A blog reader suggested that the clerical collar has become the symbol of abuse and corruption 😞
I agree that many, many bishops and priests have greatly tarnished the image and reputation of the priesthood – and indeed the clerical collar.
I have been verbally abused on the streets of Dublin for wearing my collar. I was followed by a group of university students calling me “Paedo Priest.”
It has never happened to me in Belfast or Northern Ireland.
I will let readers answer the question today: “Is the clerical collar now a symbol of abuse and corruption?”
WHY I WEAR THE COLLAR
I wear the collar for two very clear reasons
1. As a WITNESS to the existence of Faith and Jesus.
2. As an INVITATION to anyone and everyone to approach me if they want to or need to.
And, I do not at all mind being a lightening conductor for those who need to express hurt and anger at what the Church has done to so many victims.
CAN I SHARE A STORY?
I had arranged to meet a Dublin priest for lunch at Buswells Hotel in Dublin.
He was there first and dressed in mufti and was angry that I was wearing a collar – he thought it would draw attention to us.
After lunch, he offered to walk me back to my car on Stephens Green.
As we walked up Grafton Street, a young man approached me and asked me if I was a priest.
I told him I was.
He told me that he was a university student from France and was also diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and that he had left his medication at home in France that morning and was now beginning to feel very unwell. He thought that with me being a priest, I might be willing to help him.
I put him in my car and drove him to a hospital A&E and stayed with him until they called a psychiatrist and sorted him with his medication.
I dropped him off at the hostel he was staying in and gave him my contact details in case he needed any more assistance.
The following day, my Dublin priest friend called me and asked me not to say, “I told you so.” And he did say that he had gotten the message.
A collar or vestments do not make the priest.
But symbols do talk maybe more than ever. In this very secular world, signs of the overlooked sacred have their place?
PICS I CAME ACROSS YESTERDAY DOING A TIDY UP