Handling ‘errant’ clerics
Ramon J. Farolan’s article “A priest, married and hurting” (Opinion, 10/15/18) is becoming a common story. But it’s not easy to sweep the offense against celibacy under the rug and let the offending cleric continue with ministry. As a Catholic, here are my suggestions on how to prevent these offenses:
1) Go back to the spiritual, ascetical roots of seminary formation. The most important aspect of a priest or seminarian’s life is prayer. Sadly, many seminaries focus excessively on “social justice” and “community outreach” instead of spiritual warfare and building virtues which are essential to fight temptations.
2) Remove lax/bad seminary formators. Many of them teach heretical ideas and immoral practices. In the book, “The Eucharist: the Heart of the Priesthood,” Fr. Bing Arellano told the story of a seminarian who lost his vocation because his priest-formators advised them to “gather as much sexual experience as they can” before ordination. That is downright disgusting. In America it is even worse, with immoral seminaries becoming breeding grounds for sexual predators.
3) Farolan is right that there should be mechanisms to allow errant priests to return, but it would have to be on a case-to-case basis, depending on how repentant the priest is and the circumstances surrounding his offense. Those who molested, committed adultery, or covered up abuse do not deserve reinstatement.
I hope our bishops read this and start doing something. The Church, which is Christ’s bride, is hurting as well.
GERARD BIAGAN, Cebu City, firstname.lastname@example.org
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