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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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I think it's important to remember that even though instances of abuse continue to surface, it still only involves a very small proportion of priests and that the vast majority in no way deserve to be tarred with the same brush – and yet we find we have to defend and justify ourselves and our ministry all because of the actions of a few bad apples.
Some priests have even experienced being called a child abuser in the street simply because they are a priest. It goes without saying that people have a right to expect better of their priests, a higher moral standard, and that the trust they place in their clergy should be well-founded and hopefully it is.
But it has to be said that we are currently labouring under a cloud of suspicion that we really don't deserve. When we were first experiencing that cloud, I will always remember the occasion when, at the end of a diocesan celebration, the late Bishop Kevin O'Brien spontaneously spoke up in support of the priests of the diocese. His words, and the priests who were present, received a very moving and prolonged ovation from a packed cathedral. It was just what we needed at the time and it's probably just we need again now.
It was St Paul who said that we are only earthenware vessels holding the treasure of the gospel, an image that reminds us how vulnerable we are and how easily we are broken. His point was that when we act out of our humanness, our fragility, our imperfection, thankfully it is God who holds things together despite ourselves.
Read it all.
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