In January 1996 Father Patrick Kaler, C.Ss.R. died suddenly at the age of sixty-five years old. Still a young man by most current standards of measurement he suffered from heart disease and passed as a result of a heart attack. At the time of his passing he was a member of the staff at Liguori Publications, and most important of all, the long-serving Director of Scrupulous Anonymous. His passing required that a new director be named, and I stepped in “temporarily” until we were able to find a new director. Soon I will celebrate twenty-five years of this “temporary” assignment.
For the last twenty-five years I have written a monthly newsletter, with two interruptions in the process necessitated by a change in assignment. However, never, in those twenty-five years was there even a moment when I was not answering questions, conducting retreats, attending and leading workshops, and serving as a resource person for people who suffer with the disorder. It has been a privileged time for me and a wonderful opportunity to learn, and I needed to learn quite a bit.
Father Kaler and I shared some qualities, but we do not share an essential condition: I am not scrupulous while Father Kaler was. He would carefully study the many questions that he received and would struggle to find an answer that seemed to him to be useful and pastoral. I do not necessarily struggle to discern a direction or to provide a pastoral response. My challenge, something that I have patiently learned over these last years, is to discover the many manifestations of the scrupulous disorder. I try to discover and adequately explain to the readers of the newsletter the dynamic and the consequences of the struggle with scrupulosity.
I have learned over the years that the struggle is profoundly personal for each of our readers. No two manifestations of the disorder are alike. The only person who is an expert on their scrupulosity is the person who suffers with the disorder. This makes it difficult to be helpful in the pastoral approach that is the core reason for the newsletter. At best we can only hope and achieve a consistency in our counsel. The individual person applies the counsel according to their own needs and understanding.
Sincerely in Christ,Father Thomas M. Santa, C.Ss.R.Feast of All Saints, 2020