Angel Llavona considered his priest open to honest criticism.
And so after one Sunday mass last year, Llavona telephoned the Crystal Lake priest and left a message that went something like this: Your sermon stunk.
The Rev. Luis Alfredo Rios, a priest at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, then did something equally brazen, Llavona claims. He played the private phone message during Sunday mass and asked his flock, "What should we do? Should we send him to hell or to another parish?"
Now Llavona, who was sitting in church when his message was played, is suing Rios and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockford. Llavona claims in the lawsuit filed this week in McHenry County that he was defamed and suffered "immediate emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation."
Llavona says the humiliation forced him to change parishes. He is seeking a minimum of $50,000 in damages.
Llavona, a teacher at Maine West High School in Des Plaines, served as a volunteer with the parish's religious education program from September of 2005 to April of 2006.
"Disharmony or disagreement between a priest and his parishioners is always unfortunate," said diocese spokeswoman Penny Wiegert, reading from a statement Tuesday. "We hope that a peaceful solution at St. Thomas the Apostle can be established outside the court."
Friday, October 05, 2007
~from Chicago Sun-Times. A wise judge would drop this case.