Tuesday, July 19, 2011

If Night Befalls Your Father, You Don’t Discard Him. You Just Don’t!

by Fr. Gordon J. MacRae on July 20, 2011

scandal in the Catholic Church, Father Paul Archambault, Father John Corapi, The Dark Night of a Soul, American Catholic priests, U.S. Bishops' zero tolerance, Catholic priesthood, administrative leave, sex abuse scandal in the Church, These Stone Walls, Fr. Gordon J. MacRae, Father Corapi, Catholic news, basic civil liberties, laicization, Canon Law, Dallas Charter, Pope John Paul II, defrocking, Ryan MacDonald, Puritan founders of New England, Cardinal Avery Dulles, rights of accused priests, bishop accountability, accused priest, dismissal from the priesthood, Archbishop Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los AngelesThere’s another scandal in the Catholic Church just under the radar. It’s what happens after Father is accused, and it would never happen in your own family.

The first week of July brought dismal news for devoted Catholics already bent under the millstone of scandal. On Independence Day, I turned on New England Cable News to learn that forty-two year old Father Paul Archambault, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield ordained only six years, took his own life. It was heartbreaking, and I know his family must be devastated.

But I fear that far too many in his other family – the Catholic Church – have so steeled themselves against the relentless tide of painful news that such a tragedy is just another news day. That is an even greater tragedy. If you have never read my article, “The Dark Night of a Priestly Soul,” about the suicide of a priest I knew, please do. I wish Father Paul Archambault had read it. It may have helped him to seek another way to deal with whatever immense pain brought him to this horrific act. I have been where he was in the final moments of his life. I wish I could have helped him.

I don’t yet know the source of Fr. Archambault’s unbearable anguish. He died sometime the previous Saturday night after celebrating Mass and then ministering to a family in a hospital emergency room where he was a chaplain.  When he did not show up for his Mass that Sunday morning, someone went in search of him. In between was the darkest night of his own priestly soul. Please, please pray for him.

Some twenty-six American Catholic priests have taken their own lives since priests became a favorite target of the news media, and of Satan himself. I have personally known five of them, and three others who were murdered...

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