Fr. Roger Landry: How to Respond to Prodigal Catholic Public Figures?

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Ary Scheffer, “St. Augustine of Hippo and His Mother St. Monica of Hippo,” 1846 (photo: Public Domain / Public Domain)

COMMENTARY: Where the sins of our prominent Catholic family members abound, as they unhappily do, our prayers must abound all the more, and far more than our criticisms, however just.

By Father Roger Landry, EWTN News, February 6, 2021

Father Roger LandryHow do we respond effectively as Catholics to the tragically too common circumstance of Catholics in prominent positions blatantly betraying the Catholic faith? On the intentional killing of fellow human beings, the truth about the family, the revelation about the human person made in God’s image male or female, and Christ’s personal identification with the hungry, thirsty, sick, naked, imprisoned, migrant or someone otherwise in need?

There is of course no single, concrete, detailed answer applicable in every time and place with every person. As Catholics, truth and love must always be part of our response, since without truth we leave others enslaved and without charity we are just a noisy gong. Prudence is always required to know best what to say, when to say it, and how. The other theological and cardinal virtues — faith in God, hope that people can change, courage to say things out of season, justice with regard to the real harms done, and moderation not to go too far too soon — are always similarly helpful. There is also the indispensable guidance and assistance of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

Because of their prominence, it’s fair to hold Catholics in public life to a higher standard than we would ordinary family members, but the way we treat those we care about can and should indeed help to ensure that we treat others with charity.  …

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