I just returned from a trip to Dallas, Texas where I attended the International Catholic Stewardship Conference (ICSC). I attended with members of my parish, and with our wonderful pastor Father Mark Wagner. Father Francis Joseph came too which is pretty cool considering he was just off a trip to Fatima and Lourdes. He must have been exhausted.
The conference was an interesting mixture of sales convention and spiritual retreat. We had to run the gamut of various vendors to get to the free breakfast every morning but once fed and watered we got to attend some excellent talks on how to promote proper Catholic stewardship within the parish. I will admit that the best presentations later turned out to be Dominican in nature and spirituality - usually presented by either 3rd Order members like me or people trained by the Catherine of Sienna Institute. I learned some interesting stuff. I think it will do me well in the coming months.
The saddest thing about the entire trip was getting the news that Father Dean McFalls has fathered a child out of wedlock and in violation of his priestly vows. The news hit us all hard. Most of us know Father Dean, like Father Dean and are terribly disappointed by Father Dean. Because so many non-Catholics (and Catholics - unfortunately) do not understand the discipline of priestly celibacy within the Latin Rite and tend to jump on us idiot Catholics for being 'unbiblical' because we HAVE that discipline in the Latin Rite, it has been the job of us Faithful Types to explain, defend and promote Truth.
Now many faithful Catholics disagree that celibacy should be a requirement in the Latin Rite. I go back and forth on this issue as I can absolutely understand the need for men who are willing to be Faithful only to the Bride of Christ AND how very lonely it can be for them in their work. I also believe that the Church will examine the issue and make the appropriate decision, guided as she is by the Holy Spirit. It is not for me to judge or decide.
However, I can admit to be angry and hurt by this man's actions. I can also admit to being stunned by the reading in yesterday's (or the day before now, I cannot remember) Divine Office which referenced the sermon on pastors by St Augustine. The fact that he had to address the issue of bad priests proves that this is not a new problem within The Church. Satan attacks the family and what better attack is there than on that unique family relationship created when a man receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders?
So all my friends who do not understand, I am with you. I understand the theology. I understand the emotional stuff around a man being lonely ( I too carry that cross and all I can say is there better be a lot of people getting out of purgatory).
What bothers me about the situation is it is an example of still another person incapable of keeping their word.
And that makes me sad.