Have you ever considered a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Entering the priesthood in troubling times

This spring and summer, 440 men are scheduled to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders and become priests. What should be a joyous time has been marred somewhat by the ongoing coverage of the clergy sex abuse crisis.

The Washington Post recently published a story about seminarians at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. After six years of study, 24 will join the ranks of priests this year. Here's an excerpt from the May 14 story:

Six years ago, when most of this year's class arrived, the church was reeling from hundreds of abuse cases emerging across the United States. Now, just as they were preparing to leave for ordination, the church was once again mired in scandal.

They'd already experienced some of the far-reaching consequences of the sex abuse crisis. Getting into seminary had required a battery of psychological tests, long interviews and background checks.

"In the last six years alone, I've been fingerprinted four times," said Mick Kelly, a 32-year-old former philosophy student who will be ordained next month in the Arlington Diocese. "That's more than some criminals out there get."

After he entered the seminary, one of Kelly's friends asked him: "How can you join an institution as corrupt as the Catholic Church?"

When he began wearing a clerical black robe and white collar four years ago, he noticed the stares he'd get from people. Some would look away.

"You try not to be defensive, to explain as best you can," he said. "It hurts. The world sees these abuse cases and judges the church as a whole, all its priests and all its work by the action of these few people. But it's not the priesthood I grew up with. The one I know and love."

Click HERE to read the entire story.



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