A Suffering-Servant Priest


Dear Friends: I read a very humbling and honest sharing from a priest who was in ordained priestly ministry for over 50 years. It is very heart breaking to see how he suffers. His message was found on Catholica, an international posting site located in Australia. I invite you to read about his situation and share your thoughts with us. Thank you. DrNick

From last week’s Exit Stories that have been collected by Milly and published on Catholica…

Milly,

I have been a priest for over half a century, a fact that doesn’t fill me with great pride!

I sometimes wonder why I haven’t left the church. I have told myself that if I did leave, then I would forfeit any right I have to make my voice heard. But I still feel that I am part of the Christian problem. one of the hierarchical elite, part of the power and control and of the cleericalism that is so damaging. I don’t like it.

I don’t go to Mass anymore, except for an occasional funeral. I just don’t believe that the Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life. I don’t believe that the eucharist was instituted by Jesus, nor that Jesus died on the cross for our salvation.

I can’t say the Creed any longer. I just don’t believe in most of the ‘teachings of the church’ as expressed in the creed.

I have been declared a heretic at times. One priest asked my why I dared to believe the things that were so at variance with his beliefs.

Readers, have you any idea of the courage, honesty, and wisdom of this human being who wrote this short and ever so meaningful “confession”? It is not a “confession” as such implies guilt. This man expresses truth, becoming god-like in his new found freedom. Creeds are supposed to be expressions of faith yet are now so ritualized and out-dated they are beyond human understanding. As a community of faith we have written our own expressions of faith since 1967. We believe in what we experience or imagine to be true.

Exit StoriesI can resonate with this man as he bares his personal private world. He is a modern Jesus who has taken himself off a Roman intellectual cross and his revelation of self is totally genuine. His words are filled with truth and pain. He tears away the mask-façade of the priest imposed upon him in a medieval seminary training yet the wholesome person survives the painful search for what is real and true. His searching process took years and he confronted his demons not only for himself but for the good of the very people he dedicated his life to serve. Hidden in his words are the painful rejection by those very people for whom he became a priest, they, in fear, refusing truth and wisdom, silently labeling him as heretic. (Tom knows the drill). In a controversy over truth Jesus warns: “he who has ears to hear let him hear!”

How historically correct he is as he avoids Mass, realizing this gathering is no longer the community celebrating a newly risen Jesus and his Way but has become a commercial enterprise used ingenuinely by the CEO’s of one of the largest corporations in the world. Cardinal Bernard Law, once an advocate of the poor, was corrupted in his episcopal office by the greed of this world wide institution. Law approved of pedophile criminal priests so as to keep the mass money-making machine working. Its profits are big and the people get a wafer Jesus and a promise of eternal life in return. I see this letter writer (I wish I knew his name) as a hero, a Dietrich Bonhoeffer type who in the 1930’s defied Hitler. This writer is my type of a Jesus follower, scorned as a heretic by those who in their ignorance and fear refuse to discern the times and truth. You are right on, my friend and your witness is well received. By the way St. Augustine (hardly always a good boy himself) said “the only heretic is the one who calls another a heretic”. Cheers for you, my freed-up friend. You are truly a Jesus servant priest.

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