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When the Church Disappoints

Why do some priests turn their back on God? Why do they ignore the flocks they were given to tend? Why do they hurt people? Why do bishops ignore what is happening in their dioceses?

For some, these questions are apocryphal. For others, there's no point in asking or answering them because they believe that the churches are inherently corrupt. For a third group, these questions and the actions behind them are simply a recognition that people are sinful and that there never will be a perfect diaconal, presbyteral, or episcopal class.

As is almost always the case, though, the answer to all of this lies along a different plane. On top of the lack of healthy, properly-informed, mature discernment taking place at all levels of society and the church, there is a far more dangerous and deceptive course that has gripped us in the modern era.

If you look at seminary training, continuing education for priests and deacons (when they exist), and programs for lay spiritual development: there is a dearth of serious teaching in time-tested meditative techniques that ACTUALLY bring people to a new understanding of God, self and others. Keep in mind that this not a jejune call to pray away all things practically and concretely destructive. But this is an earnest reflection on the shocking lack of the one thing that should mark are churches everywhere: deep prayer.

Churches get fixated on the administrative, financial, ministerial, and social aspects of church life instead of teaching people how to be in deeper union with God. Even in monasteries where liturgical practice is expected and encouraged multiple times per day, these services can give the participant the sense that 'prayer is done for the day' and I don't have to find time for the prayer that comes from silence.

Priests will continue to demean, destroy and degrade their people everywhere unless they learn how to seek union with God. Period.


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