how is it any different that women are not allowed to be priests any different from blacks not being allowed at the lunch counter. it’s social injustice that women are being excommunicated for being ordained when the child sexual abusive priests are only defrocked. not one is excomunicated. i would like to be a catholic but how can i hold my head high with all of these abuses like with the neglect of the children in unwed mothers home in ireland and the protecting the pedophile priests by the church.
Well, the blacks you mention had a right to be served at the counter. No one, no one has a right to be called to the sacramental priesthood. It is God who does the calling; not us. And it is pure gift; no one deserves it.
When St. Faustina was speaking to her confessor, who was also her spiritual director, he asked her if she was seeing Jesus at that moment and she acknowledged that she was. So he asked her to ask Him three questions. She complied and Jesus just smiled at her and said nothing. So she relayed this to the priest who became downcast. Jesus then told her to give the priest some words of comfort. She relayed this and he felt better. But the gift of seeing and speaking with Jesus was a gift that He determined to give to her—not to the priest. He and He alone determines such things.
The purpose of excommunications is to publicly amplify the seriousness of the sinful act or acts for which the excommunication was made. (I think most people recognize the evil of child abuse.) But it is also to urge the person or persons to repentance. When this is accomplished, the excommunication is lifted. It’s difficult now to determine which priests have repented and which have not. They are not likely to call a press conference after they have gone to Confession.
As for the various scandals that the secular press makes the most of, there so many more instances of charity and selfless ministry from priests and religious through the centuries that go unnoticed. As Blessed John Henry Newman used to say, “To know history is to be Catholic.”
But truly, if one has cause to hold one’s head high as a Catholic, it will not be so much from what we mortals do or not do; it will be to acknowledge God’s infinite goodness and the loving mercy He has for us all.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.