CATHOLIC PRIESTHOOD - A REALITY CHECK
TODAY - HOLY THURSDAY IS THE DAY CATHOLIC PRIESTS ALL OVER THE WORLD GATHER IN CATHEDRALS IN FRONT OF THEIR BISHOPS TO RENEW THEIR PRIESTLY PROMISES.
BUT HOW FAITHFUL IS THE CHURCH AND BISHOPS TO THEIR PRIESTS - ESPECIALLY WHEN A PRIEST HAS A CRISIS?
THE FOLLOWING PIECE WAS SUBMITTED TO THIS BLOG AT 00.21 AM THIS MORNING. IT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF:
"Orthodoxy versus orthopraxy is a fine balancing act the Church is always struggling with.
As a former priest, now married, and incidentally unemployed, I find this dichotomy at play in a very real and tangible way in my own personal experience. Leaving priesthood was traumatic on various levels.
As a priest I was very safe when it came to orthodoxy. I pretty much accepted the Church's teachings on everything. My Achilees heel was celibacy, when in conscience I felt I was also called to marriage.
I am now paying very dearly for following my conscience. The Church was ruthless in abandoning a loyal servant. When I chose to leave and marry all my celibate friends completely disowned and abandoned me. It was if I was a raving heretic.
I have paid very dearly for choosing another path. Unfortunately due to my lack of skills and training I have not been able to secure a job in any form, even the most menial.
I am wondering if my CV stating I am a former priest is mitigating against me. Who would trust a former priest in this climate anyway?
My bishop doesn't give a toss.....all he was worried about is that I signed the laicisation papers to complete a neat canonical process. He doesn't give a crap about issues of basic survival....why should he, given that he is living in clover himself.
That's the trouble with clerics. They live in the head. They can afford to. They get paid handsomely for living in abstractions. Disembodied servants of the Church. I know. I was one of them myself until I had to acknowledge my humanity.
The hypocrites who really annoy me are the ACP (Association of Catholic Priests) priests. They shout and complain relentlessly, challenging orthodoxy. They pride themselves as liberals and fearless mavericks and rant and rave about the Church....that is until their bishop, superior or CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Rome) official threatens them. Then they realise their radical dissent may impinge upon their clerical privileges i.e. income, roof over their head, material comforts etc. Suddenly, mouse-like, they retreat back into their comfort zones to lick their wounds.
It's fools like me who suffer. Orthodox, quiet, non-confrontational, people prepared to fall on their sword to follow their conscience with dignity.
I can tell you I have followed my conscience with dignity, even apologetically, penitentially, and sorrowfully and all I have received is ostracisation, a complete withdrawal of material support, loss of position and so called status.
I have paid hugely for trying to live in an honest manner. For my honesty, I have been punished where it truly hurts. monetarily, materially, financially, only because of celibacy and nothing else. I fully accept all the doctrines of the Church. I failed in this one discipline and my life has been impacted upon in a very hard way.
It's not an equal playing pitch. In my diocese there are paedophiles who have not been suspended....I know at least two....there are active homosexuals and heterosexuals....priests with children...and here I am, the fool who is paying the ultimate price....loss of home, employment, vocation, for choosing to be honest.
It does make me sick....Anonymous".
WHAT HAVE WE TO SAY TO THIS MAN?
WHAT HAVE WE TO OFFER HIM?