I’ve been thinking a lot lately about something Our Blessed Mother said in
Medjugorje. She said that we should not criticize priests. To some this statement means being
absolutely “mum.” But I’ve been asking myself if justice and charity are always served by being totally
and completely silent ALL of the time. These are my thoughts.
Certainly no one should EVER criticize PRIESTHOOD, the calling that God gives
to particular men for the reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. And certainly
detraction, calumny and rash judgments are forbidden.
We are living in very difficult times. Pope Paul VI said that the “smoke of
satan has entered the Church.” Our Lady has spoken to Fr. Gobbi about the apostasy in the Church
today affecting even the clergy, her beloved sons. What is one to do if a priest were to PUBLICLY
proclaim something heretical?
(It is happening!) Or what if a priest, by being ill informed, publicly speaks ill of another and ruins a
person’s reputation? Or what if he publicly criticizes something that truly yields good fruit in the lives of
many? Are we to remain silent under the pretext that Our Lady tells us not to criticize priests? A deeper
understanding of her statement is in order.
I remember years ago when the visionaries in Medjugorje asked Our Lady about
a particular Franciscan who had been “expelled” by the local Bishop, Our Lady said that the
priest was innocent and the Bishop was wrong in dismissing the Franciscan. Certainly Our Blessed
Mother, though lovingly, criticized the local Bishop for his action. TRUTH is important to Heaven.
I note, also, that Jesus said, “If you deny Me before men, I will deny you
before My Father.” TRUTH is important to Heaven.
Jesus spared few words in His criticism of the Scribes, Pharisees and
lawmakers, who laid heavy burdens on others, but walked about with a “better than thou” air. He called
them “... whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones.” TRUTH is important to Heaven.
And what about the Eighth Commandment that states: “You shall not bear false
witness against your neighbor?” Are priests (as well as the rest of us) excused from this
Commandment? Indeed not!
Who said that all that is necessary for evil to continue is for good people
to do nothing about it? Paragraph 2464 of The Catholic Catechism states: “The eight commandment
forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others.”
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: In justice, “as a matter of honor, one man owes it
to another to manifest the truth.” The Catholic Church teaches that there is only ONE person on earth who is
infallible. That is our Holy Father and ONLY when he speaks on matters of faith and morals. The
implication is that ALL OF US have clay feet. We all make mistakes - even priests. It is not God’s Will
that we be like ostriches with our heads in the sand.
Justice and charity demand that truth reign and be promulgated. When a pubic
wrong is committed, we are obligated before God to bear witness to the truth. This,
however, must always be done with the greatest of charity, prayer and patience.
Jesus said: “If your brother does something wrong, go and speak to him. If
he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen to you, then take it to someone
else. If he still doesn’t listen, take it to the Church.”
Herein lies an adequate explanation of Our Lady’s statement.
God bless you!