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Tarnished Image

I saw a woman in need the other day. She was struggling with a package and had a child with her and another in a car-seat she was carrying. My first inclination was to go to help her. I was about to say "May I help you unlock your car and get these things put away?" Sadly, I paused. It was not because of an unwillingness to help, but rather because I realized how ungodly Priests have tarnished the image of Catholic Clergy. I had my clericals on (cassock and collar), and all I could think of was how many people see Priests as predators and not as servants of the community.

My heart was crushed because a Priest showing up to help no longer carries with it the connotation of self-sacrifice and love for all people. Today it carries with it the image of abuse. In a matter of a couple seconds I could see myself stepping forward and her recoiling in fear that I wanted to harm her children. Standing there, I felt like I was in handcuffs.

I was about to take the chance anyway, but someone came to her rescue. Thankfully, it appeared to be a relative or friend, so she was taken care of. Yet, I still hurt for the fact that I was hindered in my ability to help another (yes, due partly to my own hesitation--she may not have a bad response at all, I know that). This hindrance is largely because of the wicked deeds of some of my brother Priests. Just the other day, there was a news story about another round of evil Priests in Portugal, which will only go to increase the difficulty with helping people.

True, some do understand that not every Priest is a sodomite or practicing ephebophilia or (supposedly) pedophilia. Yet, the ones who have been brainwashed into believing that are often the ones who need the most help. I have often thought to myself, "wouldn't it be nice to live in a day when Priests were still respected?" The problem with that is that it can be taken for granted. I think that is how Priests were able to get away with so much abuse down through the years; they took advantage of people's trust, with no regard for the long term consequences for Priests who want to be faithful.

Clergy are supposed to represent Christ to everyone they meet. They are supposed to show His love for the lost and hurting as well as His Lordship to the disobedient. Whenever a clergyman abuses someone (whether liturgically or physically) he is showing the image of the devil and not Christ. He is making his victims think that Jesus is like a fallen angel, and that is the greatest abuse he can possibly commit.

Sadly, we may have to go through a period where Priests (as well as Deacons and Bishops) are going to have to be hated (i.e. martyred) before they can once again be respected. In the meantime I will help as many as I can; pray for me, and for all Bishops, Priests and Deacons, that we would be faithful and do nothing further to tarnish the image of Christ that we are supposed to be showing to this world as it seeks to commit spiritual suicide.


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