When was the last time you were need of a priest? Do you recall that once you called at the Parish Office and had to leave a message? Do you remember how the Parish Priest phoned you back? Perhaps you chose to visit the Church, hoping that you will be able to come across a veritable priest. You probably held your hands high up in despair the moment your priest rushed to another meeting. You most certainly felt a bit guilty for annoying him in the first place.
Catholic priests are too busy, but not necessarily because they are hearing confessions and saying Mass. In this day and age, priests not only are concerned with souls, but outright with running businesses and striking deals. Parish life has been transformed in a series of activities to raise funds, other lay and social activities and educational opportunities.
Apart from dealing with particular individual Parish problems, priests also have to promote the Diocesan agenda. No wonder that they are left with little or no time at all to hear confession and lead their shepherds.
I assume that priests get a lot of support. Many of them preside over staff and volunteers. This causes problems, since everyone will strive to be preferred by whoever is running the show and who happens to be the priest.
Priests are too much taken up, and not because of the vocation which they have had with so much joy and happiness. Some expect priests to be available all day long and every day. Is it indeed necessary for them to have to explain the consequences for taking revenge on your neighbour? Is it not enough that one listens to their sermons at Sunday Mass, when they tackle the consequences of so doing?
Priests require respect and dignity, like anyone else. Is it right for us to challenge them on any minor issue not to our liking? Do we indeed believe that with just one word they can change the world simply to accommodate us? Once they accommodate us, they normally would have to make other changes in order to please others.
Catholic reform necessitates that it comes from the Catholic community in general. We need to support our priests, and let them achieve their true vocation. We need to carry our cross, and stop behaving like spoilt children. We need to accept and live the teachings of our faith, without involving politics to transform it.
I am not saying that we should not let our voices heard. We can, and we should do so if there is truly something not in place. However, we do not have a licence to eradicate our faith because the rules thereof are not to our liking. We have no right to treat our priests as servants who are always with us any time of day.
We have every right to enquire about our faith. It is our duty to be good Christians, and adhere to the teachings of the Church, not in blind faith, but with a genuine faith. If we start to concentrate on the good of the Church, things would not be so bad. When things start to look better, perhaps we will be able to see whether any of our complaints truly justifies a genuine reform.