November 22, 2010


We are fallen. We are not perfect. People disappointment us. We disappoint ourselves. People don’t live up to our expectations; we don’t live up to our own.

Recently, there was a high profile story of a local priest caught exposing himself to a police officer. This priest is from a suburban parish but apparently came into the city for some extracurricular activities. Maybe he thought no one would recognize him. Maybe he wasn’t thinking. In any case, I was shocked-not so much that he was caught not all that far from my house-but that this particular priest was busted. He’s not exactly one of the liberal hippie priests. ‘course those guys don’t hide (yes, I just said that).

I felt betrayed. If this guy, this priest, could be busted for solicitation who’s next? Now what? Isn’t there enough bad church news these days without this kind of crap?

I calmed down and realized what I really meant. Isn’t there enough for ME to deal with? Why are MY priests sinners? Why isn’t everyone perfect-especially priests? Aren’t priests and religious supposed to take some kind of perfect test when they “sign up”?

If it is really about me, don’t I, also, take a perfect test every time I “sign up” to receive Holy Communion? How many times do I let Him down-sometimes before I barely get out of the parking lot.

Me and the fallen betray a promise with equal weight. It is not me who is betrayed by the sin of others it is the Body, it is Christ who is betrayed.

When our brother falls, we need to pick him up. Pray for him. I know when I fall I rely upon my friends to help me get back. We are family is not just a disco anthem. We really are family. We need to help each other get back to where we once belonged.


Blogger Ray from MN said...

Nice post, Cathy.

Thank you for reminding me to pray for him.

I would imagine that if he had been quite active in seeking homosexual activities, he would have been aware that the police watch that area, and others like it, because of the number of complaints they get from neighbors.

Maybe he knew that and needed to take the chance that he wouldn't get caught.

So he succumbed to his weakness that he most certainly fought regularly.

I succumb to my weaknesses, and there are many, a lot more than he probably did.

Pray for him and other priests and religious like him.

November 22, 2010 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, sigh--He is our brother--a part of us that is sick--I'm so praying for him!

November 22, 2010 11:19 AM  
Blogger Nan said...

The thing with priests is that since they have given their life into God's service, there's a perception that they give up sin upon entering the Seminary.

November 22, 2010 11:57 AM  
Blogger Tom in Vegas said...

I'm quite surprised that any individual who worked directly for the Church would take a risk like this one. There are many eyes on us now (us being Catholics) . Someone of those eyes are looking for the first mere hint of impropriety just so they can raise hell over something. I'm sure you've heard of anti-Catholicism, Cathy. Many of those watching are just that.

November 22, 2010 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Betrayal implies a breach of trust. I was just reading this morning on the way to work in "Light and Shadows" by Fr. Brandmuller, that the real basis for our trust can never be the manifestation of the Church in the world. "We cannot place our trust in the wisdom and power of the shepherds..."

This is the error that those who pillory the Church in the media seem to always miss. The enjoyment some get out of the finger pointing and attacks strikes me as neurotic, if not a bit demonic. Having worked in an environment that exposed me to such crimes, I found that there are people from many walks of life, pillars of the community, up the social ladder, who commit sex crimes, but they are not always heard about in the media.

I've found it helpful to read this book to remember that the Church has gone crisis after crisis. It's never been a model of moral perfection so says the president of Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences -in fact its been "conspicously" the opposite.

But being human, I'm disappointed and hurt when a priest succumbs to perversion. Being human, I understand it -

November 23, 2010 10:31 AM  
Blogger The Little Way said...

My grandmother always said that the devil loves to sit on the monastery walls. By that she meant that he works harder at bringing down consecrated souls than he does any other. Last week, while walking my daughter to school, a driver intent on making a right turn on red completely disregarded us and nearly ran us down. I was incensed and started yelling at the driver, who flipped me the finger and sped off. What if someone from my church saw me? What if my priest saw me? Lucky for me, as a laywoman, I don't walk around in a habit, so the average Joe doesn't expect as much from me as he might from a nun or priest. It has to be an enormous burden to carry, knowing people are watching you and waiting for you to slip up. When we're finding it difficult to pray or make a sacrifice, perhaps it would be beneficial to think that our effort, no matter how weak, might be just what's needed to help a consecrated soul avoid serious sin.

November 23, 2010 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that we need to help priests who have fallen to get up. But just as important is to make sure they are taken out of any position where they will lead others into sin. This requires charity and discretion and, alas, direct action on the part of those who are aware of their activities. It is very difficult to know what to do when you are aware of a priest's personal failings. I have been in the position of writing and meeting with a bishop to turn over evidence of misbehavior. Those who have responsibility over others, such as the bishop, require a great deal of prayer as well.

November 23, 2010 8:21 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

I was just reading the post again. I wonder why this type of crime is an "arrest" offense. It seems that when you arrest somebody and go through the process of bringing him to the station, booking him, setting bail or releasing him pending trial, etc. it costs a lot of money.

Why not just issue "tickets?" If the fine was stiff enough, it would certainly keep people from frequenting public areas like the river flats.

November 23, 2010 8:29 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Good and thoughtful comments here.

November 23, 2010 8:32 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

It used to be a ticketed offense - I was surprised he was arrested as well. The media is delighted to catch a priest... they can be very hard to catch in the 'wild'.

So how could he do what he did? Was it a betrayal? As I said in my post about this it was a sin of weakness - and it is a well known place for anonymous sexual encounters. Quick and easy. He fell into sin. I imagine besides betraying Our Lord - remember the disciples abandoned him when the going got tough too - I expect the priest betrayed himself more deeply.

We have to remember he is just a man.

I love the word verification for this comment, 'wisuph'.

Good advice: Wise-up - priests are people too.

November 24, 2010 12:25 PM  

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