Sunday, September 28, 2008

In Support Of Msgr. Wallace Harris

My first experience of school was St. Joseph's of the Holy Family in Harlem. It was walking distance from my home where I grew up with an older brother and younger sister. It was where I spent 8 years growing through childhood and adolescence. It was a place that shaped me as a man and it was the place where I met Fr. Harris. I was 6 years old then, now I'm 46. For forty years I spent minutes, hours, days, months and years in the company of Fr. Harris, now Msgr. Harris and never once was he inappropriate with me in any way.

I write these words first and foremost to make a clear statement that I believe in the innocence of Msgr. Harris. I believe that what is going on here is much bigger than what anyone currently understands. And I am certain that there are people in the Catholic community in New York City who are determined to destroy the legacy, the work and the influence of this giant of a man.

I grew up in Harlem and although I went to Catholic schools all my life, attended Church every Sunday, and learned to turn the other cheek. Let it be known that in my world only a coward accuses through the voice of another. I grew up in a place where both men and women came forward to accuse another in the light of day. And I learned on those streets that only those brave enough to be seen are worthy of reply. At this time there are 10 accusations. Of the 10 one has come forward and with that we are all certain that this one face is the face of an opportunist and a liar. And as such not worthy of further comment.

So where are the other 9? At a meeting of the 20 Cathedral Men we were able to deduce that the first two accuser's stories have numerous holes in them. And we also discovered that not one of us had been questioned or called. And that no one else that we knew had been questioned or called. To this date, no one who supports Msgr. Harris has been asked to witness for him. It would seem strange to me indeed that the Archdoicese of NY who sponsored the education of every Cathedral Prep alumnae is not interested in hearing from us. But there are two, and two seems to be enough to condemn. If Msgr. was not already condemned he would still be at St. Charles. The actions taken against him are the actions taken against those deemed guilty. And his deafening silence - a silence that he has been informed by them is necessary - further confirms that the Archdoicese of NY presumes his guilt over his innocence.

With so many new accusations, don't you think its time that we hear from him? With these new accusations being levied, don't you think its time that voices of support rise up to be heard? Or are we like sheep going to the slaughter? Too conditioned to even look up and see our fate. Too trusting to rear up and protect ourselves. Just little dumb sheep happily walking to the slaughterhouse and bringing those that we love along with us.

Brian Dunn
Class of 1981

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