Monday, July 1, 2013

I wouldn't hold my breath

A letter to our priests and bishops:

To Our Spiritual Fathers,
Please forgive the public nature of this letter. In a sense, it goes against my personal rule of not criticizing priests or bishops in print. But only in a sense.
You see, this letter isn’t meant as criticism, although I know some will take it that way. It’s more a cry for help, a plea or a prayer. After the Supreme Court rulings on marriage, I don’t know what else to do. Or where else to go. So I’m coming to you, here, in the only way I know how.
...I know as a Catholic layperson I’ve got to step up my game. And I’m willing to do that. Again, whatever the cost.
But you’ve got to step up your game too.
By that I mean no disrespect. As priests and bishops you bear a tremendous burden. I don’t envy you that, and I know many of you are carrying that burden heroically.
But many of you aren’t. You’ve been weak. You’ve been cowardly. You’ve made compromises and led people astray. Souls are perishing because of that. A culture is perishing because of that. And it’s got to stop. You have been ordained as priests of God Most High, Christ’s representatives on earth. You’ve got to act like it. We don’t just need our spiritual fathers standing shoulder to shoulder with us in this fight for souls. We need you leading us into the breach.
Charity demands that we pray for our shepherds and have faith that our Blessed Lord will give them the courage and strength to do their duty. That said, after eight years as a Catholic I have not been impressed by the fortitude or moral fiber of the local clergy. The late, great John Senior once said something to the effect that, "If every priest and bishop in the United States was put on trial for the Faith, most of them would be acquitted."

If you think I am saying this as a way of puffing myself up, then you can go straight to hell sir. I'm not a virtuous man or a particularly good Catholic. I'd like to be, but that means I have to pretty much go it alone. The local parishes have lots of activities to be sure. But if I want to learn about prayer, discipline, the sacraments, virtues, sins, the saints, angels, demons, grace, salvation, damnation, death, judgment, heaven, and hell... it's books or the internet. Otherwise it's "Jesus was a nice guy so let's all be nice guys too" week in and week out. It's felt banners and the musical stylings of Marty Haugen. We don't need more priests who are simply the unmarried presiders over a social club for old people, women, and children. We need priests who are saints. And frankly, the seminaries are not producing those kinds of priests. I don't think they're capable of producing men like that. God's worked miracles before though, so prayer remains our first, last, and best resort. The survival of the Catholic Church in the West is quite literally a Hail Mary now.

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