The following comment appeared in response to the posting on Fr. Thomas Williams. I think it deserves a wider audience, so I’m posting it here separately.
“As a priest, I am terribly saddened by reading most, if not all of these comments. These comments only mirror the lived experience the majority of priests face on a daily basis from many of their parishioners, especially if a parish school is attached to it. (After all, we excel at telling people in life what they are not doing right but often fail to praise.) I don’t presume to know what happens in any one of my parishioner’s homes, just as they don’t know what happens in my office, confessional, sacristy, shopping at Kroger as we can often be confronted by parishioners at times. I don’t make judgments as to even guess what was going on in his life when this happened. Just as I wouldn’t judge any parishioner who fathered a child out of wedlock, broke a marital commitment or brother priest who has fallen from grace. Rather – as Christ would do – help them see the right path as the stones around them plummet to the ground…or in this case hopefully angry words at how someone we trusted with spreading the message of our faith sinned. My sense, most of us are angry that a popular priest, whom we trusted, has again let us down. Yes, it is terribly disappointing to learn he broke his promises. Yes, it is sad that the Catholic Church is once again being dragged through this mess, again. “Celebrity Cleric Collapses to Celibacy” – doesn’t boost those of us in the trenches. But he is human – weak – vulnerable – and I bet lonely; and to that, I can personally relate. Perhaps you can too! I know when I get on my knees this evening before bed, I’ll pray for Fr. Williams and his family. “This I command you: love one another.”