"From his home on the island of Gozo, near Italy, Anthony Mercieca described a series of encounters that he said Foley might perceive as sexually inappropriate.
Among them: massaging Foley while the boy was naked, skinny-dipping together at a secluded lake in Lake Worth and being naked in the same room on overnight trips."
Talk about oblivious. These events are not just perceived as inappropriate, they are inappropriate, and a priest should know that. Unless the priest gig is only active so long as one's clothes are on.
Mercieca, 72, told the Herald-Tribune he and Foley became fast friends when Mercieca moved from Brazil to Florida in 1966 and "loved each other like brothers."
Mercieca said he taught Foley "some wrong things" related to sex, though he wouldn't specify what he meant. He also said they were naked together in a sauna twice.
Mercieca said that, at the time, he considered his relationship with Foley innocent. But he now says he could see how his actions could be labeled inappropriate.
Once again, the disconnection from reality and sound moral judgment is appalling. Are we penitent yet?
Mercieca was adamant that his encounter with Foley was an aberration, and that the Catholic Church never had to send him for counseling during his 38 years in the priesthood in Florida.
"I have been in many parishes, and I have never been" accused, he said.
Never been accused, or never been caught and PUBLICLY accused? Forty years ago, this was unthinkable, and so many abuse tales were relegated to 'Twilight Zone' credibility. Not so anymore.
Is the deference to sin to blame for the Foley episode? Of course not:
One night, when Mercieca says he was in a drug-induced stupor, there was an incident he says he can't clearly remember that might have gone too far.
"I have to confess, I was going through a nervous breakdown," he said. "I was taking pills -- tranquilizers. I used to take them all the time. They affected my mind a little bit."
Substance abuse and depression are the hallmarks of closeted gay men, regardless of vocation. Maybe the reviled "Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations With Regard to Persons With Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and to Sacred Orders," has some merit, and should be used instead of thrown in a seminary closet, along with the seminarians who persist in deference to the Magisterium.