He’s back, after an extended absence (and sorely m…

He’s back, after an extended absence (and sorely missed I might add), the Diocese Report is once again active.

The Vatican seems to be updating their site. There…

The Vatican seems to be updating their site. There now is a great Easter link that includes among other gems, chant for the Easter Season.

A major problem in the priesthood in the United St…

A major problem in the priesthood in the United States has been the domination of homosexual priests in the ranks of vocation directors. When I taught in the seminary the Rector use to spend breakfast each morning detailing his dismay at the vocation directors and their obvious homosexual orientation (it must be added that the Rector himself was later accused and dismissed for having molested a number of young men). To be fair to bishops I think there is a reasonable reason for why this is a problem. If you think about it a bishop surveys the priests in his diocese and thinks, “who will do the best job in recruiting young men to the seminary?” He sees Father X who seems to be a magnet for young men, always seen in the company of young men and thinks “there is my man.” The bishop presumes (I’m being charitable here, I think) that Father X is a chaste celibate. Father X who it turns out is not a chaste celibate but in fact an active homosexual recruits others who see in his lifestyle the perfect way to cloak their own. Thus, you end up with a presbyterate that is not based on faith in Christ but rather in providing a haven for a particular sexual orientation. This in turn leads to weak preaching, avoiding any mention of morality and as Dr. Leon Poddles has said the “femization of the Church.”

Today, in the St. Lousis Dispatch there is yet another abuse story, this one involves a vocation director:

The Rev. Bryan Kuchar, who was one of the St. Louis Archdiocese’s chief recruiters of young men to the priesthood, has been charged with six counts of sexually abusing a male minor in 1995.

Kuchar was arrested Wednesday night by police in St. Louis County and charged in a warrant issued today charging him with six counts of second-degree sodomy, a Class C felony. He is believed to be the only current priest in Missouri to be taken into police custody for abuse allegations since the nationwide abuse scandal began in January.

Kuchar, 36, is the associate director of the St. Louis Archdiocese’s vocations office, headquartered at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. He lives at St. John the Baptist High School in the city’s Bevo neighborhood.

Students at St. John the Baptist received letters announcing the priest’s arrest and investigation on the allegations at the end of the school day on Thursday. That follows the archdiocese’s six-week old policy of informing parishes and schools immediately about any credible allegations against a priest.

If I am right, and I think that I am, bishops in the future need to look for models of holiness to be vocation directors and avoid placing young priests in those positions.

I will post seminary experiences Part II on Monday…

I will post seminary experiences Part II on Monday. I have received quite a bit of feedback from others who attended the seminary that I wrote about on Monday and most have mentioned that they thought my assessment fair if a bit understated. My point in posting these experiences is not to dreg up past hurts but more an effort to show that the present scandals are nothing new…and merely the fruit of a wound that has been festering in the Church for sometime.

I think the Second Vatican Council sought to address how the Church would meet the needs of the modern world. It set in motion a reform which radically changed (one might say recovered) the role of the laity in the Church. In the ensuing years a battle has been fought as to how to implement the reforms of the council. Unfortunately this has sometimes led to the clericalization of the laity, which in turn has led the clerical culture to turn in on itself and to become even more secretive and protective of its fraternity.

Anyone who would raise a voice within that fraternity is often driven out usually in subbtle fashion and made to look as though they are an aggitator. I remember a priest friend telling me once that a seminarian, (a potential modern day St. Francis), who had sold everything that he owned and given it to the poor before coming to the seminary would never last–and he didn’t. My priest friend’s insight was that guy was too radical for the priesthood.

Since that time, some twenty years ago, good men have been ordained who go into the seminary with advice from holy priests to basically ignore what is taught in the seminary and to say all the right things in interviews. Trying to make the best of a bad situation, I’m not sure what the result of this bandaid approach will be in the long term.

There is need of a great reform, one that follows in the footsteps of St. Francis who heard from Our Lord on the cross, “Rebuild my church which is falling into ruin.” The Church that St. Francis knelt in on that day was literally in ruins, and chances our the church that you pray in is too (although the ruin that is probably present in your church has been destructed not by pagans but by “experts” who have done everything they could to remove not only the presence of Christ from your church but even his image and those of his saints). The nightly news proclaims the message…how will we react? Will we like Francis begin by picking up the stones and placing them on top of one another where we find ourselves? If so like him what we change where we are will eventually change the whole of Christ’s Body.

What can “I” do you might ask?

First, pray. Make sure that your relationship with God is strong. The Church exists to facilitate our relationship with God and unfortunately weak preaching, bad catechetics have had an evil effect on the way we as Catholics live our faith. We need to reclaim our relationship with God and to make that primary in our lives. As the author of Abandonment to Divine Providence wrote, “Without God, everything is nothing. With God, nothing is everything.” A strong relationship with God puts everything in perspective, “we put no trust in mortal princes,” we can face any difficulty and we can speak out boldly.

Secondly, If you are unsatisfied with the way your parish is run. Speak out! If on the other hand you are blessed to have a great priest, a good celebration of the liturgy, a Church that truly fosters your relationship with God, then SPEAK OUT! Whatever the truth be, let it be known.

Thirdly, do not treat anyone on earth as though they are not human. Your parents were human, they made mistakes–honor them! The pope, bishops, priests, deacons, sisters and nuns are all still human–don’t expect them to be God. Their faults and our own constantly bring us to our knees–we need a savior and he is Jesus Christ!

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