Wednesday, April 21, 2010

By Father Edward B. Connolly

A parishioner (I am not including his name) sent me an email on a certain matter (not relevant to general interest). As a kind of postscript, he added the following words:

…….On another note, I was saddened yesterday however, when I got my taxes done and my accountant said that he no longer goes to church because of everything that has gone on with the priests. I didn't know what to say other than I invited him to our parish and that I liked you as our priest because you are a down to earth person who is easy to talk to.

I appreciated his kind words, but felt frustrated at what he said about his accountant. So, I pounded out the following email to him. I thought it might be relevant to the general interest. So, I am including it in the bulletin.

Dear XXXX:

This kind of thing saddens me. What saddens me most of all is this: I suspect that many people think that priests who have NOT been implicated in any of these scandals were, nevertheless, “in the know” about these things when they were going on and just chose to turn a blind eye towards them.

I can speak only for myself. The absolute truth is this: I spent five years in the seminary (1961 to 1966). There were about 150 of us men, ages mostly 20 to 35, with a small scattering of “old guys” ages 35 to 50. I was age 23 to 28 at the time. We lived at close quarters. For the first four years I was in the seminary, I shared a room with one or two other guys. For the final year I had my own room. As it is in the military, we shared bathrooms and showers.

I can honestly say that, in the five years I spent in the seminary, I never witnessed nor did I even hear about even one single instance of any weird or deviant or homosexual activity or behavior of any sort. No dirty language or insinuations or sexual jokes either! It was absolutely the furthest thing from my mind.

I can only presume that it was the furthest thing from the minds of my fellow seminarians. My brother, Frank Connolly, spent eight years in the seminary (1951 to 1959). (He attended a different seminary.)

He told me a lot of stories and “stuff” about seminary life. Never once did he tell me about anything even vaguely like homosexual activity in his seminary.

Frank was an excellent “big brother”. I’m sure he would have told me something if there was something to tell.

I am telling you this (and maybe you would want to pass it on to your accountant) because I think people should know that, when “the scandals” broke, they were as much of a shock to me (and to other priests) as they were to laypersons.

We are going through a period of purification in the clergy.

The Lord has been “trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored”. Tell your accountant that, by boycotting the Church, he is playing into the hands of the Enemy. Satan is delighted when he succeeds in getting people cynical about the Church. The vast majority of priests in the Catholic Church are dedicated to chastity. We do not preach one thing and live another.

1 comment:

Terry Nelson said...

I know priests who have said exactly the same thing. I believe it. While I was in the monastery I never ever noticed anything either - such thoughts never crossed my mind - years later I only found out about what was going on around me from former monks and those I remained in contact with. Our Lord guards a soul even in the worst circumstances. I'm not implying anything went on in this priest's seminary - I'm just saying one can be oblivious to such things.