Joanne McPortland, a blogger on the Catholic Channel at Patheos, has posted this interesting piece on her page, Egregious Twaddle.
The post is titled Holier Than None and is based on the stories of two priests whose activities have recently preoccupied a good deal of the Catholic blogosphere.
You don't need to be familiar with those two stories or even to read about them to understand Joanne's major point:
The thing is, we sin when we put priests on pedestals and idolize them. I think that’s what Jesus cautioned against when he told us to call no man father. Yes, priests are due the respect of their office—as is every person made in God’s image. But holiness is not applied with chrism and the laying on of hands. Holiness is something each one of us is called to through the priesthood of Baptism, and asked to live out and grow into according to our state in life. Priests are holier than none by virtue of being priests. If they achieve holiness, it is by the same virtues available to each of us. Priests are no less vulnerable to temptation, to sin, to ignorance, to uncharity, to pride, to concupiscence than any of us, and when they reveal that vulnerability it shouldn’t shake our faith. The Apostles themselves, handpicked by Christ, were the frailest of vessels, proud and angry and violent and doubtful and betraying and just plain falling asleep on the job. If we see these things in the green wood, what will happen in the dry?
I regret, deeply, the potential for scandal when a priest goes rogue. But I think that potential would be lessened if we allowed ourselves to see priests as human, with all the complexity and inbuilt brokenness that entails. No excuses, but no attacks of the vapors either. Accountability. Prayer. Forgiveness. What we ask of any sinner, holier than none, is all we are entitled to ask of priests. And of ourselves.
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