This blog is being written as a notice and warning to priests, clergy and church leaders of all kinds.
You have an incalculable impact on the souls of all people - Catholic and non-Catholic alike. Unfortunately, few of you will read this blog but I put it our there anyway in the hope that it will reach some of you.
The reason for this blog does not arise out of the actions of anyone in this diocese but from an event in a church in another part of this country. However, it does move me to write this blog as I hear so many stories about the good and bad impact of this category of leaders. In this particular instance, a new pastor was assigned to be the pastor at a really solid parish. No sooner does he unpack than he immediately starts making changes of long-standing practices in the parish and even goes to the home of the volunteer, non-paid, head usher and threatens to fire him if he cannot control some of the parishioners. At another parish across country, another pastor comes in and makes dictatorial changes that are offensive to the parishioners. Fortunately, the latter was moved to an administrative, non-pastoral position.
Over the years, we have all heard many stories of offensive actions and statements by people in this category who alienate and offend Catholics and non-Catholics. These cause the non-Catholics not to come forth and the Catholics to leave the faith. So, please, priests, clergy and lay Catholic leaders from all ministries pay attention - you have a great impact on people on a daily basis. And, this impact affects their souls. Here we are evangelizing to retain Catholics, to encourage non-practicing Catholics to regularly practice their faith, and to non-Catholics to participate in our wonderful faith. Don’t undo these good works by acting like a bull in a china shop. Watch what you say as well as do and, certainly, do not gossip or say frivolous things subject to easy misunderstanding. Be the living example of Jesus in all respects with care and understanding in your works and actions. And, be aware of the impact that your words and actions have on anyone who observes and/or listens.
Let me know what you think.
Let the light of our Lord shine upon you!