Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pray for bad priests

A few days ago I read a blog by an elderly man who is chronicling the ruin of his parish. It's very sad. He and his wife now take an hour long drive to get to the next parish on Sunday and frequently find no priest for daily Mass at their parish because Father, who is something of a celebrity in this diocese,  is busy with one of his cool causes.

We need to pray very much for celebrity priests because they are usually not good priests. A priest who can rarely be found in his rectory, the parish hall or the homes of his parishioners is a priest on the road to trouble.  A priest who manages to pump out daily and substantial blog content  about non-holy things, such as Star Wars or airport food, politics, people he doesn't like and his totally secular adventures on his day off  is telling his readers something whether he realizes it or not.

If you know what your favorite celebrity priest's most liked food is, or his preferred non-clerical clothing brand or all about his comic book collection, scratch the surface and you will find that his parochial vicar or his deacon, like Thomas Merton's friar brothers had to do,  are picking up his slack while he pursues fame. This is not good. It's not good for the priest. It's not good for his fans. And it's not good for his parishioners, if he even has any. One young priest in my diocese used to write a travel blog. It was inoffensive but after a while it began to seem to me that young Father was not all that thrilled with his "job," and that the day off was a huge relief to him. He stopped the blog, took some time to think and decided to leave the priesthood. Did this episode help the spiritual life of his parishioners or harm it?

Unless the blog is about homeletics or apologetics I've stopped reading priest blogs. If you really are a fan of a particular blogging priest don't make offerings to his vanity or act like  girl squealing at her favorite pop star. Instead, imitate the holy women who ministered to Our Lord. Serve. Pray for him. Sacrifice for him. Give alms to help him do some good. And when he chooses to not act like Christ, if you can't stop reading then at least comment and let him know what's he's doing in a decorous, humble way.

St. Therese's prayer for priests 
O Jesus, I pray for your faithful and fervent priests;
for your unfaithful and tepid priests;
for your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields.
for your tempted priests;
for your lonely and desolate priests;
For your young priests;
for your dying priests;
for the souls of your priests in Purgatory.
But above all, I recommend to you the priests dearest to me:
the priest who baptized me;
the priests who absolved me from my sins;
the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in 
Holy Communion;
the priests who taught and instructed me;
all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way (especially …).
O Jesus, keep them all close to your heart,
and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen