Father Michael Cronin believes the devil wants us to focus on the negative news that has been reported concerning clergy sexual misconduct.
“’The light came into the world, but people preferred the darkness’ (John 3:19),” he said. “I think Jesus is referring to the human tendency to forget the ‘good times,’ when we are faced with the pains of sin, suffering and temptation.”
Father Cronin continued, “With all of the negative media focused on the actions of a few clergy, it may be easy to forget the light, the light in Christ’s incarnate presence and the grace of the sacraments that the priesthood provides.”
#whypriests – an undertaking using print and social media (thus, the hashtag) – is the brainchild of Father Cronin, parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish and chaplain at St. Mary High School, both in Storm Lake and parochial vicar at Early Sacred Heart and Schaller St. Joseph.
“I was driving recently, thinking about the abuse crisis and the negative light it puts on the priesthood,” he said. “I thought a ‘thank-you’ or a ‘favorite memory’ campaign might allow lay people an opportunity to talk about the ways they’ve been blessed by the priesthood.”
The #whypriests effort is an initiative to bring an affirming light to the church and its clergy in the midst of the recent negative media coverage, locally and nationally, Father Cronin pointed out.
“#whypriests, using both print and social media, provides an opportunity for Catholics in the Diocese of Sioux City to participate in this positive movement,” he noted.
Kara Kardell, with the diocesan office of evangelization, expressed her enthusiasm for the pro-clergy campaign.
“I found Father Cronin’s suggestion a great fit to the current #whyistaycatholic campaign,” she said, referring to the diocesan endeavor which offers encouragement to those who are disheartened by ongoing abuse scandals.
“I definitely think providing the laity with the opportunity to express their gratitude would enhance #whyistaycatholic,” added the assistant director of youth and young adult ministry for the diocese.
The Catholic Globe is inviting readers – lay, clergy and women religious – to submit a memory or reflection about a priest. Please limit your insights to no more than 150 words. Submissions may be edited for length. Please indicate your name, hometown and daytime telephone number for verification. Following the theme of #whyistaycatholic, submissions will be part of a series called #whypriests; be aware your insights will be posted to social media.
What should you write about? Here are some suggestions:
- A life-changing moment
- One conversation that sticks with you
- Priests you admire or inspire you
- An experience that made you smile
Submit your story by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to The Catholic Globe, PO Box 5079, Sioux City, IA 51102. Deadline for the first submission is noon, Jan. 2, 2019. Questions may be directed to the same email or by calling (712) 255-2550.