The Catholic Church is not an instrument of punishment. Victims upset that justice has not been done in this world had best turn their attention to civil authorities, whose job it is. Yet most men, clerics or no, who abuse children get off with shockingly light sentences -- a few years at most for pedophiles. And as for adults who sexually use teen-agers? Many prosecutors decline to prosecute at all.
In leaving his parish and his collar and his privileges behind, Father DeVita is being true to his calling in a way that may perhaps inspire us all. I, for one, will think of Father DeVita the next time something the church asks of me seems difficult to bear. "I think I feel a sense of complete freedom now," says Father DeVita. He calls it a gift of the Holy Spirit. "Because I said yes to something I never wanted. I said yes not in anger, not in bitterness, not in hatred, but in faith."
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.