Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Matthew 5:11-12

"Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

I imagine every priest fears a time when they get called by their bishop informing them that they are being removed from priestly ministry. Most of the guys I've talked to fear a false allegation of sexual abuse from an angry former parishioner. Personally, I've thought about how I would react to being asked to perform a gay marriage for two Catholic guys. I worry that, if I refuse to do so, I'll be sued for equal protection and will end up in jail. 

That's what concerns me about this story about a priest who refused to distribute holy communion to an openly practicing lesbian. I know it probably shouldn't because the priest wasn't removed for not giving communion to the woman but for "intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others." It just seems very coincidental and the woman and her brother seem intent on connecting the two events and ruining any good reputation the priest has left. 

The truth is that even though priests are public figures, we aren't politicians. Sometimes we're going to say and do things that people will deem offensive. We have to be able to go into the temple and drive out the money changers and we don't have press secretaries to spin it into making us seem like we were the good guy. And we sometimes react poorly under pressure. Anyone who knows me knows that I could very easily have been this guy. I'd just hate to think that NBC, ABC, CNN and other media outlets could end it all for me...and seemingly ending it because I was standing up for Catholic teaching. Again, I know that's not why he was removed but just try to tell that to anyone reading the stories. I guess it should be a reminder to not take a moment for granted because it could all be done tomorrow. 

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