Since the time of St. Peter, priests have been entrusted with the task of guiding the Church of Christ. But numerous sex scandals, countless deeds of misbehaviour and unholy living among priests has, on many occasions cast doubts on priests and the institution of priesthood itself. Many of us have lost faith in our priests. We may have stopped going for mass or confession because we don’t like some priest or because we know that he indulges in certain bad habits or sins. We may also end up talking ill about our priests.
The reasons may be multiple. But I pose you this question: Are we without any sin that we are justified in condemning the priests? (Jn 8:7)
It is fine to say: He’s a priest. He should be holy.
Very true! But in reality we too are a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9) and are also called to lead holy lives.
But just as we keep sinning and stumbling regularly, priests too are humans and are subject to temptations.
As Father Thomas Kempis writes in the book, The ‘Imitation of Christ’,
“We would willingly like others to be perfect. But we aren’t ready to amend our own faults.”
While the scandals and impurity are certainly not acceptable, our fault here is that we condemn and judge our priests but rarely do we pray for them.
It is the priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth. What use would be a house filled with gold, if there were no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven. (St. John Vianney)
Let us not stop partaking of the sacraments because we feel the priest is unholy.
As long as the sacraments are celebrated in accordance with the intention of the Church, the power of Christ acts in and through them and is INDEPENDENT OF THE HOLINESS OF THE PRIEST. (CCC 1128)
The next time we feel the urge to talk ill about a priest let us remember the following Word of God-
‘Truly I tell you, “Anyone who touches them touches the apple of my eye ” (Zech 2:8)’