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PRAYERS URGED AS ASSAULT AGAINST THE 'PASTORS OF FLOCK' CONTINUES TO INTENSIFY
Timely it is that the Vatican has set aside 2009 as the Year of the Priests and has even called for the faithful to sacrifice and offer up sufferings for them. Recently, there was a day of fast. Can you imagine the pressure they are under? Do you pray for your local priest on a daily basis?
There is a poignant line in the original Prayer to the Archangel Michael where, in imploring help for the Church, it says that evil attacks with the strategy that "when the pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered."
In our time, who could deny that the pastors have been struck?
In just the last few days: a priest was stabbed to death in New Jersey, another with nearly two dozen stab wounds was found dead in Chicago, and a priest in the Philippines was killed by Muslim extremists. Right now, another is struggling to survive there amid captors. Last July, a priest was killed by Hindus in India.
They declared the priest in Chicago a suicide. Some said he had been acting strangely. If that's true we can only imagine the powerful force that took over his actions.
Meanwhile, in New England, a priest threw himself off a bridge.
Then there are the scandals, which have not stopped. In Ohio, a priest sits in prison for killing a nun. In Ottawa, a bishop awaits trials for child pornography. In the Diocese of Albany, New York -- which only has 124 active priests (and 94 retired) -- 23 have been dismissed thus far for abuse, with reports of homosexuality among at least a couple who remain serving.
These are the greatest transgressions in the Church since the chastisement of plague in the 1300s and 1400s and show clearly how Satan has inserted himself into the minds of many poor priests (as prophesied) and has infiltrated the sanctuary. Never have Catholics faced more of a challenge. And yet never have they been more faithful in doing so -- despite the constant stream of scandals.
Our Church is under attack. Above is a bar in England that uses an old altar. It is in an Italian restaurant in Rochdale, England, fittingly known as Fallen Angels.
"The altar used to be in the chapel of Notre Dame High School For Girls," notes a viewer named Patricia. "I think the Sisters bought it in around 1905. Anyway, the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur imported the gorgeous altar from Italy at the turn of the 20th Century. As you will see, it is stunningly-made of Italian marble. As a teenager in the 1960s, I used to love creeping into the chapel during breaks and just sitting quietly in the Presence of Jesus.
"From what I can gather, the school closed in the 1970s and the building was torn down. When I learned of what had happened to the altar, I contacted the sisters and was told that they had sold it in good faith to a man claiming to be a broker for a convent in Ireland. I contacted a priest who lives not far from there, and he said that at the time the restaurant was opened, there was a bit of a stink about it in the press but that the diocese could do nothing about it, from what he remembered."
On HBO, a comic skit has a scene in which a man urinates on a picture of Jesus.
But especially there is the assault on men of the cloth.
There is an epidemic of pride among them.
There is a lack of spirituality.
They have been trained to be intellectuals (instead of prayer warriors, healers, and evangelists). When there are claims of the supernatural, the greatest opposition often comes from the local priest -- whose very vocation is founded on miracles.
These are men who by and large are good, highly intelligent, and astonishingly dedicated -- cast into a frothing sea now where in addition to the strain of their duties they have to fend off the notions that others have about them (distrusted even around altar boys).
We have many courageous priests. We have masculine priests. We also have spiritual ones. They need our support. They also need to pray and fast. Can you imagine the trial of being a faithful heterosexual priest in the current climate? Can you imagine the fortitude? Can you imagine the martyrdom?
Pray that they pray; pray that they be humble; pray that they be masculine; and pray that Satan leave the sanctuary -- for prayer can cause any effect and will reveal the manner of solution even in situations that seem to have no exit.
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