The Dallas Charter would not permit Saint Peter to re-enter ministry since, you know, he was once in prison. Saint Paul was also imprisoned many times. And Jesus was jailed overnight as well. “But they were never accused of abuse!” goes up the cry. Answer: Were you there? Are you so sure no one yelled that just to be obnoxious? Really? It happened to Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. If you think it can’t happen to you, you are living in unreality.
[As seen on These Stone Walls]
The very first moment, so to speak, in which we enter the gates of our heavenly Father’s Kingdom — by way of His goodness and kindness — we’ll know that our lives on this earth have been so very terribly short, just exactly long enough to have us dragged into the embrace of Jesus’ Father and ours, brought to be in joyful, humble thanksgiving for our Lord’s providential and permissive will.
In the very next moment – however much we priests were maligned on this earth, marginalized, beaten down, imprisoned – it is then that we will realize that we are priests forever: Tu es sacerdos in aeternum!
Father Gordon, I very much recognize, from my own experiences of betrayal in the priesthood, your well stated hierarchy of suffering. You say:
“My greatest suffering is not wrongful imprisonment, however, as horrible as that actually is. I hope readers know by now that I have not been languishing in prison beating my own priestly breast in a litany of woe for eighteen years. My far greater suffering is that the Dallas Charter considers prison, even to be wrongfully imprisoned, to be the end of priesthood forever. Any Church bureaucrat who thinks that prison by its very nature marks the end of my priesthood seriously underestimates both me and priesthood. No consistent reader of These Stone Walls could ever draw such a flawed conclusion.
I have to wonder just what the bishops voting for the Dallas Charter will do before the judgment seat of God, when our Heavenly Father will surely recall when His Son, When Jesus Was in Prison, and when Saint Peter was in prison (Acts 12,3 ff), and, as you mentioned in The Conversion of Saint Paul, when Saint Paul bragged of having been imprisoned more than all the others (2 Corinthians 11,23 ff ) due to dangers from — oh my… – ψευδαδέλφοις, from false brothers…
As with Saint Paul, there have been some quiet conversions of a tiny handful of those having anything to do with the Dallas Charter. This is, of course, our hope, that no hatred of one’s brother priests is stronger than the solicitous goodness and kindness of Jesus, also for our bishops!
You say that “the wounds of the priesthood must be healed,” and also that the raising of the Sacred Host at the consecration at Mass is very much sacrificial. And I think that it is that sacrifice which will bring about a more rambunctuous conversion of some bishops, who will then have the wherewithal to counter the self-congratulating rhetoric of a Rossetti, or an Arsenault, or a MacCormack. It is for this reason that you are very much the priest’s priest. You’ve certainly shaken up my priesthood, to know what that priesthood is all about. I thank you for that, Father.
You and Marty and others have had very charitable things to say about me, but I beg that such comments be seen with the understanding that I’m someone in the midst of facing a steep learning curve. I don’t deserve to know what you’ve taught me about the priesthood, Father, but in that way you also reflect the goodness and kindness of Jesus, and, again, I thank you for that. Thanks for showing us the Way. Thanks for also being this priest’s priest. I’m sure Father Michael and Father James echo these sentiments, and that such thanksgiving resounds in the hearts of the likes of Ryan and David and so many readers of These Stone Walls. For all of us, tu es sacerdos in aeternum!