The last time I completed an essay in this section was just shy of one year ago.

In the intervening time I have worked on the connected blog:

As well, as can be seen by the occasional posting of chapters, completed an autobiographical work.





However I admit each time I tried to write more about being a victim-soul, a holocaust of His Love, one with Him in the Garden, on the Cross, I’d have a recurrence of the PTSD from which I suffer, as do most accused priests, both those actually guilty of the accusation, and especially those of us who have been falsely accused.

This is NOT to elicit some form of pity by turning this into a ‘woe is me’ diatribe, simply to be forthright about my own struggle, which I know from letters received, emails, phone calls, countless priests share.

No, thanks to both intensive spiritual direction and therapy, and yes proper medication, I seem able to resume a normal priestly mission, that is, to be what I am by the gift and mystery of ordination, what all priests are be we serving in ‘public’ ministry, enduring the immense suffering of banishment, imprisonment, illness, isolation in old age, whatever the situation we may be living in, be living, we are in persona Christi.

Some priests because of the way bishops treat the accused have given into discouragement, many to the extreme of suicide.

Others have simply walked away from everything and live as if ordination is something left behind like an old coat.

A few try and fight the bishops in the canonical or civil courts, but as regards the former it is the very judges in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who make the initial judgements in secret who are themselves the court of last appeal, and as regards the latter success there often means an even harsher punishment from the church.

That is why last year in the first of what was promised {do forgive the delay} to be a series of essays I wrote:

                               Many years ago, in the first attempt at this site for hope in the lives of priests, we ran the start of a series urging all priests, in particular those enduring punishment for actual sins/crime as well as those falsely accused, but suffering the same fate nonetheless, to embrace a life of expiation, becoming living oblations, victim-souls, holocausts of love, of Love Himself.

Clearly for all my enthusiasm I had a lot to learn about being a victim-soul, an oblation with Jesus, and admittedly still have a lot to learn, so what is written here and in the essays that follow is written by a mere beginner and a continuous learner.

Perhaps this is time to place again a critical Scripture which sustains the struggle:

                                 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His footsteps. [cf.1Pt.2:21]

It took me a long time to connect those powerful words of St. Peter to the three times in the Stations of the Cross where Jesus falls.

“The brutal experience of our falls and weakness can fling us to the edge of despair. We are strongly tempted to cry out that it is an injustice that God expects too much from us, that our cross is heavier than that of others.”  – Paul Evdokimov

We all know that the first aspect of the Cross with which we have been sealed at Baptism is the implanting deep in our being a yearning to be absolutely one with Jesus the Divine Lover, to daily take up our cross, which includes our very selves and all that happens to us, and follow Him.

Part of the cross of following Him is to embrace the tension of not knowing exactly where He is leading us, though ultimately it is across the threshold of death into the glory of resurrection with Him.

St. John of Kronstadt urges that: “Our duty is to endure, to pray, to humble ourselves, and to love.”

For priests today the greatest, yet most urgent challenge to love, is to follow Christ’s example and truly love and forgive our enemies, known and unknown.

That is key if we are to be what we are, oblation in persona Christi.

While there is an intrinsic moral obligation to struggle for truth and justice, to not simply roll over and allow the system, bishops, anyone, to crush us, for we cannot cooperate with evil, once all that must be done is done and the truth perhaps has been buried, and we with it by some CDF imposed penalty, then the moment of holy abandonment, of absolute surrender, indeed to passionately embrace the cross, to seek to endure, pray, humbly love as one with Christ accused, Christ in agony, Christ abandoned, Christ crucified, is NOW!

Finally, about the image above of a priest celebrating Mass yearning to be in Christ’s embrace:

I find this a powerful image of the agony of longing for restoration of all things to Christ within the Church, the Priesthood, the world today.

It is I believe an image of indomitable hope, endurance, love.