My friend Fr. Tim Finigan, the great P.P. of Blackfen, etc., has posted a letter from the Vocations Director of the Archdiocese of Southwark, Fr. Stephen Langridge to the seminarians of same, in the wake of the problems that are out about Card. O’Brien. Moral is low. Fr. Langridge responds thusly:
How would we react if we were to discover that our father was committing adultery? I am sure there would be a range of emotions including anger, confusion and great sadness. But would we blame our mother? No. We would cling to her more closely. We would try to console her by the warmth of our love. We would stick with her. When the Church has been wronged by one of her members it should evoke within us a desire for reparation and a determination to respond with greater fidelity. Our fidelity is shown in little things: in getting up on time, in doing a day’s work, in looking after our prayer, in our service of our neighbour, in our determination to turn away from sin.
This isn’t a time to get disheartened. It is a time to be more faithful. That is what the Lord is asking of you today. Please be assured that I am praying for you.
First, Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Langridge. Well done.
Next, it may be that some of the men who are in formation there and elsewhere have indeed had to deal with “infidelity” of parents… in the sense of divorce and remarriage without declarations of nullity. This is not to say that parents might not be true to the union they are in at the moment.
We are men and women of our age. We are shaped by the age we live in. The age includes no-fault divorce and an decreasing sense of commitment to something long-term.
The experience of parents who have marital problems and then divorce and then remarriage, the experience of prelates who have problems (that bishop’s ring was in the ancient church a sign of being espoused to their diocese, not to all dioceses), could take the heart out of a seminarian.
But actual graces are offered.
Stand firm, men. We’ve got your six.
Keep calm and carry on.
Thousands of readers of this blog, here and now, will stop and pray for you…. here and NOW:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.