A graceful day for His Grace
Cloud hangs over clergy because of sex abuse, says priest ‘minder’
The new spiritual “minder” for the Catholic clergy says it’s a tough time to be a priest, a bishop or a deacon and he claims many clergy are angry and saddened by the current child sex abuse controversy facing the Church.
“A cloud hangs over all clergy in a way that it didn’t a generation ago,” Fr Peter Brock told The Southern Cross, newspaper of the Adelaide archdiocese. “The respect for clergy can’t be taken for granted any more.”
Fr Peter is executive officer of the National Commission for Clergy Life and Ministry, which supports clergy intellectual development, health, morale and spiritual care.
“Occasionally you hear anecdotes of priests who have had harsh things said to them in a supermarket or on the street with people taking a pot shot at them,” he said.
Fr Brock said a minority of aberrant priests had contributed to the perceived weakening of the clergy’s moral authority but he strongly believed that greater accountability of clergy was a good thing.
He feels celibacy is not to blame for the current controversy but rather how candidates for the priesthood “got through to ordination”.
This was an issue faced “much more squarely” today by bishops and seminaries.