This past weekend one of the retired priests was going to his "help out" (That's what you call it when religious priests without a parochial assignment assist at a parish with weekend Masses) and was curious to hear the promised "guest preacher." Unfortunately the guest preacher turned out to be a diocesan official who announced that the pastor--who had already disappeared--was under investigation for using the parish funds to support his gambling habit.
So we have in our area another depressing story of the clergy getting caught while up to no good. How does this happen? How do we priests--who (presumably) teach and preach high ideals day after day--fall into these double lives and get caught in such sinful crimes?
Do we need a reform of the clergy, as has happened at our moments in our Church's history? What's wrong with the Catholic priesthood, with all of its spiritual malaise and reports of low morale?
If, in my very personal and arrogant opinion, I were to hazard a diagnosis of what's wrong with the clergy, I would point to three things right away:
1. We don't say our prayers. Each of us, when we were ordained deacon (or subdeacon if it was before August 1972) promised to observe the Liturgy of the Hours faithfully on behalf of the Church and the world. It has not been my general impression that we take this promise very seriously.
2. We have allowed ourselves to absorb the bourgeois values of the North American upper middle class.
3. We have permitted the culture of the clergy to absorb the values and attitudes of certain decadent subcultures from the surrounding society.
But, as I say, these are only IMAO, "In my arrogant opinion."