popular thing. This is to be commended and has earned him the benefit of any doubt at this early stage of the parties’ dispute. Let’s pray for all of those involved and allow the process to play out.

John C. O’Shea is a local businessman, a member of St Patrick’s Cathedral parish and a candidate for Congress in Texas’ 12th District.