"You wanted to see me, Bishop?"
The young man stood in the doorway to the Bishop' office, nervously swaying back and forth as his weight shifted from one foot to the other.
"Yes. Come in. Sit down, please."
The young man walked into the office and sat down in the dark leather chair facing the Bishop's large mahogany desk. It was still in the office. One felt that sound was unwelcome here, the silence so strong it was palpable.
"Thank you for coming in. I have just a few questions, if that's okay?"
"Did you know ... are you aware they've found Father Stavros, dead?"
"No, Your Excellency, I was not. I can't say I'm sorry to hear it though."
"Yes. Well, anyway, I just need to cover a few things before this goes to settlement - a simple review of the facts as stated in your deposition."
With that, the Bishop launched into a recap of the young man's deposition, detailing the sexual abuse of the boy by the priest, in the year of the boy's graduation from elementary school, now six years in the past.
"Does that accurately detail your testimony?"
"Yes, Bishop, it does. So when do I get my settlement?"
"Oh, I don't think you shall, my son. No, I don't think you shall, at all. In fact, I believe we intend to bring charges against you for perjury, among other things."
"Perjury??? What are you talking about? He raped me! He sodomized me! Someone must pay! I can't believe you!!"
The young man now stood at the desk, his face red with anger, his body shaking in rage.
"Are you done?"
The Bishop calmly sat in his chair, staring up at the trembling young man.
'No! I am NOT done."
The Bishop stood up, suddenly, a sheaf of papers in his hand.
"Yes, you are. I have a report here from the Medical Examiner's Office. A report that states that Father Stavros had prostate surgery in which certain nerves were cut. He was incapable of the act you describe. I have an affidavit here from a Doctor that states he had this operation ten years ago. He did NOT rape and sodomize you. What I would like to be able to figure out is why he never defended himself - and why you lied."
The young man turned and stormed out of the office.
The Bishop sat down in his chair and let the silence of the room wash over him. He closed his eyes and said a silent prayer for the soul of the poor priest he had allowed to be driven out.
And he read again, the top page of the report. Found on St. Luke Drive. Pronounced dead at 1:28pm. The implications stung like the lash of a whip, and fueled his feelings of guilt. He should have supported his priest. He should have presumed him innocent.
His bible lay on the sideboy, open to Luke, 1:28. "Hail, full of grace." Or in the original Greek, "Chaire, Kecharitomene". The greeting of the angel, where he called Mary "Kecharitomene", "One who has been graced by God".
The Bishop knelt on his kneeler, bowed his head in prayer.
"Forgive me, Stavros. Stavros kecharitomene. Amen."