Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Anger and Forgiveness

UPDATES:
  • Funeral arrangements for Sr. Denise Mosier, OSB (from Benedictines Web site): "Sister Denise's body will be received early Thursday afternoon, August 5 at the monastery. A wake vigil will take place at 7:00 p.m. that same evening followed by the funeral mass and burial on Friday, August 6, 11:00 a.m. All ceremonies will take place at the monastery at 9535 Linton Hall Rd., Bristow, VA 20136. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the ministries of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia."

  • Carlos' family are now speaking out. His parents, Alejandro and Maria Martinelly, went personally to the monastery to apologize to the nuns for their son's action and they explained that, knowing that he had been drinking, they had hid the keys to the family car but that Carlos had found them and driven off. The family has also gone on TV to apologize and talk about the incident, as has Carlos' fiancee and mother of his young children.

Dear God,

This morning I have to tell You that I was angry and my capacity to forgive 70 x 7 as Your Son commanded us to do has been sorely challenged.

One of Your children, Carlos Martinelly Montano (photo, right), a Bolivian immigrant who was scheduled to be deported, got drunk, got into his car, and struck another car holding three nuns from the Benedictine convent in Bristow, VA -- women who I almost feel I know personally because I get and read their newsletter regularly. One of the nuns, Sr. Denise Mosier, OSB (photo, below) was killed in the accident and the two other nuns, Sr. Charlotte Lange, OSB and Sr. Connie Ruth Lupton, OSB, were severely injured and are hospitalized on ventilators and in critical condition, according to the order. Please keep them in Your prayers.

I'm angry at Carlos because it was not the first time this young man has driven drunk. He had already been picked up several times before for DUI and other vehicular and alcohol-related offenses. His license had been revoked and he was out on bail pending his deportation hearing. He knows the law, he knows what drinking and driving does, and he willfully chose to keep on doing wrong.

I'm angry at Carlos because he killed and maimed three women religious, members of a community that has helped other immigrants like Carlos through their BEACON program that provides ESL, GED preparation and citizenship classes. We have so few women religious in this country today, God, and so few people in the more conservative parts of our state who are willing to lend a hand to immigrants. Carlos, by his reckless and irresponsible behavior, took out one of our allies and seriously injured two others. He has disgraced and harmed his fellow immigrants by his actions and that, I find difficult to forgive.

The Benedictine sisters have said that they are dismayed by media reports that emphasize Carlos' immigration status. Perhaps it's not the moment to disagree with them and I don't mean any disrespect, but as someone who works on immigration reform, I think it's very relevant. We don't need immigrants acting carelessly and negligently at this critical time. It puts the possibility of getting a pathway to legalization in jeopardy for everyone. It should also be noted that Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has requested an investigation into how this person with so many prior convictions was allowed to make bail in his deportation case.

Carlos, whose deportation was pending, got drunk and killed a nun by his reckless actions, at a time when the state's Attorney General wants to turn Virginia into another Arizona. His actions have made it much more difficult for immigrants rights activists to successfully stand up to Ken Cuccinelli. The Attorney General has the weight of public opinion on his side, now more than ever, and God, I have to admit that I too am getting less tolerant.

Several months ago, I stood with fellow parishioners at a bail hearing in support of J.D., a young undocumented Colombian who had been serving in various capacities in our church and who was up on a first-time DUI. He has since been deported. I'll be honest, God. I no longer believe that undocumented people charged with DUI should be allowed to post bail. I want them out, out, out of this country as quickly as the judicial system can process their sorry asses and, in the meantime, I want them behind bars so that they can't harm anybody else.

I'm frustrated and angry, God and yes, I'm unforgiving. Bishop Loverde and the Benedictine nuns say that they are praying for Carlos. They are better Christians than I am. That must be a grace that comes with the religious life. I'm just angry at Carlos for screwing things up for the rest of us. I know this is wrong, Lord, but I'm human, I'm tired, and I'm mad as hell.

I talked to a friend of mine who urges empathy and perspective. Remember, he says, that the judges who let this guy make bail again and again are at fault too. Remember, he says, that Carlos is an alcoholic and, as an immigrant, he has neither the support system nor the resources to get treated for his disease. Think, my friend urges me, that Carlos is probably the loneliest, sorriest, most remorseful person in the world right now. Remember that anger won't bring Sr. Denise back to life or help Carlos reform. Remember that You, O Lord, are a God of second chances, as Fr. Pfleger often says. Remember, remember...I try, grudgingly, but it doesn't help.

I'll keep praying to You, God, for the ability to forgive Carlos. Meanwhile, I'm going to send a donation to BEACON in memory of Sr. Denise so that some good can come out of this tragedy. If other readers want to do the same, you can send a check to: BEACON, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA 20136.

Thanks for being greater and more forgiving than I am, Lord.

Rebel Girl

1 comment:

  1. R.G., although I am not as magnanimous as you are when it comes to views about illegal immigration, I see that you are really suffering about this and you are very distressed
    I want to lend a hand if I may and to try to make it a little bit easy for you regarding this case.
    In a few words, I am telling you that I care about how you are feeling now.
    Look, the only way to understand and to view this affair is to separate the addiction and carelessness of this man, that drove him to commit several DUis and the fact that he is here illegally.
    There are US residents, citizens and, lets not forget diplomats that have caused accidents because they were driving intoxicated. Remember the diplomat years ago, from some country that killed a woman near Dupont Circle, while driving with a certain degree of alcohol.
    This is one fact, is the biggest failure of the judicial system, police or whomever, that they have failed to arrest this person and keep him out of the streets for good.
    The fact that he's here undocumented, makes things worse, because that sais that another law agency. ICE, failed to do its job, but the main thing here is not his illegality, but he being in the street when he should have been locked up. I see his immigration status kind of a second or third matter of importance here.
    The huge problem of illegal immigration and undocumented workers, needs to be solved and dealt with because of its own “raison d’ĂȘtre” not just because some of the incomers are criminals.

    Now of course, he has become the poster boy for those that want to come down hard on illegal immigration. But this is unjust and propagandistic, but nevertheless, they will not let pass this opportunity.
    There have been several other crimes committed but illegal immigrants, but to me this is not the issue, there are crimes committed by all kinds of people.
    The illegal immigration problem is one issue and the DUI is another and the failure of so many “implicados en el asunto” regarding the reality of people that should be locked up, its and very serious one.

    As for Carlos himself, don’t feel sorry for him. He doesn’t care; He only cares now about what is going to happen to him.
    If he were to be release to the street,…no doubt, he would drink and drive again, no matter the consequences.

    Be easy on yourself. You care too much. It's just so much we/you can do.

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