The letter is impressive.
Among the things which impressed me the most were the following points.
1) He mentioned “the raw ambition” of some, and behavior on the part of Church leaders that he described as “despicable, reprehensible, and absolutely unbecoming of a man of God.”
2) He was inspired by the “purity of motivation, their great love for Christ and his church” on the part of his seminarians.
3) Along with all the consultation, review, blah, blah, he has asked the priests and people to “engage in prayer, penance and adoration as an act of reparation for sins against chastity and the reverence due to the Blessed Sacrament, in accordance with our Lady’s wishes.”
4) He earnestly implores everyone to pray the rosary daily and as a family at least once a week; practice Friday penance by abstaining from eating meat and one other additional act of fasting; spending one hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament at least once a week.”
Note the emphasis on reparation.
Fr. Z kudos to Archbp. Cordileone.
He really got my attention when he brought up ambition.
I can understand and have a lot of sympathy for a lot of sins that priests commit. Priests are human beings and they have weaknesses like everyone else. Also, some sins are worse than others. Mere sins of the flesh, in the normal course of things (not the twisted behavior of those who also exert power over a potential target), are not as horrid as certain other sins of the spirit. Sins of the flesh are enough, of course, to kill the life of grace in the soul, but they are still on the low end of the scale. Ambition, however, clerical ambition is one that I have struggle even to forgive. Ambition is twisted and it twists men to the point that they will do just about anything to anyone to get ahead, no matter what it costs other people who are perceived as being “in their way”. I have the knife scars in my ecclesiastical back to prove it.
Rare and rare and rarer yet is the man who wants to advance because he, in humility, recognizes that he has skill and he wants to use them truly to serve. I’ve known only two.
O Lord, how I loathe clerical ambition! Those who burn with “scarlet fever” merit the deepest cinders of Hell. Queen of the Clergy, help us.