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“Jesus longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy or accepted by others; even by yourself sometimes. He is the one who always accepts you. Only believe, you are precious to Him. Bring all your suffering to His feet; only open your heart to be loved by Him as you are. He will do the rest.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

We need to love and pray more for the Holy Father. And perform acts of penance. Our deep love for the pope must not be like the respect we Americans pay to the office of president even when we dislike the holder of the office. That sort of attitude is not right for a Catholic toward the pope. Love and prayer.

Our family is giving very little money in our weekly envelopes--we want them to know we are attending but are angry.

We are setting aside in a separate account the money we usually give (plus 10%), and will give that in a lump sum as soon as something happens to give laypeople confidence that there will be a purification of priestly life.

Several bishops have asked Pope Francis for a synod on priestly life; done right, that might suffice.

We are praying, fasting and waiting for a sign.

If pervasive, nearly-uncloseted homosexuality in the preisthood were the primary cause of the current crisis, it would not be the true that for hundreds of years there have been institutional cover-ups for clerical sexual abuse. We need to get all sexually active clergy out of ministry, of course, but until we deal with clericalism...the core problem will remain.

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Clericalism is real, and really bad stuff. The moral rot at the core of all this has its roots not only the human condition conceived more generally, but also specifically in clericalism. Once priests are treated the way characteristic of clericalism, it is a short next step for them to start thinking the rules that apply to others do not apply to them.

Fasted today, and as always I disliked it. A lot. But there's something great about fasting: it focuses your attention! Your mind doesn't wander as much as in mental prayer. You can't ignore your body telling you to eat. "I should eat. So, what can I eat? Oh, wait, I'm not eating today. But why on earth not? Oh, yeah. Now I remember." My mental prayer is often distracted, but fasting keeps you coming back again and again to the question of why you're not eating.

More bishops are asking Francis for an extraordinary synod on priestly life:

Chaput has asked that the October synod on youth be canceled and a synod on the life of bishops and priests be organized.

Seems like a sensible proposal!

Yesterday the bishop of Dallas wrote Francis requesting an extraordinary synod to address (in part) the life of the clergy.

What kind of formation? Continuing formation? Living arrangements? (I mostly deal with priests who live in a house full of laymen living apostolic celibacy. They all seem psychologically healthy.)

What kind of family life do priests have now? Farrell and McCarrick lived together for years and Farrell didn't know anything! What kind of family life is that?

Wednesday the president of Ave Maria made a statement about the situation:

Yesterday he walked it back:

Pray and fast for the pope. When the car is veering toward the cliff, you don't push the driver out of the way and try to drive yourself to safety, EVEN if the driver is the one at fault. Perhaps Francis will decide he needs to resign, but then again perhaps he will correct our course and shepherd us to safety.

I reflect sometimes on folks who just don't seem to get this. As for me, I must be critical of how I am living our faith everyday -- asking how I am using the time and blessings God has given me.

Prayer, fasting and penance are--of course!--always appropriate, but they do not exhaust--not even close!--the means available to the laity for responding to the crisis.

But first we need to know the facts, which have not yet been made public by faithful clerics such as yourself.

Thank you for inviting everyone to fast with you. It's a great idea, and my family is joining you.


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The laity needs to know whether these allegations are true.

Do you know anything about whether the allegations about such an informal policy are true?

I implore you to say to your flock what you know (or don't know) about the real situation on the ground in the Church. The lay faithful cannot respond appropriately to the crisis if we do not know what is going on. [...]

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It has been alleged by many people--for many years now--that the Church has an informal policy of overlooking the "private" and supposedly "merely sinful" behavior of clerics, and that this informal policy has created a massive screen behind which some clerics have been able to hide their own outright criminal activity. It is patently impossible to maintain such an informal policy regarding "merely sinful" clerical behavior while at the same time trying to root out criminal clerical behavior. ..

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The pastor of a church I sometimes go to for daily mass has invited everyone to join him in a seven-Friday fast for the sins of the Church. I wasn't fully satisfied with this response to the crisis, though, so I wrote this email to him today:

Fr. X, thank you!

I believe that right now any cleric who knows ANYTHING about the supposed existence of a culture of "letting slide" immoral behavior by clerics must say--publicly, explicitly, and frequently--just what they know.


"It presents a positive vision of a Church in which laypeople and clergy regard one another with mutual respect as partners in her mission to the world, with indispensable, contemporary tasks arising from their own special vocations."

"This is not another revisionist attack on the priesthood, not one more alienated voice from the pews. Instead the book offers a prescription for authentic ecclesial renewal based on new, healthier lay-clergy relations in light of the teaching of Vatican II, Pope John Paul II, and other voices of the Magisterium."

"To Hunt, To Shoot, To Entertain probes the theological and historical roots of this clericalist mentality as it has affected the Catholic laity, along with contemporary expressions of clericalism--the over-involvement of some clerics in secular politics, the sometimes exaggerated emphasis given to "lay ministers," and certain aspects for the feminist movement in today's Catholicism."

"The most important reason, as well as the least recognized, may be clericalism: the attitude, widely shared by Catholic laypeople as well as many priests, that clerics make up the active, elite corps in the Church, and laypeople are the passive mass; that clerics alone have intrinsic responsibility for the Church's mission while the apostolate of laypeople comes to them (if they come at all) only by delegation on the part of the clergy."

It's important to understand clericalism. Here's the blurb for Russell Shaw's helpful book "To Hunt, to Shoot, to Entertain: Clericalism and the Catholic Laity":

"Why hasn't the Catholic Church been more successful up to now in realizing the Second Vatican Council's call for the evangelization of secular culture? Why hasn't the Gospel been preached more forthrightly to the modern world?"

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