The Next Time you Critique your Parish Priest…

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The Next Time you Critique your Parish Priest...

…remem­ber this:

Priests are, every day, under assault from Satan. God’s grace sus­tains and strength­ens us, but temp­ta­tions are real. Priests are weak human beings.

And the advice Fr. Z gives con­cern­ing this priest in par­tic­u­lar is spot on.

Whether this priest strug­gles with doubts of faith, lazi­ness, pride – or he was appallingly poorly trained – does not mat­ter: pray for him.

I think peo­ple don’t real­ize the bur­den a Priest takes on, he com­mits to shep­herd his flock toward the light and away from the dark­ness, to dis­cern all sorts of prob­lems that indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies might have, to com­fort the sick and dying, to give affir­ma­tion and cor­rec­tion. To be a voice speak­ing the truth, how­ever unpop­u­lar, to peo­ple who don’t want to hear it both in soci­ety and within his own parish with the goal of sav­ing souls

If he is a pas­tor he also has to do this while run­ning essen­tially a busi­ness, pay­ing the bills, act­ing in accor­dance to local rules and regulations.

That’s in addi­tion to his duties of pray­ing the daily office, say­ing mul­ti­ple masses and being there to be a source of the sacra­ments to all who need them while fol­low­ing the rules of Canon law.

He has to do this while fac­ing crit­i­cism either spe­cific crit­i­cism directed at him from inside his parish (as you can’t please every­body) or the gen­eral cri­tiques against the church from the cul­ture that hates the Church and a world that hates the church as it hated Christ and what he teaches.

Not only does he have to deal with all of this attacks in the light of Christ’s instruc­tion to love one’s ene­mies and pray for those who per­se­cute him, but he has to do this while tak­ing care not to lose his own soul to the var­i­ous temp­ta­tions that he is hit with. There is no greater tar­get of the efforts of hell that a priest, who is hit with not only the nor­mal temp­ta­tions that every man faces, but spe­cific ones that tar­get the clergy such as spir­i­tual pride that are woven with care because the Devil knows that when a priest falls from grace he can take many of the faith­ful with him.

All of this is done on a pit­tance of pay that most peo­ple wouldn’t even think of tak­ing for a 40 hour job, let alone what they get.

The won­der to me isn’t that a tiny per­cent­age of the priests go off the reser­va­tion, either via sin, or scan­dal, the won­der is that the rest of them man­age to hang on.

…remember this:

Priests are, every day, under assault from Satan. God’s grace sustains and strengthens us, but temptations are real. Priests are weak human beings.

And the advice Fr. Z gives concerning this priest in particular is spot on.

Whether this priest struggles with doubts of faith, laziness, pride – or he was appallingly poorly trained – does not matter: pray for him.

I think people don’t realize the burden a Priest takes on, he commits to shepherd his flock toward the light and away from the darkness, to discern all sorts of problems that individuals and families might have, to comfort the sick and dying, to give affirmation and correction.  To be a voice speaking the truth, however unpopular,  to people who don’t want to hear it both in society and within his own parish with the goal of saving souls

If he is a pastor he also has to do this while running essentially a business, paying the bills, acting in accordance to local rules and regulations.

That’s in addition to his duties of praying the daily office, saying multiple masses and being there to be a source of the sacraments to all who need them while following the rules of Canon law.

He has to do this while facing criticism either specific criticism directed at him from inside his parish (as you can’t please everybody) or the general critiques against the church from the culture that hates the Church and a world that hates the church as it hated Christ and what he teaches.

Not only does he have to deal with all of this attacks in the light of Christ’s instruction to love one’s enemies and pray for those who persecute him, but he has to do this while taking care not to lose his own soul to the various temptations that he is hit with.  There is no greater target of the efforts of hell that a priest, who is hit with  not only the normal temptations that every man faces, but specific ones that target the clergy such as spiritual pride that are woven with care because the Devil knows that when a priest falls from grace he can take many of the faithful with him.

All of this is done on a pittance of pay that most people wouldn’t even think of taking for a 40 hour job, let alone what they get.

The wonder to me isn’t that a tiny percentage of the priests go off the reservation, either via sin, or scandal, the wonder is that the rest of them manage to hang on.