She asked which priest I went to and when I described him to her she said, "Oh, yes, please pray for him." Apparently there are a few priests who visit my parish often whom, as she said, have their own 'agenda'. In short, the priests she was referring to are those who are, for lack of a better term, on the more liberal side and look at more traditional or conservative Catholics, like myself, with a slight hint of distaste.
My parish is pretty conservative. There is a very small monastery down the street from us that offers a Latin Mass and a number of our parishioners go there as well. A number of the women who come to mass at my church wear a veil. When I took the veil about 2 years ago, I was criticized by the same priest who received my confession two weeks ago. Our current pastor, who has been at my parish for almost 3 years, also has a mild distaste for the traditional. He does not like Latin, women wearing a veil, reciting the Act of Contrition or assigning a penance during Confession, and for some reason he will shake your hand in the communion line.
Many of the members in my parish, in response, has turned to our Deacon for spiritual guidance. My church is a little different than most. At my church, it is the Deacon who seems to run the day to day goings on. The pastor is away most of the time doing various vicariate duties, and our Associate Pastor, a man whom I love very much and is more traditional than our Head Pastor, does a lot of work with the Hispanic ministry. Which is great! We have a large Hispanic community and until about a year ago, we had to have visiting priests administer to them. It is wonderful that they can see a regular face every Sunday. He is also a fabulous confessor and I try to go when I think he is on Confession duty.
But why on earth would a priest, a man who is dedicating his life to shepherding God's flock, turn away from tradition and condemn it? Mrs. Deacon has said that some priests have told her that her and her husband are too conservative and traditional. (She too has had some bad experiences in the confessional.) Unless they are directly contradicting a teaching of the Church, why condemn them?
This made me reflect a little bit on our duty as members of the laity to pray for our priests.
Dear Saint Therese, the Little Flower, made a strong statement during her final profession of vows that she wanted to pray for priests. Priests are the shepherds of the flock, but that does not make them impermeable to sin or incorrect thinking. And since they are priests, God is going to hold them to a higher standard than the ordinary Joe Schmo. We need to remember our priests in our prayers and pray that any actions that they take will not hinder the faithful from practicing all tenants of the faith. We must especially pray for dissenting priests, and there are a few out there, who are intentionally preaching against the teachings of the church and are leading their flocks astray.
I am not the best when it comes to spouting off Bible verses, but I do remember a passage where Jesus said something like, 'Woe to those who sin and teaches others to sin'.
So, when you pray, remember the priests. The good and the not-so-good.