If you have been paying attention, a couple priests are back in the news....sigh...Although I am outraged as much as you about the crimes of .09% of our priests (and, yes, that is the accurate percentage), this blog is in the defense of my priests and bishops.
Let me start with my local shepherd, Bishop Robert Finn. We are so very blessed to have such an outstanding bishop. I am a member of his vast flock. All of the priests and religious are his sons and daughters. This relationship is more than being a boss, president or king. He loves us. He loves me, even though we have only met a few times. He does not know my name but his love for me is deep none-the-less. It must have pained him a great deal when he learned about one of his son's indiscretions found on his computer. I am talking about Father Shawn Ratigan. The day after these questionable pictures were found on his computer, the police were notified. The DAY AFTER. The police saw no crime committed in these pictures. That was not enough for our Bishop, so he sent him to a safe place where he could be watched and kept away from children. When Fr. Ratigan broke the rules to stay away from children, Bishop Finn called for a full investigation which led to more disturbing evidence which was considered criminal. He was arrested that day. So, why are so many people upset with how this was handled? Where was the mistake? I'll tell you what people are saying. "People" were saying that a full investigation should have been called from the very beginning. Really? Every time an eyebrow is raised we need to demand a full investigation? How many priests would be put under this humiliation every day and this utter lack of respect and doubt and distrust when they have done nothing wrong? Believe me, the accusations are floating around by many who want to attack our priests for NO just cause. What kind of priests would we have if their entire life was spent walking on egg shells? What would happen if a parishioner caught a priest driving a child somewhere alone? Would a full investigation be required, which would undoubtedly be plastered all over the news? What a terrible life for our priests. This is my fear. I fear that our bishop may succumb to the criticisms and chastise his flock prematurely, leading this "eggshell" lifestyle among our priests. I cannot be certain, but I fear that a premature decision may have already been made when I saw the news today. The priest, Fr. Tierney, that married my husband and I was removed from his church because of allegations that were deemed "not credible". Again, this is on the news to build on the already embarrassed and humiliated priest. Our bishop can do nothing except hide his poor son. Time will tell whether there is any credence to the accusations. If this priest is found innocent, it will not matter to the population of those that want to attack our church. This albatross will be hanging over Fr. Tierney's neck for the rest of his life which will make the joy of his priestly duties more difficult to see and feel.
And some want women priests why? A real gentleman ....a society of gentlemen...would never put a woman under the fire, attack, criticism, embarrassment and humiliation that our priests are under. Although this is not our reasoning for not having women in the priesthood, it shows evidence of the wisdom of Jesus. Our priests may not be boiled in oil, stoned or crucified in the physical sense but I would bet that some of them would prefer that torture then the one they are living in now. We should never wish this upon a woman. Oh! God and His wisdom! Thank God our Mother Church is in the protected hands of the Holy Spirit which..."will be guide you in all truth" John 16:13 and "the gates of Hell will NEVER prevail against it." Matthew 16:18. The gates of Hell will never prevail. Try as you might, oh children of the Catholic faith. Not any of our sinful mouths will be able to change anything in matters of faith and morals. Not even the worst of the worst pope's was able to change any matter in faith or morals because then that would make Jesus a liar. "The gates of Hell will never prevail against my church". And this is what gives me hope.