Dear Companions on the Journey,
In the newspaper, asking for my attention this week.The Impeachment trial, of course. Forty people killed in an earthquake in Turkey…that should be my concern. But, no, as for many, Kobe Bryant’s tragic death touched my heart. Maybe it’s part of our American penchant for celebrity, or maybe it’s because of the “back story”:
“Born in Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant was raised in a Catholic household and even spent some of his youth in Italy. Drafted into the NBA at the age of 17, he eventually married Vanessa Laine at St. Edward Roman Catholic Church in Dana Point, California. Two years later they had their first child [also killed in the crash]…
“Then he made a big mistake. In 2003, Kobe Bryant was accused of raping a woman in his hotel room… He admitted having sex with the woman but denied rape. [A subsequent] civil lawsuit…was settled outside of court. Bryant issued a public apology, stating that he was sincerely ashamed of what he had done.…in 2011, his wife filed for divorce.
“Yet during one of the darkest moments of his life, Kobe Bryant turned to his Catholic faith….’The one thing that really helped me during that process – I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic – was talking to a priest.’ … After some rough years, Kobe Bryant reconciled with his wife, and they remain married to this day.”
He and Vanessa went on to have three more children and to start a foundation which addresses families and homelessness.”
All of the above is taken verbatim or paraphrased from Philip Kosloski’s article “Remembering Kobe Bryant: Formed and saved by his Catholic Faith” on the Website Aliteia.
Reading this article got me to thinking. What from his Catholic faith helped Kobe in the darkest hour of his life? What did his wife feel when she learned of Kobe’s adulterous conduct? What moved her to forgiveness and her change of mind about a divorce – a divorce that not only most people would understand, but would recommend?And finally, what kind of Catholic community would welcome him back to regular worship and membership?
I don’t have answers to these questions, but I ask you to think about them with regard to our own the Paulist Center Community and what kind of community are we? Where do we draw the line? How far can our reconciliation go?
What do you think?
And let us pray for one another,
Michael McGarry, C.S.P.