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THE CRISIS IN THE CHURCH IS, AT HEART, A SPIRITUAL CRISIS.

THE CORRUPTION AND ABUSE WE SEE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ARE SYMPTOMS OF A DEEPER CRISIS.

THAT DEEPER CRISIS IS A SPIRITUAL CRISIS.

THE KERNAL OF THAT CRISIS IS THAT POPE’S, CARDINALS, BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS DO NOT BELIEVE AND DO NOT PRAY.

How long is it since you popped into your local church and found the parish priest or curate praying before the Tabernacle?

How long is it since you went into your cathedral and found the Bishop or archbishop in private prayer?

How long is it since you were walking past a church or cathedral and spotted the priest or bishop walking around the grounds reading his Breviary?

How long is it since you saw a priest or religious on a bus fingerings a Rosary beads?

How long is it since you saw a Bishop or priest in the Confessional queue?

A priest who truly believes and prays does not give into a desire to have sex with a child!

A Bishop who truly believes and prays does not cover up child abuse and refuse to meet victims!

A seminarians who truly believes and prays does not have promiscuous sex with fellow seminarians!

A priest who truly believes and prays does not have sex on an altar with a seminarian!

A priest or religious who truly believes and prays does not go to saunas.

A priest who truly believes and prays does not show his genetalia on social media!

A bishop who truly believes and prays does not issue a press statement that lies about a missing priest.

A priest who truly believes and prays does not make a parishioner pregnant and go out for dinner and drinks while the parishioner is having a miscarriage in her bathroom!

A bishop who truly believes and prays does not spend millions on his house!

A priest who truly believes and prays does not bully parishioners and fellow clergy!

A bishop or priest who truly believes and prays does not regard himself superior to anyone but thinks and acts like a servant of all!

A Bishop who truly believes and prays does not have favourites who he promotes and non favourites who he dumps on!

A pope, bishop or priest who truly believes and prays does not call any person or group seriously disordered!

A bishop or priest who truly believes and prays does not abuse or rape nuns!

Don’t get me wrong. We all have all kinds of temptations, desires and sin in our lives. We are the frailest of the frail.

But when we truly believe and pray we can have the grace and strength to say NO to what is wrong and YES to what is right.

Being able to say NO to oneself is an ability that comes from a very strong Gospel based faith in God and Jesus and the practice of strong daily prayer – even, and especially when we find prayer difficult or – let’s call it as it is – tedious and boring.

Sadly many bishops and priests are either atheists or cynical agnostics.

I have had the experience of travelling in a car with a priest and asking him to read Morning or Evening prayer for me – and the priest refusing.

I have listened to priests telling me they were atheists and are staying in the priesthood because they have no other option.

How can a man like that communicate a sincere spirituality to others?

Nemo dat quod non habet. You cannot give what to do not have.

This has all come about because men, over the centuries, have taken the Kingdom of God that Jesus left and turned it in to a worldwide international conglomerate. Roman Catholic Incorporated.

Jesus promised that He would never abandon the church.

But He never promised that the church would not abandon Him!

When we cease to believe passionately and put that passionate belief into daily action, we abandon Jesus Christ.

When we cease to pray tirelessly and simply become institutional operatives we abandon Jesus Christ.

And that’s why the crisis in the Church is at root, a spiritual crisis – a loss of Gospel centred faith and a loss of perseverance in prayer.

One time an Irish Bishop went to give a talk to his seminarians in Maynooth. At the end of the talk he said:

“Gentlemen, as a prelate of the church I have the privilege of having a private Chapel in my house. Mine is next to my bedroom. Before going to bed every night I pop into the chapel, stand before the tabernacle and say” Goodnight Sweet Jesus. And a little voice answers from the tabernacle ‘Goodnight, My Lord”.