I come with some sadness to record this Daily Message this morning. Just a few minutes ago, I read the New Orleans newspaper, the Times Picayune, as I do each day and there discovered to my sorrow that one of our United States Senators for Louisiana, David Vitter, has been shown to have been a frequenter of prostitutes in Washington some time ago. Vitter is a Catholic. Vitter has consistently and successfully run for congressman and then senator. Vitter has championed the right to life of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage. From a moral point of view, Vitter was thought to be one of the brightest lights on the Louisiana horizon, which has rarely been the case, since Louisiana’s politicians have been notoriously corrupt and immoral. And now, we find that Vitter’s name appeared on a list of clients of one of the Washington “madams.”
There is an old dictum in Latin that says “Corruptio optimi pessima,” which means “The corruption of the best is the worst.” If names like those of Huey or Earl Long or, outside Louisiana, Ted Kennedy or people of that ilk were found among the clients of prostitutes, no one would have thought much of it, given their character and their history. But when a man like David Vitter turns up in those categories, it is quite a shock. He is a brilliant young lawyer, a Rhodes scholar, and product of some of the most prestigious schools in the world. He is a husband and father of four young children. The people of Louisiana were proud of him, liked what he stood for, and elected him first to the House of Representatives and then to the Senate. And now, this.
I do not wish to condemn him here, but simply to point out to those who read these words the grave responsibility that people in public life have to practice what they preach. When a private citizen sins, only those immediately involved suffer. We can imagine how his wife felt when she first learned of his adulteries. There is no way that this can be kept permanently from his children. One day, they will know if they don’t know already. But when a man in public life, especially one who has stood for moral uprightness and family values, is shown to be an adulterer, the thing becomes far more harmful. Can that marriage last? I hope so, but time will tell. Can his children ever respect him? Again, I hope so. Will this end his political career, which can be such a great opportunity to serve God and neighbor? That, too, remains to be seen. But if Vitter knew, during his encounters with the prostitutes, what would result from them, would he have gone ahead with them? I don’t think so. He is now paying a far higher price than that which he and his extra-marital women agreed upon.
He, his wife, his children, his friends, his political associates, and all of us who admired him and voted for him are wounded by this turn of events. We all becomes victims of the so-called “sex revolution.” It gives us a clearer idea of why God has said and continues to say to us “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God Bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago