How to respond when your priest is arrested for criminal offence?

Extremely painful things happened in my nearby parish.Yesterday(28-2-2017) the parish priest a senior and influential priest in the diocese was arrested for impregnating an young school girl in his parish who delivered a child a few days back.The priest admitted the offence.Live news channels, social media etc are now full of its coverage. Priests are held in high esteem here though other religions are in majority.We feel speechless and ashamed even though the church authorities said that it won’t protect guilty.

What should be our response in such cases? I mean response,to our family members,to the parishioners, to the people of other religions? Don’t go by what one priest did, others are true representative of Christ etc only?

First, lots of prayer. Prayer for the priest, prayer for the girl, and prayer for the parish.

This is very sad. All I can say if people attack the Church for what errant priests do is: these people are going *against *what the Church teaches. We should look to those who *follow *Church teaching to judge the merits of the Church.

Pray for everyone involved. Priests are sinful men, just like the rest of us. That does not discredit Christ or His Church.

Pray for the girl, pray for the baby, pray for your priest (he is still a priest after all)…pray for all involved even the girl and priests family and friends and the parishioners of the parish…a lot of prayer is needed…

But when you hear others using the priests behaviour as an excuse to bash the church or to fall away from the church themselves…remind them if they put their faith in another human then they will most likely be disappointed, because we are all sinners, even priests…tell them that their faith should only be in God, Jesus and the holy spirit,…remind people they should never let the actions of another human cause them to part ways with Gods church,…

I know here in the United States we say they are innocent until proven guilty unfortunately the court of public opinion decides differently because he’s a priest he’s guilty no matter what he does whether he did it or not. Accused does not mean guilty though and I think you should remember that. I will tell you that even if he is guilty that doesn’t disprove the divine claims of the Church, it proves that human beings are sinners. Which is something we already knew.

The OP did say the priest admitted to the offense.

Amen.

I think you can admit to others how horrified you are yourself to find out that a respected priest did something so terrible. By our continued practice of your faith you also witness fidelity to Christ and His Church.

If it comes up, I would just say, “Isn’t that horrible? I’m praying for everyone involved” and then go on your way.

Thanks for the responses all of which in effect advise to pray,to express shock over the incident etc.and to hold that an individual’s wrong action does not in anyway affect our Lord’s teachings and mission which only are to be followed.
Easier said than done!
Such incidences are now coming up more frequently.Today,Times of India (a prominent english news paper ) in their online news says that a priest booked two years back has been charge sheeted for sodomy to face trial now.May be one in thousand, but it is sufficient to damage the trust on other priests as well and to the Church authorities and eventually to Christianity in general.We are the choosen one of God and priests are considered as representatives of Christ.A priest who is preaching to the parishioners about God,about the need to follow his ways,hearing confession,offering mass,working as a representative of Christ suddenly seen arrested by police for a most heinous crime…express a shock and forget it…possible without any permanent scar left in our minds and in the minds of young children of the parish?

Yesterday news channels showed police taking him to the very same church and school premises for evidence managing with difficulty protecting him from the angry crowd which included his parishioners till the other day!
There is now allegation that the church authorities tried to protect him and helped him for escaping abroad.(He was caught on the way of going abroad).This angle is also being investigated by police.
It appears that catholic church need to take some action urgently to ensure that even a single incident involving sexual crime of priests does not occur, instead of just brushing aside such incidences as a minor thing because the damage it makes especially to young people who have got their own methods of getting correct and live information now and need not depend upon adults, is beyond imagination.Let the church take some effective, visual and never before taken steps such as: give a one time option to all priests and even higher ups to exit honourably;prohibit them from meeting or talking to anybody alone ,whatever be the circumstances,Taking confession in the church and that too when others are also present will be the only exception. A vigilance committee consisting of mature elders to be formed to watch and to receive complaints of misbehaviour against,the priest etc.These may appear to be a bit harsh and inappropriate ,but is definitely a 1000 times better than the situation which can arise otherwise as in the present case.

I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. Bear in mind, you aren’t catholic because of the Priest, rather because of the Eucharist. The Church is full of sinners, including the Pope, but we all have one goal, life in Heaven with Jesus. Praying for you!

Explain how even though they are priests, they can still sin. I think they are given extra graces to guard against sin, but they still have the free will to choose sin, even horrible sin if they want. Our faith is not in men like priests but in God, who is perfect. You can also explain how our Catholic doctrines are true, just, and good, but this priest was not able to live up to them. When these things happen people always want to say the Church is supporting sin. It’s important to separate the whole Church from individual sinners within the Church. Even if local clergy supported this man, the overall Church did not. There can be sinners working together within the Church, but what the Church represents overall is God.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.