Fulton Sheen On The Laity… But What Can The Laity DO To “See That Priests Act Like Priests”?

Fulton Sheen On The Laity… But What Can The Laity DO To “See That Priests Act Like Priests”?

On a previous thread, Marinaio concludes a comment as follows: 

Yesterday’s Gospel warned us of what we are seeing: the hierarchy — the pope and the vast majority of bishops — are ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing. Let us stand together and defend the flock against those rapacious predators.

Laura replies…

Your last paragraph made me think. Personally, I agree with you about standing together and “defending the flock against those rapacious predators” but not a lot of Catholics agree with us. I am still hearing Catholics saying things like it’s not right to criticise priests, never mind bishops and popes! When you say, what about priests who are teaching errors, wanting women’s ordination and gay weddings etc, they reply that it is up to God to deal with them, it’s not up to us lay people to take it upon ourselves to correct priests. So, while I agree with you, it can’t happen until the majority of Catholics wake up and smell the coffee.

Editor writes…

Since 1999, when the Catholic Truth apostolate was launched, with scientist and local historian Charles J. Smith (RIP) at the helm, I have been called every name under the sun, for daring, as Editor, to report the truth about the state of the Church in Scotland.  To report a scandal is worse, I soon discovered, than the scandal itself.  I took to quoting Pope St. Gregory the Great, in his Homilies on Ezekiel: “It is better that scandals should arise than that truth should be suppressed.”   It made no difference to the indifferent.  They didn’t want to know.  Yet, when we asked individuals if they would want to know if their priest were living a double-life, visiting unsavoury social venues etc., the answer was always “Yes” – usually adding that they would want to know if their collection money was being used to fund such double-living.

The Catholic Truth team then instituted a process whereby when we were given the names of double-living clergy (in every case, by serving diocesan priests), we would contact the priest concerned to ask him to end his infidelity and if we were thus assured, we would not publish.  Our sources then were more than a little displeased, telling me that we’d been fooled.  My reply, at that time, was that I felt obliged to take any individual at his word, at that stage.  In the event, we published only those who refused to accept their wrong-doing and in no time at all, each of them (after dragging my name through the secular press mud) left the priesthood to live with “gay” boyfriends or, in one case, take up employment as an Anglican vicar.  You truly couldn’t make it up.

Such double-living scandals are only one aspect of the crisis in the Church facing the laity today.  And not every one of those can be publicised, since lies and cover-up – sometimes in the form of a legal threat – are second nature to those who think nothing of living a double-life.  It’s worth pointing out, too, that none of us at Catholic Truth enjoy this part of our apostolate – jings, we hate criticising priests in any way and in normal circumstances we would not dream of doing so.   However, we’re in a major crisis, a Church crisis which is – in the very nature of things – a crisis in the priesthood.  Satan is waging war against the Faith, and so the rules, as in any war, do not always apply in the same way. That’s why Archbishop Fulton Sheen, even back in 1972, speaks of the role of the laity as being to “save the Church”, telling us that it is our duty to “see that our priests act like priests”.

Other scandals suffered by lay people today include ongoing liturgical scandals:  the new Mass itself is a scandal, as is the sacrilegious mistreatment of the Blessed Sacrament through Communion in the hand. Lay people playing at being priests in the sanctuary, conducting Eucharistic Services, is a huge scandal. The attack on the Traditional Latin Mass,  the Mass which nourished the saints and the martyrs, is under open and very severe attack from the Pope himself.  We are living through a crisis in the Church which is unique.  Scandals of every kind abound, and while the scandals of impurity are shocking in the extreme, they are not the only scandals which affect the faithful.

Sadly, there are also priests who are far from behaving as pastoral, spiritual fathers, caring for souls.  This, too, in its various manifestations, is a scandal, an obstacle to our Faith. I’ve experienced this myself in that I’ve been accused of causing scandal through the Catholic Truth newsletter and this blog;  it seems I’m considered a danger to souls – not that any priest has taken me aside to express such concerns (which I would have appreciated), but on one occasion a kindly layman passed on the message to me – obviously speaking on behalf of the clergy.  It’s certainly true that I’m far from perfect, sinful and full of faults, but if I could be convinced that I am a danger to souls, I’d tear up my application for that Editor of the Year Award and settle down with a good courtroom thriller, coffee and cream cake.

Finally, then, it’s all very well for Archbishop Fulton Sheen to tell us that it’s up to the laity to “see that our priests, bishops and religious act like priests, bishops and religious” but how can we actually do that – this humble group of laity don’t seem to be able to get it right at all, so – bloggers –  it would help to have some specifics, please and thank you…

Comments (41)

  • Josephine Reply

    It’s not just during a crisis, priests never like lay people running anything in the Church, at least that’s my memory from hearing friends talk about their experiences in parishes. Think about it. There’s supposed to be a priest acting as spiritual director in any group of the Legion of Mary but it was always hard work to get a priest to agree to do that, or so my Legion friends said. Most of us keep our heads down, get to Mass and confession but not a lot more. Archbishop Sheen was American, maybe if he’d lived in Scotland he wouldn’t have said that, LOL!

    July 27, 2022 at 2:56 pm
    • editor Reply


      Very true – I was a member of the Legion of Mary in my youth and I well remember the lack of interest from too many priests, while there were, of course, exceptions. What surprised me was the way the founder of the Legion, Frank Duff, refused to criticise this lack of interest in the clergy – certainly in public – and I blame that, in part, for the fact that Legionaries have gone along with the Vatican II revolution. They have imbibed those parts of the Handbook which insist on respecting the authority of the priest, end of. The Legion began in 1921, of course, so that may explain the failure to consider any crisis scenario.

      July 27, 2022 at 3:36 pm
  • Lily Reply

    Archbishop Sheen says it’s our mission to see that our priests act like priests etc. Well, I say, “mission impossible”!

    Clericalism is very much alive in the post-Vatican II Church as it was in the pre-Vatican II Church, sorry to say. Josephine’s comment about the LOM proves that. Priests are very prickly about their status, IMHO. If they could cancel the laity altogether, I believe they’d do so, LOL!

    No, all we can do is pray for priests, bishops and religious, clean the church and arrange the flowers if they ask!

    July 27, 2022 at 3:20 pm
    • editor Reply


      You are right to highlight the error of clericalism – here is a very good, concise, article on the subject. https://catholicexchange.com/clericalism/

      You are, however, NOT right to say “mission impossible” – think up some practical means of completing the mission identified by Fulton Sheen and then come back to share your brainwave(s) with us 😀

      July 27, 2022 at 3:39 pm
      • Lily

        Well, all I can think of is probably what you already do, and what maybe others do if they see something untoward in the parish – either speak to the priest to say so or write to say so, ask for something to be put right. What else can anyone do? If he doesn’t reply and doesn’t do anything, that’s all any lay person can do – i.e. nothing! LOL!

        July 28, 2022 at 12:10 am
      • Marinaio

        I would like to share a couple more “brainwaves,” Dear Editor. I have always thought that St. Paul was clearly referring to the apostasy of the laity, leading to an apostasy of the priesthood. In 2 Timothy 4:3 – 4, St. Paul wrote:

        “For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.”

        It seems to me that if the laity can “heap to themselves teachers” who would “turn away their hearing from the truth,” then the converse must also be true, i.e., that a good, doctrinally sound laity can be crucial in the restoration of all things in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

        And the last point will require a bit of background. You and I — and countless other serious Catholics — know what it is like to speak out in support of our Holy Faith, only to be the victims of various forms of retribution. I can only encourage you to continue in your very necessary apostolate by relating to you the words of a very holy woman named Katharina Tangari, an ardent supporter of Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society he founded. She had been a spiritual daughter of Padre Pio, who sent her on dangerous missions, secretly carrying bibles and sacramentals to Catholics imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain. She was detained, arrested, and convicted at one point, and was imprisoned for well over a year in a filthy Communist Czech prison. She died in 1989; but we had the privilege to know her when we lived in Naples, Italy, in the late 80s. One day shortly after the Consecrations, I took a newly ordained priest to her austere apartment overlooking the Bay of Naples so that Father could offer Mass in her humble abode. After Mass, she regaled Father with many religious gifts, the funds for which she continuously raised by begging alms from friends and family (as she had no money herself). As we were leaving, she turned suddenly to us and said, “Courage! Never be afraid of them.”

        It must, I believe, be our motto: never let them make us afraid. Even though the forces of Hell are arrayed against us in this fight, we know that we will be victorious. So, I say to all your bloggers and to every Catholic who has a true sensus Catholicus: write letters, make phone calls, be persistent. Be respectful, but firm! Do not be afraid of the consequences. Ultimately, these demonic forces have no power over us. Stay the course, fight the good fight. After all, we are on the side of Our Lord!

        July 28, 2022 at 4:01 am
      • Athanasius


        I absolutely agree 100% with your comment, which hits the nail right on the head. We must never give up on our defence of the truth, no matter what. I have heard of the saintly Katarina Tangari and wish I could have met her. She was a very wise and saintly soul, God bless her. We need many more Katarina Tangari’s today.

        July 28, 2022 at 11:21 am
  • Michaela Reply

    I want to put in a word for the good priests around, especially the Glasgow priest, Fr Dunn, who has had two Open Letters published on this blog. He is a sign that God is with the Church during this crisis. Not only is Fr Dunn not “clericalist” but he’s using this platform, created by lay people, to use his own prophetic voice to speak out about the scandals in the Church. He is a marvellous witness. Thank God for him.

    July 27, 2022 at 3:25 pm
    • editor Reply


      That’s fine to mention Fr Dunn by name, since you are praising him, but in general terms, I’d ask bloggers NOT to name any priests on this thread, whether praising or not, since – as I know all too well from painful experience – there are priests who take great offence at criticism, and so there is no point in causing unnecessary angst. Keep the conversation general, please and thank you. Ideas on how to complete the “mission” identified by Archbishop Sheen is the topic. Let’s go!

      PS Fr Dunn will be delighted that he made it through prior to the prohibition on naming 😀

      July 27, 2022 at 3:31 pm
  • Athanasius Reply

    We only have to look back to the situation St. Athanasius faced in the 4th century to understand how the clergy at all levels can betray the sacred mission entrusted to them by God – to feed His sheep and His lambs. When that saintly bishop found himself confronting heresy in the clergy on a mass scale, clericalism sprung quickly into action to silence him. It was the ordinary faithful who stood with St. Athanasius in the fight for truth, which is why, at the height of the heresy, he declared to those lay people “They have the churches but we have the faith”. Archbishop Lefebvre was able to say exactly the same thing when confronted with post-conciliar heterodoxy, for once again the laity far outnumbered the clerics when it came to defence of divine truth.

    What we learned from Archbishop Lefebvre’s experience is that too many decent priests and faithful who might have supported him actually didn’t because they had a false understanding of obedience and the role of the ordained, especially the Pope. Blind obedience was all too common in the Church up to that fateful Council – that “pay up and shut up” mentality that gave rise to so many heretical afflictions in the Church. Remember, every heresy to afflict the Church from the very beginning right up to today has originated with the clergy. The faithful were never intended by God to be silent observers to such wrongdoing, but rather respectful advocates of truth even when those truths are out of season, to quote St. Paul.

    Our Lord was crucified at the behest of bad priests who hated His divine doctrine, so to suffer likewise is a great honour for any Catholic, clerical or lay. We must always stand up for what is good and true regardless of the consequences – it’s called “Confirmation duty”. Indifferent and fatalist Catholics fail in this regard, as do those who fail to grasp the real meaning of the virtue of charity. Sometimes the worst enemies of souls are ordained and the faithful must now watch every one like a hawk. The moment they step out of line, supplanting what hs been handed down with their own novel ideas, such as we have witnessed post-Council, or for reasons of laziness or self-serving, then we are obliged in all charity to confront them with their dangerous behaviour. If we don’t do that then we are simply not Catholics of any real worth in the sight of God. I always keep in mind St. Paul’s public correction of St. Peter as the ideal example of charitable correction. Charity does not mean we make ourselves doormats for anyone, especially the ordained. We are the children of the Church, Our Lord’s flock, and we must be vigilant and responsive when the false shepherd comes into our midst. If that wisdom had been inculcated into Catholics 60 years ago there would have been no conciliar revolution in the Church. The people would have risen up in outrage against heretical and heterodox bishops and priests, as was their duty. Sadly, that didn’t happen and so we now find ourselves depending on auxiliary boats with leaks until God grants a renewed humility and zeal for souls to his ordained, especially the Pope and bishops. We pray for that return to a restored Catholic hierarchy and the re-establishment of the pastoral life of our once-healthy and sanctifying parishes. In the meantime, we have to watch, pray and do our duty when required, however unpleasant.

    July 27, 2022 at 4:25 pm
    • Fidelis Reply


      What we learned from Archbishop Lefebvre’s experience is that too many decent priests and faithful who might have supported him actually didn’t because they had a false understanding of obedience and the role of the ordained,

      That continues to this day. Just about everyone I know thinks the laity should just go along to church, pay their dues, and get on with the rest of their lives.

      I see mention of the Legion of Mary above but when I was in it as a young person, my own uncle told me it was not my business to be knocking on people’s doors to ask if they wanted to arrange a family rosary. He said that was the priest’s work. He said religion is a private thing and nobody should be bothering anyone else with it.

      TBH, I think that is the general opinion among Catholics these days. I don’t know that they’ve been taught about Confirmation duty, I really do wonder. They definitely won’t approve of this blog – shock horror to call any priest or bishop to account!

      It won’t be put right until after the Consecration of Russia. We need to keep praying for that, IMHO.

      July 27, 2022 at 7:29 pm
  • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

    ED your opening statement about being called all of the names under the Sun means only one thing and of course you know it . You speak the TRUTH something sadly lacking in our society these days. Talking of Truth am sure all on here have probably read of the Mass Graves that The Godfather is seen sitting pensively as if in prayer are NOT graves of Children or anyone of that matter. Fake News again. As i have said many times on here it is this Blog that made me look at the Mass of Ages and once seen it is the Best thing this side of Heaven. I now attend a N.O. Mass on a Sunday and it is without a doubt as we know nothing in line with The Latin Mass . BTW I also have to add that only 2 of us from my own Parish attend The Latin Mass, relegated by The Bishop to a Thursday Night , Me and my Brother, all the rest are from different parts of Lanarkshire.

    Athanasius letter summed lots up but people now just dont care, that was especially seen during the Covid Scam. Last Sunday in N.O. Time was the reading of Abraham pleading with God not to destroy Sodom where He got it down from 50 just men to 5 and we know their werent 5 because Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed. We at the moment have a visiting Polish Priest and i was hoping he would at least say something about it in His Sermon .Unfortunately He did not ,probably didnt want to be controversial . Of course am sure if He had spoke about why S. and G. were destroyed it would probably have been in The Rotten Daily Record on the Monday and the Priest called all sort of names.

    When you see the likes of Non Catholics like Gregory and Cupich cancelling Masses i dont know where we go from here.
    I just hope the cancelled Priests at least in the U.S.A can step in and help in some way. Am sure at least all on here know that Bergoglio is surrounded by a bunch of Yes Men who are Non Catholics of whom He has made Cardinals . Its the Freemason Marxist Tactic to a Tee and they have pulled it off . At least so far .

    July 27, 2022 at 7:38 pm
    • Josephine Reply

      Faith of our Fathers,

      I’m amazed that you are attending the novus ordo on Sundays – I’ve always thought you attended the traditional Mass. If you have started going back to the novus ordo because of Traditionis Custodes, and the bishop has banned your Mass, then you are aiding and abetting his disgraceful attack on the Mass. I copied this from a site quoting Archbishop Lefebvre:

      Archbishop Lefebvre also observed:

      that the New Mass, even when said with piety and respect for the liturgical rules, is subject to […] reservations since it is impregnated with the spirit of Protestantism. It bears within it a poison harmful to the Faith.”

      The doctrinal deficiencies of the New Mass has rendered it a danger to the faith of Catholics—as witnessed by such negative effects as a widespread diminishment of belief in the Blessed Sacrament.

      Consequently, since the Church would never ask her members to endanger their souls, the Sunday Precept does not oblige the faithful to attend the New Mass.

      If it’s really not possible for you to get to a TLM, I think you should read through you missal and do some spiritual reading instead of giving the bishop what he wants – to stop people attending the TLM and return to the novus ordo. That’s the whole idea. Catholics in that position surely need to rebel by refusing to attend the NOM.
      I hope you will re-think your decision on this.

      July 27, 2022 at 7:56 pm
    • Athanasius Reply


      My advice to you is to fulfil your Sunday obligation at the TLM on Thursday night instead of the NO on Sunday. God reads the heart and knows that your bishop has forced that decision on you. This would not be a mortal sin since you are doing it to avoid danger to your soul.

      July 27, 2022 at 8:41 pm
      • Faith of Our Fathers

        Martin i do as has been said but the N.O. is still a valid Mass ,and i of course want to fulfill My Sunday Duty. I of course know that God reads our Hearts . Josephine i disagree with you, the Stopping of the TLM Mass no matter where ,is not to make Catholics go to the N.O. it is to stop Catholics in anyway to stop Worship to Almighty God. The likes of Gregory. Cupich .Roche and Bergoglio are NOT NOR never have been Catholics .Were they Catholics in any shape of form they would not have stopped the TLM .
        We have a good Priest and if He went against the Powers that stopped our TLM then like Fr Despard He would be cancelled. That i do not wish to happen . I do not wish to say anything on Here especially of Private conversations we have had. As the Ed says careless talk Etc.
        God Bless.

        July 27, 2022 at 10:12 pm
      • Athanasius


        Validity is not the only consideration when weighing whether or not to attend a NO Mass. The main considerations are:

        1. Is this liturgy dangerous to faith.
        2. Is this liturgy in line with Tradition.
        3. Does my attendance equate to participating, by consent, in the undermining of the faith.

        I don’t know about you, FOOF, but nothing would induce me to attend the Novus Ordo. No one in the Church, not even the Pope, can order Catholics under obligation to attend a liturgy which endangers their faith and the life of the Church. In such circumstances the only thing any of us could do in your circumstances is either travel to the nearest TLM on a Sunday, regardless of cost and inconvenience, or transfer our obligation to the only day the bishop has made available for your Catholic conscience – in this case Thursday evenings.

        Well, if Novus Ordo Catholics can fulfil their obligation on Saturday instead of Sunday then you can certainly fulfil yours on a Thursday. The precendent is already set by the bishops with their Saturday vigil masses.

        July 28, 2022 at 12:25 am
      • editor


        Just quickly, if it helps, there are three TLMs in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Balornock, every Sunday – 10.30.am, 11.30am and 6pm.

        There is plenty of on street parking all round the church. I’ve no idea about public transport but Balornock is not far from the city centre, if that helps.

        I definitely would never EVER return to the novus ordo – given what we now know about the history of the novus ordo, and the fact that it is not pleasing to God. Somebody who knows nothing about the truth of the Mass change would be in a different situation but we do know, so think carefully about the importance of offering only true worship to God.

        We will now stand and since two verses of…. Faith of our Fathers!

        July 29, 2022 at 10:20 am
      • Margaret Mary

        Faith of our Fathers,

        If you have a good priest then he will be pleased to be able to tell the bishop that since he closed down the TLM, the people have gone to a TLM in another parish or diocese. That’s the only way to stop this bullying. If he just says, oh well, they weren’t too happy but they’re back at the novus ordo, then it’s “job done”. Surely you can see that? After all, they’re not closing down the novus ordo parishes are they?

        July 29, 2022 at 4:46 pm
  • Lily Reply

    I read somewhere that St Catherine of Siena is the patron saint of laypeople, but I can’t remember where I read that and when I googled just now to post it here, I can’t find anywhere that says that, just that she’s the patron of Europe.

    She would be a good patron for the laity though because as a laywoman she was outspoken in her letters to priests and even popes. She wouldn’t be as popular today as she was all those centuries ago, is my best guess, LOL!

    July 28, 2022 at 12:13 am
    • Athanasius Reply


      I guess the only difference is that St. Catherine of Sienna was a nun, which gave her a little more in the way of moral authority in the eyes of the clergy. She was also a noted saint while still living, which also added to her stature. We don’t have anything like that in our favour, so we get the brush off!

      July 28, 2022 at 12:28 am
      • editor


        We’ve had this conversation before – your memory is worse than mine, and that is saying something.

        St Catherine of Siena was a laywoman – she is pictured in the Habit of the Dominican Order because she was a Third Order member and thus permitted to wear the Habit. I know of others today, who are Third Order members, married couples, who have the Habit and wear it on occasion. I remember a friend telling me that his father was buried in the Habit of the Franciscan Order, permitted because he was a Third Order member of the Franciscans. It’s a pity that St Catherine of Siena is depicted in the Habit though, because people do jump to the wrong conclusion, and I suspect that she is thus depicted because of the clericalist attitude that the laity should not be quite as outspoken.
        https://www.nationalshrine.org/blog/lessons-from-the-life-of-saint-catherine-of-siena-laywoman-and-activist/ And there is some more detail here

        As for us not being “noted saints while living” – speak for yourself 😀

        July 28, 2022 at 8:56 am
      • Athanasius


        My memory must be really bad because I don’t recall ever having that conversation, which is not to say we didn’t have it. I always assumed St. Catherine was a religious, so there you go, every day is a school day! Speaking of Third Orders, my grandfather was buried in his Franciscan Third Order habit, which was permitted for Third Order members. He was a daily communicant and a good man who died when the Church was still healthy in 1957.

        As for “noted saints while living”, I was referring to everyone but me. And just for your information, I administer Apostolic Benedictions every Thursday evening at my shrine. I am particularly noted for my humility!!

        July 28, 2022 at 11:18 am
      • editor

        So, now, true confessions; that clears THAT up for ME – YOU are the friend whose grandfather (not father!) was buried in the Franciscan Habit. I could not remember who had told me that, so now we’re quits on the memory front 😀

        I have to admit, old age doesn’t come alone, as they say and I’m noticing that my memory is getting worse. And my memory is getting worse, not sure I’ve mentioned it before… 😀

        July 28, 2022 at 12:27 pm
      • Athanasius


        I hope, by God’s merciful grace, that I don’t get buried in a habit, of which I have many, all bad!

        On that note, I wonder if Pope Francis will introduce a clerical Third Order habit for all Modernist servants of the New World Order. It could be a rainbow coloured job highlighting the “inclusivity” of their “ministry”.

        July 28, 2022 at 12:49 pm
  • Nicky Reply

    I don’t think there is any such thing as a right or wrong way to exercise our Confirmation duty. The fact is, in my experience, at least, that for some reason priests don’t want lay people being active in the Church. It’s a mystery. I remember reading about a conversation between Cardinal Newman and another churchman and the other churchmen was putting down the laity. Cardinal Newman replied that the Church would look silly without them (or similar – I can’t remember his exact words.)

    The reason I find this very odd and a bit disturbing is that priests seem to forget that they’re not there to run a business or a well-oiled machine, but they’re there to save souls, intermediaries between God and the people. They seem to look on the people with suspicion and even annoyance, unless they are in the pay, pray and obey mould.

    So my “brainwave” is that we all just to do what we can, including on this blog. If we spread the word about the blog then we are helping to alert others to the state of the Church and that is all we can do IMHO. Writing letters is a monumental waste of time, but that is not in my opinion, it’s in my experience!

    July 28, 2022 at 4:33 pm
    • Elizabeth Reply

      I agree that priests seem to think they are running a business but this applies more so to bishops who look increasingly like well nourished CEOs of their dioceses rather than shepherds or servants. After their deafening silence during the pandemic I lost whatever respect for them I might have had.
      Honestly where do we go from here? I don’t know. Prayer is our only weapon but it is even hard to keep faith in that when we can feel so abandoned. It makes me sad that the ‘sensus catholicus’ is on the way out and faithful Catholics in our parish do try to encourage our priest to have regular confession opportunities, occasional Benediction and we get nowhere. No one would come, they say. Well I wonder why?

      July 28, 2022 at 7:12 pm
    • Athanasius Reply


      I assume you use the term “active in the church” in the sense of lay people following the instructions and directions of the priest with zeal in arranging and participating in those activities properly belonging to the laity, such as cleaning the church, keeping the garden, running piety stalls, organising pilgrimages, St. Vincent de Paul, Legion of Mary, etc? I only seek to clarify that because there’s another form of lay activity which is certainly not Catholic and which every priest should forbid, and that’s the lay activity we have seen in Modernist churches since Vatican II – lay readers, altar girls, distributors of holy communion and the like, all of which things are unCatholic. I’m quite sure you meant the former and not the latter, but thought I should make the distinction.

      I think if priests adopted the former, as their priestly duty demands, then they would in fact have a well oiled machine in the true sense, for then all would be pulling together in charity and zeal for the faith rather than acting as self-important individuals and self-servers. The priest is the only one endowed with the power of holy orders to the extent that he can sanctify or destroy a parish by his example. If he’s holy, we’re holy; If he’s indifferent, we’re indifferent; If he’s wicked, we’ll end up wicked – that’s the power of the priest and why every priest has to be very careful about how he uses the divine authority given him by God, for he will answer for every careless and/or scandalous word and action. Catholics have a right to expect the very image of Our Lord in their priests, especially prelates, for anything less will render them fit for a very strict judgment. This is why we should always pray for the clergy, no matter how unworthy they appear to be. And the higher the office the more we need to pray for them, as Our Lady of Fatima instructed.

      As for writing letters being a watse of time, I don’t agree with that. While such execution of our Confirmation duty may appear to all the world to be fruitless, nothing is fruitless in God’s eyes. We may not see positive results from our letter writing in this world but we’ll know the worth of it in the next. Who knows how many priests and bishops have repented much later down the line when recalling a letter of correction they ignored from a lay person years before. And if they don’t respond in that way, remaining stubborn in their clericalism, then at least they won’t be able to say to Our Lord at their judgment that they didn’t know that they were harming souls. We must always write to correct wrongs and never cease under any pretext, for the pen is mightier than the sword. Our Lord is our example, who spoke the truth to the Pharisees of His time even though His every word apparently fell on deaf ears.

      In fine, we should continue to do what charity and our Confirmation duty requires of us as lay Catholics, which is to write to bishops and priests when they endanger the faith and the faithful. It’s not a thankless task, though it may appear so, it’s a praiseworthy task, for it means we still have some supernatural life left in our souls at a time when many have fallen into indifference and fatalism.

      July 28, 2022 at 7:33 pm
      • Nicky


        You assume right – I do not approve of the way lay people are busy in the sanctuary of the churches, that’s not what an active laity means.

        I take your point about persevering with writing letters, up to a point, but there comes a time when it’s wasting your energy. Jesus told us that there is a point where you “shake the dust” and move on. I’d be interested to know when you think that point has been reached.

        Down below I see you mention the occasion, I remember it well, when you were tackled in a city centre church for not wearing a mask or social distancing or something. I remember that thread well, and that you challenged that priest, but I’m wondering if you stopped going to that church, as I think I would have. If my memory is correct, you were there for confession and so I assume you can go elsewhere since several city churches have (or used to have pre-covid) daily confession slots, there’s no need to return to that one. You said what you had to say to the priest and well done for that, but once that’s done, maybe a couple of times if necessary, and there’s no change on his part, there’s no point, IMHO, in flogging a dead horse.

        To get to the point of “shaking the dust” is not a failure in Confirmation duty or fatalism, as you put it, because we can’t force any priest to do the right thing and once we’ve pointed out whatever the problem is, a couple or so times, to keep pressing it home might be counter-productive. God will be pleased with our efforts but he doesn’t expect us to go to excessive lengths to correct issues, he sees the desire to do the right thing in your soul as he sees the pride in those priests who are doing the wrong thing.

        July 29, 2022 at 9:17 am
      • Athanasius


        I think we’re viewing this from the wrong perspective. The problem in reality is that only a mere handful of faithful of people have sufficient love for the faith to take the time to write when it’s threatened or tampered with while the majority remain silently indifferent. That’s certainly been my experience and that’s why rogue prelates and priests feel empowered to carry on as usual. They simply write off the odd few as crackpots because no one else complains. It’s always been that way because, as the COVID compliance amply demonstrated, the greater number of people really are sheep, though not in the manner Our Lord meant. I think it’s all too easy for most to say that it’s all a waste of time as their excuse for dong nothing. As the old adage says: “Evil abounds because good men do nothing”. That’s what I meant when I mentioned fatalism, there are many indifferent but also many fatalists. Imagine the difference it would make if one person writing 20 letters was instead 20 people writing 1 letter each – that’s what’s missing.

        You’re right about that church, I never returned to it. I had many other options open to me, priests who were not COVID apostates.

        July 29, 2022 at 10:21 am
      • Nicky


        I think we’re maybe at cross purposes. In general I agree of course that everyone do should their bit but I am meaning I personally wouldn’t keep writing to the same priest or bishop over and over again. That’s casting pearls before swine IMHO. You can’t force them to act, you can only write to try to correct things but not over and over a million times. You can only do your bit and if they are ignoring important concerns then the fact that you have tried your best will heap coals of fire on their heads, as the old saying goes. I don’t mean just write one letter, end of. Maybe a few to the same priest or bishop but after that, he’s toast! That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t write to another priest or bishop, I hope that’s clearer.

        I agree about having plenty of other options – thank goodness there are several traditional Masses across the Archdiocese of Glasgow now. It makes such a difference, and now I know there’s a 6pm Mass in Balornock – I hadn’t known that until editor’s post above somewhere. I prefer mornings of course but it’s useful to have that option for emergencies.

        July 29, 2022 at 3:08 pm
  • Margaret Mary Reply

    I agree, writing letters is a waste of time, and so is approaching priests to speak to them privately about any issues that might remotely sound like a “complaint”. A friend once suggested not talking about something to put it right but to say something along the lines of “I thought you would want to know that… (eg Mrs Smith broke her leg tripping over the pew kneeler last week) without mentioning the actual problem (i.e. that the kneeler was broken). Let him discover that for himself and then he’ll think he’s a genius and get it fixed, LOL!

    It’s not just priests you need use psychology with, though, it’s all men, LOL! They’re all as bad as each other!

    July 28, 2022 at 6:26 pm
    • Athanasius Reply

      Margaret Mary

      You don’t need to use psychology with this man, just slip me some cash and I’m your servant!!

      Seriously, though, I have never approved of using psychology or other indirect methods with the clergy when the stakes are high, for them as well as for the laity. The best way to approach any matter touching on faith is direct confrontation. It doesn’t go down well in my experience, however respectfully expedited, but it’s the way of Our Lord and the saints and that’s good enough for me.

      Readers here will recall the article I wrote about a parish priest in Glasgow who refused access to his church to all who refused to wear masks, sanitise their hands and sign a contact register. I confronted him with his faithlessness head on, warning him that his “no mask, no Mass or Sacraments” policy was likely to carry him straight to Hell. He remained entrenched in his error, however, probably because no one else challenged him. If many more lay people had demonstrated their disgust at his behaviour then maybe he would have thought better of it, but no one did. God have mercy on him and all such clerics who acted so scandalously during that manufactured COVID scam. And God have mercy on the bishops who enabled and encouraged them in their betrayal of their priestly duty. We really do have to pray for these men for they are dangerously teetering on the edge of the abyss.

      July 28, 2022 at 7:56 pm
  • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

    M.Mary whether writing letters Etc is a waste of Time it really all depends if they reach the person in The Church you want it to reach. When our Sunday T.L.Mass was cancelled many letters were written to The Bishop but of course they have to go through His Secretary or I should say have to get by His Secretary. Probably a Person who was once a Doctors Receptionist.

    Their were People though who actually went to His door and demanded to see Him in Person. He did come and meet them but just Fobbed them off with the usual double talk Garbage. Did it do any good ( who knows) if He has a Catholic Conscience ? It certainly must have. Of course it never got the TLMass reinstated.

    July 28, 2022 at 6:51 pm
  • westminsterfly Reply

    Re: Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s quote from the picture at the top of this thread. I would agree with every word of it, except you can’t get someone to act against their will. And if they are rotten, they are rotten, and barring a miracle of grace, you won’t change that. I did voluntary work in England for several years back in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s for an organisation which fought dissent from Catholic teaching in the Church in the UK. Most, if not all, of the priests / bishops and even cardinals that I met / dealt with ranged from being vague/non-committal to extreme hostility. That’s one of the reasons I gave up the work. When I went to Rome (one of several trips I made to the Curia) someone quite high ranking at that time from one of the Curial departments said ‘You are no longer dealing with honourable men. Learn that’. I did.

    July 28, 2022 at 7:19 pm
    • Athanasius Reply


      So tragically true!

      July 28, 2022 at 7:36 pm
    • Nicky Reply


      If the clergy are no longer “honourable men” and the Vatican knows it, they should be doing something about it instead of leaving it to us laity to bang our heads against brick walls, trying to get simple things done, like a return to Benediction and regular confessions, as Elizabeth says in her post above, and getting ridiculous excuses in return.

      July 29, 2022 at 9:21 am
      • Athanasius


        The problem is that the least honourable of all are in the Vatican!

        July 29, 2022 at 10:06 am
      • editor


        Reading your post above (@9.17am this morning, reminded me of the thread we ran on Athanasius’s confrontation with the “Glasgow Priest-Policeman” – I’d forgotten all about it and went to search for is just now – here’s the link. I remembering thinking that it makes thought-provoking reading at the time.

        I have to admit that your reference to Our Lord’s exhortation to “shake the dust” is something that has been on my mind a lot recently. Your point is valid and since the application of our Confirmation duty involves personal judgment to some extent, it makes sense to say (in Glasgow parlance) Gie’s a break, leave them to it, gonnae no DO that… i.e. keep banging on a closed door.

        More in due course…

        July 29, 2022 at 10:15 am
  • Francis de sales. Reply

    Priests does have a choice re Bishop or laity. Trust in priests is long gone as far as I’m concerned. It’s either priests who obeys his Bishop or ourselves if it came to crunch. At end of the day, its usually priest who bowed to his Bishop. Protest is perhaps the best way to protest to any Bishop preferably outside his residence. Ireland bishops might follow Scottish bishops in 5 years time re exposure of their double lives. For now, press are covering it up.

    July 29, 2022 at 3:06 pm
    • editor Reply


      Catholic Truth team members joined Fr Despard’s support group to pray and protest peacefully outside Bishop Toal’s residence and it made not a jot of difference.

      If someone’s conscience is dead, then he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of his scandalous behaviour and injustice. Such priests/bishops make excuses for their lack of charity (in the case of Fr Despard’s bishop, his lack of pastoral concern) and life goes on for them as before – at least, in this world. It’ll be very different in the next…

      July 29, 2022 at 11:49 pm
  • Catherine Reply

    I would like to say, I checked my calendar this morning and remembered the topic of the priesthood was being discussed here, (though I have still to read through the thread which I intend to do), and thought we could pray a novena to St. John Vianney for the priesthood and the vocations of young adult boys. It would start today. He is the Patron Saint of Priests, it would end on the eve of the Feast of St. John Vianney on the 7th of August. His Feast day is on the 8th August. Also it is the Feast day of St. John Eudes on the 19th of August. St. John Eudes wrote a wonderful book on the priesthood called ‘The Priest, His Dignity and Obligations’. All priests need our prayers as much as we need their prayers. May be someone knows a good novena to these saints. I will have a search too.

    July 30, 2022 at 8:35 am

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