Comfort is Killing the Church

Daily Reading & Meditation: Wednesday (October 23)
October 23, 2019
Whatever That Was, It Wasn’t a ‘Stunt’, by Edward Peters
October 23, 2019

By Kevin Wells, Crisis Magazine, October 23, 2019

I saw his collar. It was a sun-splashed late morning and parking spaces were hard to come by for the lunch hour crowd at the Westfield Annapolis Mall in Maryland. For some reason, I squinted into my rearview mirror and saw that the driver trailing was a Catholic priest. Five minutes later, he was five or six customers behind me in a long Chipotle line—without his collar.

“Hey, Father,” I said, talking over the other customers. “Come on up. I’m treating today.” We shared a pleasant, get-to-know-you conversation before placing our orders. When our food arrived, I asked if he wanted to share a meal. He would have loved it, he said, but he had an appointment back at the church. “Maybe sometime I can repay you,” he said with earnestness. “You can, Father,” I said. “Maybe wear your collar the next time you come in here. Guys like me need to see you as priests.”

As the news of Theodore McCarrick’s sins, the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and the stories of homosexual clergy spat hellfire into the summertime stew of 2018, I think many millions of intentional members of the Catholic laity—like me—awaited a reckoning. Waves of dispiritedness came, though, as a sackcloth-and-ashes penitential movement by Church leaders never emerged. A sincere spirit of reflective humility and an offer of full transparency never came, like the dad who stumbles home drunk and refuses to offer words of apology the next day. ….