We learned of the allegations against Fr. Flores at our local Latin rite parish, at the end of Mass, and we were just gobsmacked in disgust and bewilderment. Last week, before I learned of this, I was in a discussion about priests and them not understanding women and children and family life, thinking of a particular homily Fr. Flores said that showed zero understanding of the disabled or families with children, and then this matter came to light. SIGH. Finding myself, yet again, trying to explain these situations that I am tired of explaining.
I have been reassured that seminaries are vetting such matters so much better when I asked how are parents supposed to trust our children at convents and seminaries, thinking of the orgies my uncle witnessed at Spring Hill College in the 1960s and he withdrew asap…this priest is a young priest…what are we supposed to do? This is the fourth? priest in 4 parishes who has engaged in such behavior at parishes we have attended in the last 18 years–and they were all younger priests. The formation problems have not been resolved–apparently, one of the priests at his seminary agrees there needs to be major reform. The seminaries are NOT doing their jobs–but the question is– can they?! How am I supposed to explain, yet again, to my children and try to comprehend this evil!
This is why we need married or widowers as priests you know, like the original 11. Old enough to have figured yourself out, have a wife to guide and support you in the realm of women and children, and old enough to stand up to sin when you see it. Old enough to have the wisdom the young need, to counsel through the ins and outs of life. The Rock the Church was built on was St. Peter, a married (possibly widower, but St. Clement said married, and either way, he had a wife!) fisherman, accustomed to constant hard work and intimately aware of the family life and knew how to preach on it, with the wisdom of his wife and children and his mother-in-law. That’s the Rock.
Also, he was directly counseled by Our Lady: the daughter, the virgin, the cousin, the wife, the mother, the widow–the spectrum of woman’s experience, including as well the wives of the apostles (why are they denied?) and other female relatives and friends. Are pastors and bishops and the Pope listening to women representing the fullness of the female experience and directly referencing their voices when they consider the implementation of policies, disciplines, and doctrine? (Hint: largely, NO.)
I think women being priests is as ridiculous as men being nuns, but I do think it should be a requirement for such visible counsel, as it is directly mirroring what the Church had, from the beginning–the Church is the Bride of Christ, not the Groom. And from the Beginning, before the Fall even, God said it was NOT good for the man to be alone. If a priest is truly a celibate, he should be required to have his mother (and father) live with him in the rectory or another female relative and her family. You know, like Jesus did? If He chose to need it, why do we think priests, who are supposed to act in the person of Christ, do not?
And, yes, of course, I am praying for everyone involved–St. Mary’s pastor Father Wilson was breaking down in tears and shaking horribly when he bravely told us from the pulpit–versus NEVER telling us like in other parishes. Pray for him and for all the priests who are having to deal with this. He has consistently encouraged everyone to call the police right away if they have been victims of abuse and has signs up everywhere with that information and with the phone numbers–his leadership should be modeled by anyone who runs any organization with children.
My late husband wrote this 8 years ago with similar thoughts.