Recent revelations, though not completely surprising, of the high ranking LA cleric covering the tracks of priests’ immoral and criminal behavior, ought to cause us all to stop, think, pray and work for change in the Church. Some bishops and priests in this country have not acted in the manner of the Good Shepherd, have not lived in communion with Jesus Christ and have opened the doors to further disaster with regard to the ordinary faithful. AND “Msgr. Meth” is yet another story.
John Zmirak’s “I’d Like to Visit Cardinal Mahoney in Prison
” should make you stop and think what exactly we have gotten ourselves into when we’ve neglected some very important spiritual and human of our person. Cardinal Roger Mahoney is only the latest to have been exposed for being a bad Catholic.
What comes to mind is an observation from the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola:
The conduct of our enemy may also be compared to the tactics of a leader intent upon seizing and plundering a position he desires. A commander and leader of an army will encamp, explore the fortifications and defenses of the stronghold, and attack at the weakest point. In the same way, the enemy of our human nature investigates from every side all our virtues, theological, cardinal, and moral. Where he finds the defenses of eternal salvation weakest and most deficient, there he attacks and tries to take us by storm.
Blessed John Henry Newman had this to say in a sermon preached on “Be sure your sin will find your out” (Numbers 32:23):
Day and night follow each other not more surely than punishment comes upon sin. Whether the sin is great or little, momentary or habitual, willful or through infirmity, its own peculiar punishment seems, according to the law of nature, to follow –as fas as our experience of that law carries us– sooner or later, lighter or heavier, as the case may be. (“The Moral Consequences of Single Sins,” Parochial and Plain Sermons)
“Msgr Meth” is the moniker that is identifying the behavior of Monsignor Kevin Wallin who has been been widely written about in the media as the cross-dressing, active gay man, sex shop owner and meth-selling priest. A talented man fell victim to his own sin and now faces punishment. Wallin has a history of not belonging to Christ, even in his priesthood, which has caused many to feel betrayed. When Wallin appeared before a federal judge to enter a not guilty plea, Jude Smith said, “My gosh, Father, for your first involvement in the criminal justice system, you picked a real doozy.”
Perhaps these matters of clericalism and neglect of the heart will lead to our own purification, to our greater freedom in Christ, to our conversion, and not to the weakening of the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ by the Church. The failures of the clergy to lead honest lives ought to spark us to live and lead by good example.