"I don't disagree with you, but you have to admit, this puts me in a delicate position," Father Willem replied.
Of course it does, you beast, I thought but didn't say. I shrugged and let him waffle there with between the safe limb he created for himself and the tempting fruit I dangled before him. If I knew anything at all about Father Willem, it was that he would always go for fruit he shouldn't take, especially if he believed he could count on plausible deniability.
"It really is rather clever of you, John," he said, turning his chair toward the stained glass depiction of the nativity and steepling his fingers under his chin, contemplating. "We could put cameras in all of the rooms in the school, including the dormitories...sure, it would infringe on 'privacy rights' but those are very much undefined in the charter, whereas it clearly states 'We shall err on the side of safety, always...'" He stood up.
"Just the presence of cameras alone should deter any student-teacher extracurriculuar contacts and that should satisfy the board that we are taking a tough stance on this issue. Besides, we don't want a full clerical inquiry. Of course the Vatican aren't letting the secular law enforcers anywhere near us, for now. But we can't afford to let a tinge of unseemlinees darken our purity. We don't want to encur the attentions of the Bishop; the red tape alone involved with one whispered accusation could set us back years. We have important work, here, John, to educate the Catholic youth and grow the priesthood. Otherwise, what shall become of us and our important role of religious leadership and moral fortitude? Who shall lead the sheep through the valley? Certainly not the Baptists..."
I could tell he was going to go for it now; he never speechified on a topic that he wasn't going to deliver on. Finally, after thirty years, I will have the upper hand over a man who has dominated my life since childhood.
"Very well, Father," I said. "I'll proceed with the requisition then, shall I?"
"Yes, yes..." he said, distracted as he sat back down and turned towards his computer. "Make it happen as you always do."
I stood up and made my way to the large oak door of his office. This office, once a hell for me was now starting to feel more like a hall of justice. I can remember counting the books in here and recategorizing them in my head while he abused me. For a long time, the scent of office supplies would make me vomit. I had to spend my first turn as an assistant pastor in a church so poor, office supplies were the last thing anyone thought about.
Driven by righteous anger, I graduated a the top of my class in seminary and had many offers to join the most influential churches in the country. My choice of such a poverty-stricken parrish surprised my friends and worried my mentors. But I had visited that poor place in the ghetto and I was moved by its sadness that seemed to mirror my own. I also believed that spending time in the trenches like that would bring me a unique credibilty since I was one of the few that had chosen to walk the walk of poverty and help the poorest among us. That way, fat priests whose indulgences made them walk a fine canonical line would find me a good proxy. They could hire me away so that I could bring my humilty and they could somehow co-opt it for their own glory.
This seemed like a fast track to the top. I had learned what the poortest among us needed and I could work the white-guilt of the richer perishes to create conduits of money and resources and point them to my ghetto of God's forgotten children. I knew this would set me up as an important figure, one who would be a jewel in the crown of any parrish. Having been a victim of Father Willem, I took it upon myself to meet him on his own turf as a peer and take him down for good in such a way that it will look like his fall from grace happened due to anything other than child molestation. Then, I'll have access to his network of other like-minded men without alerting them and foment their clerical demise one by one. I had long given up on the idea that the law, sacred or secular, would have the balls to solve this problem between priests and boys. It has to be an inside job.
Little did Father Willem know that I had been spending most of the term with my students talking about the constitutionality of privacy. We had worked over many Supreme Court cases on the subject. I had also spent the first part of every day with them on the Heroes of Civil Disobedience: Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandi, Rosa Parks. They are primed for a revolution. Father Willem will not see it coming as he never counted the students as anything other than his sheep for the taking. And I will walk away from here vindicated and ready to take out the next one.