Monday, October 8, 2012

The Silence Of The Shepherds

A number of friends contacted me yesterday to tell me that in their parishes the priests saying Mass did not mention that it was the Day for Life, nor referred to the Bishops's letter nor that it was the beginning of a month of prayer for the pro-life cause in Ireland.   Indeed, they tell me, their priests were silent on the issue.  What a disappointment, indeed what a scandal!  As the biggest battle for life is beginning in Ireland, these servants of Christ close their mouths and utter not a word! 

Why were they silent?  Was it the case that they did not know it was the Day for Life?  Are they unaware that the government is contemplating the introduction of abortion?  Do they not know that the Bishops of Ireland have produced what I think is their best Pastoral Letter in years mounting a vigorous defence of the unborn?  Not so: the priests I have been talking to got the letter a couple of weeks ago and we were given enough information to speak on the decision that is facing Ireland now.

Is it a case that this issue is not important?  Or are they afraid?  I personally think my brother priests are afraid.  They fear offending anyone, they are afraid that if they speak out against abortion they will alienate their pro-abortion parishioners and hurt those who have had abortions.  Well, silence is no excuse.  One must be sensitive, of course, to those who have had an abortion, but they must also hear from a priest that abortion is wrong.   In a homily on abortion, as in the letter from the Bishops, one must mention the help that is there for women and how they can access it.  How many church notice boards, I wonder, have a Rachel's Vineyard poster? 

As for offending those Catholics who are pro-abortion - well, they need to be told in no uncertain terms that one cannot be a true Catholic and support abortion - the two are incompatible.  They need to be called to conversion, and if they walk out of the church, let them go: they have made their choice.  Jesus did not run after those who rejected his teaching, neither should we try to pamper those who say it is good or necessary to kill the unborn.

If priests in Ireland remain silent on this issue of abortion, for whatever reason, they are contributing to the pro-abortion lobby's attempts to legalise it.  Priests must now teach the flock, they must speak out from the pulpit and make their parishioners aware of what is happening.  We have to rally behind our Bishops in the battle for life.  

The example of St John of Avila, one of our new Doctors, is badly needed now for our priests: he urged the priests of his time to convert and to proclaim the Gospel without fear; to lead their flocks on the way of holiness.  This is what we have to do in these times. 

If you are a priest who stayed silent yesterday, who did not stand up for the life of the unborn yesterday when you are asked to by the Bishops, then go to confession and add to your penance a reading of St Augustine's sermon to the shepherds, as found in your Office.  And next week, preach on the Bishops's Letter and promote the Choose Life Month.

Lay people, please pray for your priests. 


  1. This is just what the Bishops ought to be saying to their priests who have thus transgressed! Sins of omission can be sometimes much worse than those of commission!

  2. To my knowledge of six churches only 2 spoke on the unborn

  3. as always the holy Fr john hogan hard at work
    a saint in the making

  4. Thankfully in my own Parish which also has a Cistercian Monastery, the Bishops letter was read out. And the Prayer for Life was prayed after Holy Mass this morning in the Monastery I live near, thank God. I am sorry to hear that not all Parishes received this. It is crucial that we speak out for life. So much prayer is needed for our Priests.

  5. It is very sad to see a lack of obedience among our clergy, Christ's representatives here on earth.
    On obvservation, it very much seems that fear of offending parishioners is on the agenda. Fear of this nature does not come from God. God is love and love is truth.

    Let us remember all Priests and religious in our prayers afterall, we are all human beings trying to serve God in our vocations and because of our fallen nature we do have imperfections.

  6. Here is a prayer for priests that we have posted on our blog.

    A prayer for Priests

    Oh most loving Jesus, it was You who first instructed your priests the Apostles and You continue to do so through the Holy Spirit.

    I pray that Your anointed priests will proclaim the closeness of the Kingdom of Heaven and that they will use Your power to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those in need of cleansing and cast out all evil.

    May Your priests be generous in the giving of their time and energy and may they be humble of heart. Grant onto them a spirit of detatchment, poverty and right judgement.

    I pray that Your anointed priests will be received with much love and kindness and that they will be provided for with Your generosity.

    May they be welcomed into homes they visit and where they are not, may their peace return to them.

    I pray that Your anointed priests will have a holy reverence for You, truly present in the Eucharist and that they will serve You with obedience and be loyal to their Pope.

    May You, dear Jesus, always protect and guard them and keep them safe from all temptations and evils. Amen.

    Maria Cantabria

  7. Good homily here from Fr. David Jones..

  8. Ghastly development up north - Marie Stopes opening an abortion clinic in Belfast next Thursday

  9. When will Bishops and priests shed their cowardice and come out leading us in the battle against the child-murdering forces north and South and attempt to save people's souls, especially of those in their immediate care??!! The stones cry out to heaven!!! Lord have mercy! Save us from the scourge of abortion!! But can it be done without our Bishops and priests fighting for us and making it their priority??

  10. Many thanks to Father for his excellent blog. If some priests are fearful or are too influenced by human respect, the Bishops' leaflet and month-long prayer campaign should allow us, the laity, the "foot in the door" we need to encourage our priests to come out strong for life.