Saturday, July 31, 2010


The heat in this northern city has been unusually extreme of late and so I have stayed inside, away from the broiling sun and hordes of mosquitoes, using the time to clear off my desk of clutter – actually some of the clutter has turned out to be rather surprisingly good notes from things I have read.

Among those notes are some from St. Louis de Montfort and St. John Vianney, though I failed to include from exactly where in their writings!

However as we are soon to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption and the feasts of St. John Vianney and St. Maxmillian Kolbe, two of my priestly heroes, I thought why not make use of the discovered notes and put them here, both to encourage trust in Our Blessed Mother and prayer for priests.

St. Louis stresses that the Holy Rosary is “a priceless treasure which is inspired by God.”

Most Catholics are aware of the urgent plea from Our Lady at Fatima for prayer, in particular the Rosary, and penance, for the conversion of souls to Jesus, and how after seventy years of such prayer, among other events, the stranglehold of communism on much of Europe, and Russia herself, was ended.

There are still countries in such bondage; still the immense dark cloud of the culture of death hovers over, hobbling, much of the human family.

Speaking directly to priests and our duty for the care of souls, the challenges faced especially by parish priests St. Louis, who customarily referred to the treasure and efficacy of the Rosary as a ‘secret’, which perhaps because of its little use in his day it was, notes: “If...a priests really understands this secret he will say the Rosary every day and will encourage others to say it.”

When I was a boy it was customary in parishes, particularly before daily Mass, for the people to pray the Rosary together, and certainly the evening gathering of the family to pray the Rosary together was a mainstay of the prayer life of most Catholic families.

The other particular notes I found in the clutter were taken from words of St. John Vianney: “ A good pastor, a pastor according to the heart of God, this is the greatest treasure that the good God can give a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of Divine Mercy….The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus….Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put Him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomes your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the Blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest….The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.”

What greater way to pray for priests, to give thanks for priests, and priests for each other, than praying the Holy Rosary!

O Holy Mother of Priests, St. Maxmillian, St. John: pray for priests.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shirley Sherrod, The Vatican and Galatians

It has been some time now since the media was filled on a daily basis with the blatantly cruel action taken against Mrs. Sherrod because those in power failed to do due diligence and get accurate information before forcing her to resign.

Sound familiar?

That there live among us ordinary people, people in positions of authority and trust, including teachers, doctors, priests, who do stupid, hateful or real evil things against others, as well noted in the latest missive from the Vatican about priests who abuse, nonetheless it is also true in the vengeful climate which permeates church and society, the numbers of falsely accused grow exponentially.

To wit the Sherrod case which in the secular world is but one example of what happens on a daily basis within the Church where the Bishops move even more peremptorily than the American Secretary of Agriculture – though unlike him I am unaware of any bishop who has reversed actions against a falsely accused priest, much less made a public apology.

Yet in all the media flap around the latest from the Vatican, and the continued failure of the Church to actually protect the rights and reputations of accused priests before definitive findings of guilt or innocence are made, I am moved to suggest that the following words of Pope Benedict, from his Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, # 29, while written about difficult marriage questions, ought to apply in ALL applications of Church law, including those around the matter of accused priests: “…..’it is a grave obligation to bring the Church’s institutional activity in her tribunals ever closer to the faithful”….’ …one should begin by assuming that the fundamental point of encounter between the law and pastoral care is love for the truth: truth is never something purely abstract, but “a real part of the human and Christian journey for every member of the faithful.’”

The current climate of Star Chamber justice which takes place in the hands of local bishops and likewise in the chambers of the Vatican is unworthy of the Church and is contrary to the above call for transparency.

I write the above very conscious of St. Paul’s admonition: “ ..if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.” [Gal. 5: 15]

It is not my intent to ‘bite’ anyone here, rather simply to raise a cautionary plea that while we are rightly horrified an innocent woman was trashed by manipulation of video tape, and are rightly even more horrified by the abuse of children, those with power in the Church, and those laity and media within and without the Church, who are so quick to believe and take subsequent action against any accused priest, should learn from what happened to Mrs. Sherrod and do better due diligence BEFORE taking public action.

Finally, even where there seems to be evidence of sin, should we not all like Abraham plead with the Lord to relent and forgive, more so imitate Jesus on the Cross asking the Father to forgive us?

What truly horrifies me these days is the culture of “gotcha” and revenge has seeped from the world into the Church.