There are without a doubt many very good priests and I am not condemning these. But you miss my point. I was taught and devoutly believed priests were very special people, living lives far above that lived by the rest of us. That their sanctification and their life of daily sacrament, prayer and service to God, their holding of the blessed communion in their hands, their ability to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus, their ability to baptize, forgive sins and perform all of the rest of the sacraments made them better than the rest of us. And I do not mean this in any derogatory sense, I believed, by the grace of God, they were better than us.
Turns out the pedophile priests have proven to me that priests are not better than us, they have the same faults, the same weaknesses; they are just regular men. Now, it is not my conclusion alone. The church has stated these men are just human beings, the church has, in part, defended the priesthood by stating priests have a better record than average in not abusing children. With this, the church, in effect, is saying to judge priests by the same standards you judge everyone else.
So, I guess I am painting with a broad brush and lumping all priests together, but not as pedophiles but as men with the same weaknesses and ability to fight theses weaknesses as everyone else. The sacred special status I held them as a child is wrong, they are not the men I was led to believe they were.
If priests who must be awash in grace with their participation in the sacraments on the average of twice daily, with their daily prayer schedule, with their lives dedicated to helping the sick and the poor, haven’t sufficient grace to overcome sin, then why should they be held up as any more “holy” than the average man?
And to answer a previous question as to how the action of these priests calls into question church doctrine (CCC para quoted):
(2549) prevail over the seductions of pleasure and power.
(2018) man turns toward God and away from sin
(2082) What God commands he makes possible by his grace.
(21011) ensures the supernatural quality of our acts
Occasionally we are given the opportunity to test church doctrine against results. I have provided several quotes from the catechism demonstrating one of the major purposes of grace is as an aid against sin. There are many more as well as a multitude of sections defining sacraments and prayer as the major sources of grace. Priests receive the sacraments at least daily. They pray much more than the average Christian. Priests through their ordination and daily life receive far more grace than the average catholic, yet we see it did not help the priests inclined to molest children. If grace doesn’t work for these folks, why should it work for the rest of us?
Also, (CCC 1310). “To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace. One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit.” As a youngster fighting ragging hormones I was occasionally put into the position of not being able to receive communion (and I attended mass at least twice a week (daily during lent)) because of the dreaded mortal sin of teenage boys. There is rarely a big crowd at daily mass, and it is obvious when someone fails to receive communion and so a source of horrible mortification (especially when you happen to be the alter boy!!). And now I find that priests said mass and received communion after having raped little children ((they couldn’t possible have confessed their sins before their next daily mass) and if so, why were they allowed by their confessor to continue priestly duties rather than undergoing the obvious penance? ) How could the confessors and the hierarchy allow pedophile priests to continue with the sacraments when it is impossible they were in the state of grace??? I am convinced the doctrine of the above reference isn’t held to be inviolable.