Monday, August 1, 2016

OPEN LETTER TO PRIESTS ON GUAM

(Posted by Glaucon Jr)

My dear fathers in the Faith,

Coming on the heels of many years of pastoral murkiness and bullying, we the laity see the need for a great renewal in the Church on Guam, and so this letter is written in that spirit of renewal needed by every single one of us.

As our pastors and confessors, you are the men whom God has called to serve in Holy Mother Church to make the sacramental and pastoral life a reality. Without you, it is impossible. Such is the dignity of your vocation.

As the flock entrusted to your care, we count on you to make the sacraments present for us, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation. You are revered by us and loved by us, for you truly are “other Christs” and you act in persona Christi.  Because of that relationship--that bond of love between Christ and ourselves-- I must speak to you now. This is in no way a condemnation, but rather an adjuration grounded in and inseparable from your vocation. So it is in the name of these two sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession that I appeal to you in hopes even one of you might hear.



Everything taking place right now on Guam creates a terrible tension: as priests, you are bound to obedience to your bishop, but as priests, you are also bound to your flock whose salvation is in great measure in your hands. When each are whole and incorrupt, these two are not opposed in themselves and never can be, particularly since you operate as priests in service to the bishop. Thus, if such a tension exists, then one of these two marks is clearly dissonant and therefore contrary to peace of Christ.

And  the peace of Christ is precisely what is at issue. Reconciliation is expected, demanded, and desired on Guam. But these expectations, demands, and desires are mere abstractions at this point because of a very real breakdown in the clergy, begun by the bishop but continued by his priests.

How is it that reconciliation has lost its meaning among so many men who offer the very Sacrament of Reconciliation? Even a silly man such as myself sees the five distinctive names of the sacrament in the Catechism: conversion, penance, confession, forgiveness, reconciliation. Yet, how can there be reconciliation without the penance or confession?

And of the necessary requirements of contrition, confession, and satisfaction: where are these being extended to the victims of Apuron and the victims of the threats made by your brother priests in the Chancery and in the name of the Ordinary? Yet, you say you stand on reconciliation. How is this ever possible without these three?

As priests, most would say you need no help from me or any other layman as to the meaning of Reconciliation, the Eucharist, or the other sacraments. That is, however, dangerous on your part to dismiss outright this plainspoken admonition by one loyal and devoted to you. Your collective action, or rather inaction, indicates that so many of you are in dire need of being renewed in the sacramental reality and its subtle yet blinding glory that I may and must myself presume to call you to it rather than the other way around.

I do rejoice as do all the laity that you embraced the vocation of priest to offer sacrifice on behalf of the people to God, and many others and I pray for you often. But like priests of the Old Testament, so many of you have fallen lax in your priesthood. Where scandal does not happen to reign, there we keep seeing ennui and sloth. As Bishop Sheen often said, it is when priests fall away from the Eucharist that they begin to lose their love for the Lord, if not their vocation. 

Please return to the Eucharist, to Adoration—not just to a willingness, but to the desire to be transformed in the Real Presence. More than that, call US back! Lead US back to where the Lord most truly is on earth, and teach us again of faithfulness to our Crucified Lord. With us and for us, recover the strength of the Faith that you once possessed as priests before you faltered. 

This faltering is the only explanation I have for your collective loss of the spirit of prophet-hood—that call to speak the Truth boldly in the Holy Spirit, with a loving fearlessness, with a zeal for Christ that gathers the multitudes to the feet of the Lord. But because of the softness of your spirit and the desire to avoid that which is arduous for the sake of the easy and pleasant (which Aquinas calls moral effeminacy), then laymen such as I must speak out in your stead. 

A poor, sinful man with no claim to any authority should never presume to take it upon himself to shout the Truth from the rooftops, not just FOR the priests and the bishops, but AT the priests and bishops.

I am no prophet, no priest, no teacher. I’m just a man who loves the Lord and His Holy Church. Who am I to preach or teach anyone, much less the clergy?

But you leave us—all of us laity—no choice. Would not the stones themselves bear witness against us for our cowardice, our rejection of the mercy of Christ for those crushed by lust, power, and malice, all for the sake of comfort? Your lack of willingness to engage in works of genuine mercy in the name of protecting the status quo compels us to be bold where you are timid, to be just where you are indifferent, to sob where you shrug your shoulders, to enter the fray where you cower.

You all know that when Christ our God was questioned about eating with sinners, He responded, “Go and learn the meaning of the saying ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’”  Some priests assert the sacraments but are detached from those who need them; others are with the people, but have abandoned the sacraments in all but name. Yet, on the whole, our priests seem to have abandoned both, and leave it to the sheep to herd themselves while you stand by, hoping wolves don’t do too much harm.

You present yourself as truly believing that by making peace with the wolves, the flock will be safe. That by reconciling with predators, all may recline at table in peace and security. But that is not the case until the End of the Age. All the rest of this looks to us like being ok with a continuing corruption in the Body of Christ.

No, it is not reconciliation that is being demanded of the laity; it is acquiescence to sin and the requirement to silently bear the corruption of the Faith in the name of the Faith. And that is something that can never ever stand.

Where is your faithfulness, O you priests bought for a price? Didn’t our Lord warn what happens to salt that loses its savor?

You who are called to the highest vocation: you bear the indelible mark of the priesthood in your very person. Then act like it. Show forth the love of Christ. Show the holiness of Christ in all you do. Be the instruments of grace to bring about the conversion of the lukewarm. Yet, if you yourselves are lukewarm, how is such a thing possible?

They say hypocrites say but do not do. Most of you cannot even be called hypocrites since you lack the basic courage even to speak. Therefore, others and I will stand up and speak with that boldness born of the love of Christ until the day comes that you gird your loins, put aside ambitions or comforts or fear or whatever else hobbles you, and renew the fight for the salvation of souls

We do not condemn you, whatever your state of soul. We know the priests on Guam have suffered under the previous ecclesial regime, and many feel brow-beaten. And we are with you because we love you. But because of that love, you will be held accountable from here on out by us who so greatly rely on you for spiritual sustenance, both sacramental and pastoral. If you lose your faith and your courage, what are the rest of us to do?

We will continue to pray for you, and may the faithful laity fast one day per week for you and the renewal of all priests. I wish you all peace in Christ our God.

Your faithful son in Christ,

Glaucon Jr (confirmed Augustine) Aristos







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