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.