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Priest arrested for DUI

Priest arrested for DUI

The Rev. Diane Reiners, an assisting priest at Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan was arrested for DUI according to the  New York Post:

An Episcopalian minister was nabbed with an open bottle of vodka and prescription meds inside her car after she was allegedly spotted driving drunkenly through the Holland Tunnel Friday night, Port Authority police said.

Diane Reiners, 53, was swerving in her 2004 orange Toyota and hitting the curb inside the tunnel, at times coming to a full stop, as she traveled from Manhattan to New Jersey around 6 p.m., authorities said….

Officers allegedly found the open container of Absolut on the center console, as well as vodka inside a water bottle, 31 Lorazepam pills prescribed in someone else’s name, and 22 packets of Tramadol, a high-potency pain killer. Cops also said she failed a field sobriety test.

From Episcopal News Service re: 9/11 commemoration:

Diane Reiners, who worked at St. Paul’s as one of four on-site coordinators of 1,400 volunteers in nine months, said the exhibit is a testament to every single day of their ministry. ‘People will see that giving is a joy,’ she said.

Once an actress, Reiners has left that profession to help found a company that advocates and facilitates volunteerism. ‘Through service we will change the world,’ she said. ‘It’s the only way we will change the world.’



posted by Ann Fontaine


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Mark O'Donnell

Why does this article link to her personal Facebook account?

Ann Fontaine

Good question. The page on Facebook has been taken down. It was a public page and offered a more human view which I thought was less objectifying. What are the pros and cons of using public information in our story?

Katey Walsh

I have been interested in the observations and comments above. Having had the opportunity to work alongside Diane for over a decade as she ministered to the needy, responded to disasters 24/7, nursed her husband through a devastating and eventually fatal bout of cancer and provided support to communities I am loathe to jump to conclusions and “diagnose” her as an alcoholic and drug addict based on a single known incident. It appears undisputed that she was driving while under the influence. However, before jumping to conclusions, applying labels, and suggesting she is no longer fit to be a minister seem to be premature. I am hopeful that people will take the totality of the life she has led before casting judgement on what was obviously a bad decision made last week. Please join me in supporting Diane while she works through this difficult period.

Mary Louise Lyons

I’m a rookie contributor here, but I’ve really been interested in the twists and turns of this conversation. I’m a past member of Al-Anon and although I don’t attend meetings anymore I’m very conscious of the steps and traditions in my life. But one of the evangelism trainings I attended years ago in TEC (which I routinely tap into) very pointedly told us “Don’t be distracted by divisive issues.” That’s why I personally think we shouldn’t serve alcoholic beverages at church events: it’s a VERY divisive issue. If we were a denomination that was being overwhelmed by new members beating down our doors to get in I’d have no problem. But we’re off track. And changes are a good thing to consider. I don’t think it would hurt us AT ALL to take a sabatical from liquor at church events. Our history and reputatation is so tied up with drinking that we may NEED some distance from our current culture to see ourselves clearly.

John Donnelly

Philip and I disagree on many things, usually charitably and seldom on any public site. However, I agree with him totally in this conversation. His prison ministry no doubt informs his intense pastoral commitment to our brothers and sisters defeated by the evil of shame and addiction. We introduced my (now adult) children to wine and other alcoholic beverages as a pleasure and a gift, and it helped having them participate in parish events where such gifts were enjoyed in the company of the whole community, in appropriate moderation. The alcoholics I know, some in recovery, almost always drank in secret, in shame, and never at a parish feast. Offering help for addictive disease shouldn’t include putting a Baptist clamp on social events. My prayers for this good priest.

Philip Snyder

The issue is not alcoholism per se. The issue is that the Rev. Diane Reiners was drinking and driving – evidently with illegal drugs in the car. It is not terribly difficult to see if you have a drug or alcohol problem. If you are taking illegal drugs or if you are driving with an open container of alcohol in your car, then you probably have a drug/alcohol problem and should stop being in a leadership position until you are in recovery and have been sober for a while. There is no shame in saying “I am an Alcoholic” or “I am addicted to ‘X’.” The shame comes in when you refuse to do anything about that addiction. The shame is in the willful ignorance that hides your addiction from yourself and telling yourself “I can handle it” knowing all the while that it is only a matter of time before you can’t.

Helen Kromm

This Philip highlights the problem. The words “shame” and “sin” have no use or application in any discussion regarding alcohol addiction. It is a disease. Those words have no more use in that discussion than they would if we are discussing cancer.

Those words might have had application back in the ’50’s or 60’s. A time when we didn’t understand the ramifications of this disease. And unfortunately that seems to be where many of us are stuck to this day.

To compare alcoholism , and the use of alcohol in a church setting, to the consumption of food is frankly remarkable in the year 2014 as well. I’m gobsmacked that anyone could draw such a comparison in the here and now, and with what we know.

Philip Snyder

Alcoholism is not a sin. Drinking when you know or strongly suspect you are an alcoholic is a sin. Having cancer is not a sin. Ignoring the warning signs and not seeking treatment for the cancer can be a sin (depending on factors such as the stage of the cancer and its cure rate).

Having or knowing you have a disease (any disease) is not a sin. But once you know or have reason to suspect you have a disease, you are bound to seek health and wholeness. If the disease is substance addiction, then you are bound to seek treatment for that disease – normally in a recovery program. Not seeking treatment is the sin, not the disease.

Shame is a natural response to committing what you perceive to be a sin. I can’t tell you how many inmates have been filled with shame at the sin of masturbation and/or sex games in prison. When I tell them that God loves them and that He forgives them and that I love them, their shame vanishes.

The power of shame is that it keeps us separated from God, from the Church and from ourselves. If we muster the courage to confess our sins, we break that power and God restores our relationships with Himself, the Church and with ourselves. Shame is based on the fear that if you really knew me, you wouldn’t love me. It is our task as Christians to say (and to live): “I know you, God knows you more fully and we both love you despite what you may do.”

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