(This was a comment by a faithful Priest who is a longtime reader and occasional commenter here. It describes the view from the pulpit from those who, despite the trials of these times, endeavor to live their mission with fidelity and fortitude. I liked it so much I reprint it, with permission, as a stand-alone column. I use a pseudonym for the Priest.-CJ)
By Fr. Victura
I’d like to offer a point of view almost never publicized, from an ordinary foot soldier on the Church’s front lines. I have labored for 21 years in the priesthood, preceded by six years in the seminary, and I have never seen any direct evidence of homosexuality in the priesthood, or the seminary, at all. Not even once. Everything I have learned about homosexuality in the priesthood has come from second hand accounts, stories from decades past, and news reports. But I myself have precisely zero direct knowledge of it.
You might never have heard any priest say this before, but I assure you, my experience is not unique. I’ve spoken about this with other priests, and have concluded that the reason priests will not mention this is because we do not wish to imply that a problem does not exist. We know a problem exists. We know that more than 80% of the abuse cases in the priesthood are homosexual in nature. None of us wants to distract attention from that problem. However, I believe it is important to know the problem is not ubiquitous, as most think it to be.
Every priest I know, without exception, is striving to live his vocation to the best of his ability in the most hostile environment in his lifetime. The bishops do NOT have our backs. We are frightfully vulnerable. A priest’s life is all the more difficult knowing that many or most of the souls in the pews hold him in perpetual suspicion of crimes he would never commit.
We willingly accept this current state of affairs. The Church must be purified. The active agent of the Church’s purification must be humility. Humility is the milk on which the infant of charity is nursed to health, and humility is learned by the willing acceptance of humiliations, from the hand of God’s providence. This purification must come for the bishops first, and the rest of the clergy second.
The entire body of the clergy, from Pope to the simplest parish priest, must pass through the crucible of humility in order to regain the prophetic voice it has lost, through decades of easy compromise with modernism, and worldliness.
St. Teresa of Avila once said that humility is like the foundation of a building. The deeper the foundation, the higher the architect intends to build. Similarly, the deeper the humility of a soul, the higher God intends to build it up in his service. If our current depths are any indication of the divine plan, it appears that our Lord plans to rebuild the Church, monumentally.
Until the Church is renewed, I implore you three things. First, do not suspect all clergy of the worst behavior. Did you know that, at this moment, many faithful priests are at their breaking point? They are striving to be faithful to their sacred calling, and are simply worn out from too much work (many priests are working twice as hard as they ought, because there are about half as many priests as there ought to be), and from little to no support from their bishops or from the faithful.
Secondly, take heart in knowing that most priests are quietly striving to be faithful, and are in fact doing so. All is NOT rotten in Denmark.
Thirdly, if you know a good priest, please encourage him in very subtle ways. Greet him with a smile and a simple wave of the hand. Write him a tiny hand-written note to say “thank you.” I assure you, your small effort will make a world of difference. You may save a good priest from losing hope, and enable him to continue to offer God’s grace to a world that needs it more than ever before.
Thank you, and God bless you!