|Mass celebrated at St. Peter's Basilica|
Recently PBS Frontline aired a documentary, Secrets of the Vatican, which I was inspired to watch. At first, I was somewhat suspect of the documentary from its title alone, and although I did try watch it with an open mind, in the end it only confirmed my suspicion, that it was a skewed presentation. The documentary spawned an on line discussion that included many views and opinions that were very secular in their tone, somewhat hostile and lacking what I considered to be an appropriate attitude.
I decided to join the discussion to counter the overwhelming negative exchange of views. Hoping to change the tone and provide a more positive approach, I posted my comment. In addition to the PBS discussion, I decided to turn my comment into a blog post and in so doing, reach an even wider audience in the process.
You do not necessarily need to watch the documentary to fully understand the content of my comment, but it would certainly help if you did, just so you can see for yourself what type of presentation PBS aired on the Vatican. Below is my comment.
Beginning of Comment
After viewing this documentary and scrolling through all of the comments below, I would like to offer my thoughts that I hope will encourage everyone to direct their concerns into a much more positive direction.
Although there are many details that one could concern oneself with, the main thrust of any problems that may exist are a matter of a spiritual battle from an unseen enemy, who remains quiet and seems to have drawn very little attention from this documentary and this discussion. I am referring to the Evil One who works extremely hard to attack the Catholic Church and in particular the clergy. Make no mistake, their struggles against sin and temptation are greater because of the prize is greater for the Tempter, the Father of Lies, the Devil. Does this mean they are not responsible for their actions? Of course not. This is especially true for actual cases of sexual abuse. If clergy are leading double lives, involved in financial wrong doing or some other unethical activity, this should not be denied in any way. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's actions are indicative of this as he has defrocked over 400 priests, a fact that this documentary failed to mention by the way. I believe Pope Francis has a few battle fronts within, on matters that are of great importance for those within and outside the Vatican, and he is dealing with these battles, taking steps and making changes that will restore credibility and put things into proper order. No easy task to say the least. Please pray for him!
I firmly believe that Pope Francis' example, one of mercy, love and compassion should be at the fore front of any view and approach regarding any issue. The temptation to be righteous is and can be one that lacks mercy. As Catholics and Christians alike, we are called to be merciful and that has to mean something. Being merciful with your friend or family, is probably not that difficult, most of the time, but how much more significant and a proper response to be merciful is it, when it is extremely difficult, painful perhaps and even bitter. Will you only be merciful when it is easy or convenient or when you agree to be? No matter what the details may or may not be, this documentary is not a "carte blanche" for the public to begin a condemnation campaign, gossip and incite hatred. Remember what Jesus said to the mob about to stone the woman for adultery, "cast the first stone he who has not sinned."
More important that focussing on what this documentary chose to talk about, is praying for the clergy. For some, like myself who are Roman Catholic, this is especially important as it is line with what Our Lady in Medjugorje is telling us about how to think and care about our clergy. The answer is not in nasty and ugly discussion, but to direct your concerns into prayer. Our Lady states that our world is full of gossip and our priests do not need anyone's judgement. God will judge them accordingly to how they fulfilled their priestly duties and ministries, and God will judge us how we treated our priests. If you really care for the priesthood of the Catholic Church and the Church itself, pray for our priests because this is the best way you can help them. To criticize them harms them and does them no good. What ever you may know, pray for our priests and especially through the Rosary, the second most powerful prayer next to the Mass. You can find this important approach from the visionary Mirjana Soldo (formerly Dragicevic) at my blog, domenicmarando.blogspot.ca, in which I dedicate an entire post to this approach, entitled, "Medjugorje Message - Pray For Our Priests." You can find this post under the label, "Medjugorje."
Our Lady Queen of Peace, pray for us.
End of Comment
End of Comment
If you would like, I encourage you to send me your thoughts, especially for those that have watched the documentary prior to reading this post.