Sorry to interrupt the Rosary Meditations but I wanted to share something that I found in my little book on priestly virtue*. I thought that it was fitting for all the news that has been in the world today about priests:
Second Week After Easter
The hireling sees the wolf coming ... and the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep. -- John 10, 12.
Sad are the scenes out Lord here envisions. He envisions scandals -- scandals concerning the priesthood.
He foresees wolves in clerical garb.
He speaks frankly of what he sees, to warn and forearm you.
The wolves are sinful priests.
A bad priest preys on the sheep like a wolf
He snatches the from our Lord, who bought them with his precious blood. he does it by his scandalous life. For when the people see the clergy sinning carelessly, they invariably incline to laxity in matters of religion and morals. "Subordinates persuade themselves that they are permitted to do what they see their pastors doing openly" (St. Gregory). Or as St. Augustine puts it: "If a layman sees a clergyman leading a bad life, he himself will lead a bad life."
It is thus that the sinful priest ravishes and murders souls. "Because of their sin, they not only ruin themselves, but they are responsible for other souls, whom they have seduced by their bad example" (St. Gregory). --
Hence the lament of the Good Shepherd in Ezechiel: "And my sheep are become a prey" (Ezech. 34, 8).
Hence his cry for vengeance: "Her princes in the midst of her are like wolves ravening the pry to destroy souls" (Ezech. 22, 27).
Hence his complaint through Sophonias: Judices ejus lupi (Soph. 3, 3).
Scan the pages of Church history, and you will find that these lamentations are well founded on fact. Facts more numerous than one should expect.
Scan the pages of sacred history. Read in particular the prophets, and begin to fear for yourself. "Howl, thou fir tree, for the cedar is fallen, for the mighty are laid waste" (Zach. 11,2). --
The wolf scatters the sheep. Insofar as some will side with the bad priest while others will declare themselves against him. Insofar as he has neither the grace nor the authority to hold them together. Our Lord says: "He who is not with me, is against me" (Luke 11, 23).
The Divine Shepherd lef nothing undone to gather his sheep, and keep them together.
Woe therefore to the priest who scatters them. Listen to our Lord's complaint by the mouth of the prophet: "And my sheep were scattered because there was no shepherd, and they became the prey of all the beasts of the field, and were scattered" (Ezech. 34, 5).
Weigh every word you say in public, lest it cause dissension or disedification. Keep politics out of the pulpit.
But also in private conversation great caution is needed. An indiscreet wood, unnecessary curiosity in the confessional, an ill-timed joke in or out of the pulpit, even a look or a gesture that is too free, can prove ruinous.
Prudence dictates the policy of keeping lay people as much as possible away from clerical gatherings.
"thus saith the Lord God: Behold I myself come upon the shepherds, I will require my flock at their hand" (Ezech. 34, 10).
*. Bierbaum, OFM, Fr. Athanasius. Pusillum: A Vademeccum of Sacerdotal Virtue in Brief Meditations, 6th Edition. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1951.