This week, the Catholic Church faced yet another bombshell that came from the attorney general of Pennsylvania and the damning report of cover-ups, corruption and an evil network of child abuse.  This leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.  I feel disgust, anger and sheer frustration. The amazing work of so many good priests is almost destroyed because of the evil and arrogance of church representatives – and worse – church leaders!  Yes, this will be a difficult time for everyone who calls themselves Catholic.  It’s even more difficult to digest as a priest. But, it’s very easy for me to say what these priests, bishops and anyone else involved had done is pure evil, and they will have to pay in this life and in the next!

Because there’s so much to say about this topic, I would hope to do a specific show about this issue on my podcast/audiocast, “Shoot the Shiitake with Father Leo.”  More importantly, I hope to point to a way to deal with this better in our own lives and in our church.  And yes, I’ll be preaching to myself.

It may also be helpful to re-listen to the episode that I did regarding the former and disgraced Cardinal, Theodore McCarrick. This may help to some degree in dealing with similar related ugly side of the church and her broken priests and leaders.

Click HERE to listen to Episode 19, “Sex Scandal in the Catholic Church”
regarding former Cardinal McCarrick.

This week however, my podcast is all about taking questions from fellow pilgrims on the Danube River cruise ship. I scheduled to release this episode before the scandalous news. But it may be providential, simply because there are serious questions but answered in a more lighthearted and easy-to-digest way. I believe these type of interactions are helpful to the many parishioners who have no connection to their priests. This show gives people a chance to get to know their priests, not just as leaders of congregations, but as normal people that struggle like everyone else. Finally, it is these kind of honest conversations that can also help connect priests more realistically to their people. And, THAT keeps a priest grounded in reality!

When I was a seminarian formator – someone entrusted to form future priests – I would intentionally eat with these young men.  It was a great way to observe them, to see if they were “normal” people, or if they displayed any odd behavior or tendencies that could affect their ministry.  Yes, you can learn a lot from someone by how they eat.  If they demonstrated any behaviors inappropriate to those who would be servants at the Lord’s Table, I would bring that up to them, help them correct it, and if necessary, move to the decision to remove that young man out of the seminary.

The day after the news of the scandal broke, I felt compelled to have a meal with some good friends, my neighbors – some non-catholic – but still helpful to me, their friend and priest neighbor.

It may be difficult to do, but I’m just going to say it.  Invite a priest to your home for dinner this week.   Get to know him.  Get to know him well enough that if you have any critique, you could say it to him with the love of a “family member” and not just as an angry parishioner.  Don’t invite him over to dinner because you feel sorry for him, but to get to know him, support him, share your concerns – and above all – become the family, God’s Family, that works together to get through these very difficult times.

Please enjoy this episode.  More to come about the clergy abuse scandal.  But for now, let’s unite in prayer.

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