People make mistakes


In today’s Milwaukee  Journal Sentinel there were stories of very flawed men. Father Matthew Gottschalk, who co-founded the House of Peace with Brother Booker Ashe, another troubled individual, retired recently after it was disclosed he had an inappropriate relationship with a minor years ago.  Age and health issues had also played a role although he remained very popular. He was there when I interned at the House of Peace and was already in his 80s.

Another sad story involved a minister whose wife wrote to Miss Manners  for  advice because he had to resign from his ministry due to misconduct at a previous parish. Now the wife feels sorrow because she misses the connections she had with the young people at their former church. Some of these individuals are getting married but she and her husband are not being invite to the weddings. In her own way Miss Manners reminded the troubled wife that the misconduct must have been very specific and there were probably good reasons why no one would want to see her husband as they moved on with their new lives.

The final story of human frailty involved the story of Forrest Gregg, former Green Bay Packers half of fame football player and coach. He now lives with Parkinson’s, probably a result of his days being slapped in the head by numerous defensive linemen. He played in 188 straight games despite suffering numerous injuries including concussions. He was driven to play through  the pain by his coach, Vince Lombardi. He tried to instill that same mentality in his players when he coached Green Bay. Unfortunately, the ethic of sacrificing one’s life for the team  was waning and a lot of players resisted him. He ended his career as a losing coach. He stands  as a monument to a time that showed what was wrong with sport. The unions are much stronger, the equipment has improved, the salaries much higher and there is greater understanding of the risks that players are taking. Players are more serious about concussions and some of them are retiring early to pursue other careers.

These stories about the flaws these men carry tell us about the struggles of men. It’s not all that easy to admit you have problems and to seek help. We have church doctrine about “infallibility” and yet people make mistakes. I’ve made my share, too.

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