19 August – St. John Eudes: “Bad priests are a sign of God’s anger”

Today is the Feast of St. John Eudes, a great saint of the 17th c.  A great missionary. He was a promoter of devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and spiritual writer. Canonized in 1920’s, he has a gigantic statue in a niche in Saint Peter’s Basilica.  He founded the “Eudist” fathers.

I have posted this from St. John Eudes before, from The Priest: His Dignity and Obligations

On bad priests…

Bad priests are a sign of God’s anger

The most evident mark of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clerics who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds. Instead of nourishing those committed to their care, they rend and devour them brutally. Instead of leading their people to God, they drag Christian souls into hell in their train. Instead of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, they are its innocuous poison and its murky darkness. St. Gregory the Great says that priests and pastors will stand condemned before God as the murderers of any souls lost through neglect or silence….

When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people, and is visiting His most dreadful anger upon them. That is why He cries unceasingly to Christians, “Return, 0 ye revolting children . . . and I will give you pastors according to my own heart” (Jer. 3, 14-15). Thus, irregularities in the lives of priests constitute a scourge visited upon the people in consequence of sin.

A good priest…

He is an ever burning and shining light set in the candelabra of Mother Church, burning before God and shining before men: burning in his own love for God, shining by his charity for his fellow man; burning with the perfection of his inner life, shining by the perfection of his exterior deportment; burning in fervent prayer for his people, shining by his preaching of the word of God. The priest is a sun cheering the world by his presence and bearing. He brings heavenly blessings into every heart. He dispels the ignorance and darkness of error and radiates on every side bright beams of celestial light. He extinguishes sin and gives life and grace to the multitudes. He imparts new life to the weak, inflames the lukewarm, fires more ardently those who are aglow with the sacred flame of divine love. He is an angel purifying, illuminating and perfecting the souls that God has entrusted to him. He is a seraph sent by God to teach men the science of salvation which is concerned only with knowing and loving Almighty God and His Divine Son, Jesus Christ. The priest is an archangel and a prince of the heavenly militia, waging constant war against the devil who strives to drag countless souls into the depths of hell. He is the real father of the children of God, with a heart filled with love which is truly paternal. That love urges him to work unceasingly to nourish his flock with the bread U the sacred word and of the sacraments, to clothe the faithful with Christ and the Holy Ghost, to enrich them with celestial blessings and to secure for them every possible assistance in the salvation of their souls. …

He is a captain in the mighty army of God, always ready to battle for the glory of God and the defense of Holy Mother Church. He is ever prepared to lay siege to the world, the flesh and the devil. For him the conquest of kingdoms means only the salvation of souls for each soul is a kingdom more precious than all the empires of the world.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Priests and Priesthood, Saints: Stories & Symbols and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Comments

  1. Ivan says:

    Also St. Vincent Ferrer says that when God wants to punish people for their sins, He first let the priests fall.
    Good priests are like the stronghold that protect the people from God’s punishment. In order for the people to be punished, walls are the first what He will let fall down.

    In this way St. Vincent Ferreri explains that in his famous sermon De fine mundi:

    “Sed hic oritur quaestio scilicet utrum tantum propter peccata clericorum Deus hoc permittet. Et dico quod non, imo etiam propter peccata populi. Et ut intelligatis, exemplum dabo tale.
    Nam sit una civitas bene murata et habeat circumqunque turres pro defensione sua, efficiaturque civitas illa rebellis contra regem suum. Unde rex ponit tendiculas circumquaque contra civitatem et parat bombardas suas et alia artificia et aedificia ad habendam illam civitatem. Dicatis mihi ubi rex primo incipiet percutere cum bombardis, vel ad populum vel ad turres et muros primo incipiet bombardare? Et quam culpam habent turres et muri quod sic debeant corruere? Certe quia protegant populum rebellem contra regem suum. Ideo ut faciet iustitiam de populo suo, habet primo destruere turres et muros.
    Ita vult Deus facere de populo suo huius mundi, quia rebellis est contra eum propter peccata, ut dixi, quia nullus vult se emendare.”

    “But here comes the question: does this God allow only because of the sins of the clergy, and I say no, but also because of the sins of the people. To understand this, I give you this example.

    Let’s say that one city is well fortified and have towers for its defense and that city has rebelled against its king. So the king has set up catapults around the city and prepared them and other combat devices and tools to take that city over. Tell me, where the king will first start hitting the bombs, whether to the people or will he first begin to bombard the towers and walls? And what kind of guilt do the towers and walls have to fall? Surely, because they protect the people who rebelled against their king. Therefore, in order to do justice to his people, the towers and walls must first be destroyed.
    God wants to do that way with his people in this world, because they rebelled against him with their sins, as I said, because no one wants to repent.”

  2. Pingback: A Message to Every Good Priest | Catholicism Pure & Simple

  3. prayfatima says:

    “For him the conquest of kingdoms means only the salvation of souls for each soul is a kingdom more precious than all the empires of the world.”

    The entire description of a good priest is very beautiful. A good priest is like a breath of fresh air. What a gift from God a single good priest is! Always concerned about the salvation of souls, providing the sacraments and not too much more. A good priest doesn’t try to be liked by anyone, but is responsible, respectable, has virtue and enough knowledge to properly care for souls. I have known a couple of these good priests and for the good they have imparted to me, I am eternally grateful and I pray that they are very happy in Heaven. As for the bad priests, I have nothing to say about them. What is there to say really? They are ignorant, lacking in virtue and ultimately they have no business caring for souls. God will deal with them.

  4. excalibur says:

    What is Catholic Charities then?

  5. richdel says:

    St. John Eudes is also a Doctor of the Church.

    [No. Not yet.]

  6. cathgrl says:

    richdel,

    When did St. John Eudes officially become a Doctor of the Church? I only see that there is currently an effort to make him one.

  7. Simon_GNR says:

    For priests it’s more important to be good than to be nice, and to be popular with everyone. I recognise as good priests several whom I’ve known over the years but didn’t particularly like as men. It’s important to listen to and learn from the teaching and preaching of sound, orthodox priests, even if one doesn’t warm to them personally. I can remember one or two schoolteachers whom I didn’t like, but I remember what they taught me because they were good teachers.

    On the other hand, one priest, who at the time I knew him as a university lecturer in philosophy, seemed like a lovely, friendly and very intelligent man, turned out many years later to have been a child sex abuser as a younger priest and had been moved on from parish work as was the way back in the late 1960’s. The thinking seemed to be that as his deviancy involved young boys he would be quite safe as a resident chaplain to a house of elderly nuns and as a university teacher and scholar. About 2000 his past caught up with him and he was charged, found guilty and jailed for his crimes. But I stress, when I knew him in the mid-1980’s he seemed such a nice, good-natured fellow. Appearances can be very deceptive. “Uncle Ted” McCarrick perhaps seemed to most people to be a kind and friendly older man.

  8. TonyO says:

    The most evident mark of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clerics who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds.

    Then we must have angered God very greatly indeed, to have gotten the priesthood we have now (present company excepted, of course.)

    Also St. Vincent Ferrer says that when God wants to punish people for their sins, He first let the priests fall.

    Good priests are like the stronghold that protect the people from God’s punishment. In order for the people to be punished, walls are the first what He will let fall down.

    I see the sense of that, Ivan, but it leaves us with a question: why did the people fall, first, if they had good priests to protect them – i.e. good priests not only protect “from God’s punishment” but also from attacks by the devil. If we had good priests, why did we go astray at the behest of the devil?

    Looking historically, within the Catholic Church – at least, in the US – I cannot see any specific and clear signs of a truly degraded Catholic laity before the 1950s, and yet the Catholic priesthood was already, by then, starting to run off toward Modernism and its many-headed hydra heresies – which we discovered by the truly oddball ideas popping out of the priesthood in the 1960’s and 70’s by priests who had been in seminaries in the 1950s. Admittedly, there was a pretty large “jump into the pool” movement by Catholics by the late 1960’s to grab onto contraception, and then the full-fledged sexual revolution, but my sense is that even there the Catholic laity was actually behind the permissiveness of bad priests by several years: the 1967 Land O’Lakes statement and theology faculties’ rejecting Humanae Vitae was considerably in front of typical laity attitude about the issue.

    As far as I can tell, the seminaries and the religious orders were playing with fire (i.e. Modernism) at least by the 1930’s, and did so apparently completely ignoring Pius X’s admonishment against Modernism and Leo XIII’s requirement that they teach Thomism. For example, if the Jesuits had been up to par in the 1930’s, they would have suppressed the efforts Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, but they did nothing to restrain him (Rome did, but it was ineffective). Actually, if they had been up to par, de Chardin would have been properly formed in the 1890’s and 1900’s, preventing his acquiring a Modernist philosophy – or they would have kicked him out before he became a priest. The Jesuits were hardly alone: some parts of the Franciscan family, and others, were as bad.

  9. IaninEngland says:

    @ TonyO:
    Of course, you realise that God doesn’t do time and, moreover, we don’t go from having good priests to having bad priests overnight.
    It’s a slow, painstaking process; just like an orthodox, Godly priest, it takes some years training to produce an unorthodox, unGodly priest. So, I rather think God allowed these bad priests to train for their corrupt activities over a number of years so that they would be ready and in place for the 1960s, the groundwork having been laid down by TdeC et al. In other words, once the laity was ready to adopt the ways of modernism and all the rest of the rubbish, modernist priests were in place to give the laity the nod and to encourage the break with the Church’s teaching.
    You have some good points about the SJs and the others not being up to par, but God’s ineffable plans nevertheless come to fruition. And, after all, He is in control.
    In the meantime, pray for and support the orthodox priests and laity you know and pray for the conversion of the modernists you know.

  10. Pingback: 21 August 2021 – Dark Brightness

  11. JonPatrick says:

    I think the change in the people came first. The 18th and 19th centuries saw sweeping changes in people’s lives – the Industrial Revolution resulting in people leaving the farm for the city, women working outside the home, the increased standard of living and a growing faith in man’s ability to shape his environment through science and technology. Faith became weakened and Cstholicism became more of a cultural thing. Holy families beget holy priests and vice versa.

Comments are closed.