Saturday, September 2, 2006

Texas priest speaks out: What about the faithful priests remaining at their posts?

I didn't bother to bring the news of a priest who had resigned not only from his parish, but from the priesthood, following a financial scandal which he helped expose. Instead, I had decided to add him to my prayers. Once a priest - always a priest and hopefully, this one will eventually reconsider his decision.

But a Texas priest, Fr. James Farfaglia, upset by the news coverage of one priest throwing in the towel, had a few things to get off his chest. It would benefit us all to soak it in. It was my sentiment, as well, pertaining to His Church, when Christ said, "the gates of hell shall not prevail".

I truly believe we are at a new dawn for the Catholic Church, after many years of theological ambiguity and banal, community-focused - not God-centered - worship. The ambiguity is responsible for confusion among the faithful, and luke-warmness of faith. There are many veteran priests out there who have been holding the line during this period of trial, who often face persecution from within. Dividends are paying off as a new crop of priests are surfacing, with the boldness and tenacity of Fr. Corapi. They simply aren't buying, or selling, namby-pamby Catholicism, and some of them may suffer many trials and persecutions for holding the line, as well. This takes holy courage, holy prudence, holy perseverence and the kind of holy strength which is tempered through holy Fire. None of this is possible without a deep and consistent prayer life on the part of our priests.

This priest is right on target and it is the very reason why I keep making reminders in this blog about the need to pray for our priests, bishops, seminarians and young men discerning. All the talk and criticisms will do far less than for all of us to start spending time in adoration for them. Give up an hour on a Saturday afternoon if you can find a chapel with adoration, and offer it up for an unknown priest who is not doing adoration. Pray a rosary for an unknown priest who does not have Marian devotion. Do it for the pure love of God.

Here is Fr. Farafaglia's words, brought to us by Matt C. Abbot:

Texas priest speaks out
Matt C. Abbott

September 1, 2006

Late last night I arrived at my parish in Corpus Christi, Texas after having spent a few days with my Mom and Dad in Binghamton, NY. I try and visit my parents two or three times a year. I firmly believe that it is part of my duty as a son to look after my parents, but my first duty is my duty to my parish family. My parents have always understood this in a very beautiful way. I can not teach family values to my parishioners if I do not practice what I preach.

I have been in my parish since 7:30 AM this morning. First I had to resolve the fact that the parish hall had no electricity. My homeschooling group was ready to use the facility this morning for their monthly get-together. After the first Friday morning Mass with the homeschoolers, I spent more than 90 minutes counseling a man whose wife is mentally ill and suicidal. I had no breakfast and a very quick lunch. Now, I am back in my office ready to be the guest on the Catholic Answers Live radio show to talk about Liturgical Abuses. Tonight I have confessions, a second Mass, this time in Latin, and then a marriage preparation class for a couple that wants to reconcile their marriage in the Church after having been civilly married for six years. I still have tons of emails to answer and some how I need to catch up on my Breviary.

In the middle of all of this, national news was made this morning on the Internet by a young priest from Connecticut who publicly announced that he is leaving the priesthood because he was a whistleblower in a tragic situation in Darien, CT. I am from Connecticut, and I need to speak out.

A young priest makes national news because he is leaving the priesthood. But what about the thousands of Catholic priests, young and old, who today and every day, are faithfully fulfilling their duties as Catholic priests? Why haven't they made national Internet news? What about all of us that are out there, doing their job, most of the time under very difficult circumstances?

We are persecuted by homosexual militant priests. We are vilified by traditionalists because we celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass. We are criticized and abandoned by parishioners because we stand up for the Church's teaching on birth control, abortion, and pre-marital sex. We push confession only to sit in the confessional for hours alone. And yet, here we are, doing our job faithfully every day — and we are not featured on the Internet.

Every day we drag our tired bodies through the battles of modern America. We deal with our own sinfulness and weaknesses. Sometimes we fall, but we get back up again through the sacrament of confession. We find consolation and the strength through the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On the Titanic, a group of three musicians decided to remain on the ship playing their beautiful music as the ship went down. They could have jumped ship with many of those who were able to get into the life boats, but they decided to remain and keep playing their music. They remained and played "Nearer to God to Thee".

We know from Sacred Scripture that "the gates of hell shall not prevail," but in the meantime, the Catholic Church in this country is in a terrible mess. Catholic priests need to remain at their posts. Parishes are closing, entire dioceses may disappear, but the Church will still go on. I for one, with the grace of God, will remain at my post until I die of natural causes or someone puts a bullet in my head.

Isaac Jogues had some of his fingers bit off by wild Indians (sorry, I am not p.c.), and he returned to America only to face martyrdom. Edmond Campion continued to serve his people knowing that a horrible death would eventually take place. Miguel Pro courageously continued to defend the Catholic Faith in Mexico and then died also a martyr as he cried out "Viva Cristo Rey."

Where are the Isaacs? Where are the Edmonds? Where are the priests like Miguel? They are there. They are the thousands of Catholic priests in their parishes, in the seminaries, in the hospitals, in the mission lands, in the universities and schools faithfully carrying out their priestly duties each day with a smile on their face even though they are crucified every day with the Lord that called them to serve Him and his people.

Catholic priests of God: do not be afraid; do not be discouraged; be faithful; be a hero. Remember to always pray: Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.

Hopefully, somewhere, Fr. Madden is reading what Fr. Farafaglia is saying...

Fr. Farafaglia's website is worth exploring. He has a good list of trustworthy Catholic Colleges.

H/T to Gerald Augustinus