It has been some time since I have written, in large part because of giving attention to many priests who have contacted me to share their suffering as this seemingly endless agony within the priesthood because of the actual sins of a few, and accusations against the many, continues.
Yet another young priest has committed suicide and my heart wonders when the All-Powerful Holy Trinity will intervene?
It is extremely difficult to speak about the pain of priests, who are adults, when the pain of abused innocents itself cries out to heaven for justice.
Something has gone terribly, terribly wrong in the Church because the horror of abuse of the innocent is now compounded by the abuse generated by so-called zero tolerance.
Victims of abuse still face protracted legal struggles to get compensation, dioceses fall into bankruptcy, and a climate of fear and confusion seeps ever deeper into the hearts of bishops, priests and laity alike – for in the current climate, as the White Queen commanded in the children’s fable: “Execute him and then we will have the trial!”
Clearly, because bishops are in a conflict of interest – or should be because they are first shepherds and fathers for their priests and people before being CEO’s of an institution – the time has come, I believe, to remove all aspects of these cases from the hands of the bishops and establish lay authority.
This would allow bishops to be true fathers to their priests, even to the prodigals and especially to the falsely accused.
It would allow for compassion rather than an unforgiving stance which has so poisoned everything that this epidemic of suicide within the priesthood shows no signs of abating.
While absolutely no effort must be spared to protect the innocent and no effort spared to comfort, heal, compensate victims, we cannot continue down this anti-Gospel road which is causing immense devastation within the priesthood.
It is a mystery to me why, as far as I have been able to find out, there has been no universal call from the Bishops for prayer and fasting to purge the Church of every aspect of the evil of abuse.
When will we see establishment of a penitential order of priests who might become part of a constant cry to heaven for the sanctification of the priesthood?
A place where those who have sinned, or because of the current climate are falsely accused, but because of fear or some other reason their bishop must ask the priest to sacrifice public ministry, so to this place the priest would willing go and live a penitential life.
We seem embedded in the quicksand of secular solutions and mindsets when in truth we should be using all the spiritual weapons at our disposal to confront, convert and heal what is a situation of satanic attack and evil that enables sin.
True, actual priests sin; true, actual people do falsely accuse, but only Christ can lead us out of this every growing darkness and despair into the light of holiness and healing.
It is not a call here for abandonment of legitimate use of ‘worldly’ tools such as courts, therapies, financial compensation for victims – it is a call we remember who we are, who Christ is, who alone is greater than evil.
May Our Blessed Mother, Comfort of the sorrowing, end all abuse of the innocent, end all un-forgiveness and hardness of hearts, and bring about a renewal and sanctification in the lives of all bishops and priests, and may God have mercy on the soul of that young priest and every person who succumbs to despair.