One of the many ripple effects of the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church is that the best and brightest young men are no longer flocking to the priesthood. To be sure, there are many reasons why a calling to ordained ministry seems less attractive than it once did. But the shortage of priests and the unintended consequence of having less competent men heading up parishes falls most heavily on the faithful, the people still trying to make membership in a parish work.
A young college student in Michigan committed suicide, and his devout grieving family arranged for a funeral mass in their home parish. There, the priest drew from old Catholic teaching around suicide to raise doubts, during the homily at mass, about whether God would forgive the young man for the grave sin of taking his life and grant him access to heaven. The boy’s father actually got up during the homily, walked to the pulpit and asked the priest to stop speaking — which he did not. At the end of the mass, the family told the priest he was not welcome at the graveside burial.
The family has asked that the priest be removed from his position, which the Diocese declines to do — although the priest will receive counseling and supervision, and an apology was offered. I feel quite sure, given the paucity of ordained men, that the Diocese has no one to put in this person’s place.
Losing a beloved child has to be one of the most difficult of life’s tragedies. Devout people in that situation turn to their clergy person for comfort and assurance, not judgmental medieval nonsense.
There aren’t a lot of positive stories coming out of Catholic Church membership these days, although I’m sure there are parishes where faith is nurtured and supported by competent and empathetic clergy. If this family feels a connection to their parish they will probably try to stay, although I can’t imagine sitting in the pews and listening to this moron opine from the pulpit Sunday after Sunday.