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Saturday, August 15, 2009

From Crisis to Hope - Fr. MacRae

Today, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, perhaps the best way we can honor her is to honor her sons. I'm thinking of one faithful son in particular who is locked away in a prison cell, still seeking justice. And how many of our priests are in the same position, having missed out somewhere on the "due process" that failed in the modern witch hunt that, while eradicating those who would do harm, also allowed those who are innocent to be swept up and cast away?

When criticizing our Criminal Justice system, people often cite the number of people wrongly accused and still convicted and imprisoned. It is one of the biggest arguments out there against the death penalty, for of course, no one wants to see an innocent person put to death. Nor do people of good will want to see any innocent human being imprisoned for 30 years or more. That is not justice.

What I find so ironic, though, is that when it comes to imprisoned priests, everyone is crying out for their blood and assuming guilt. Everyone wants "justice" for the victims, and yes, we all do. But what of those who were falsely accused and in fact, are the victims themselves, never having hurt anyone? And STILL unceremoniously cast into prison, their protests ignored, for even the accusation became "evidence"?

Where are the critics of the system that falsely imprisoned priests? Are priests somehow magically excluded from the inherent problems in our legal system?

But one voice does cry out from his prison cell: one voice. Father Gordon MacRae has a story to tell, one that is well documented, and he's not willing to give up.

Today he writes an incredible post about how one person heard him and sought to help, and in so doing, has finally given him hope again. Finally, he is being heard by the faithful....are you one of them? Are you willing to listen, or will you turn away assuming this isn't worth your time and that the only good priest is a dead one?

Let us remember the corporal acts of mercy, one of which is to visit the imprisoned. Maybe we can't all visit Fr. MacRae in person, but we CAN visit his blog and leave a word of encouragement and a promise of prayers.

Here is an excerpt of Father's post for today:

It was one year ago this week on the solemnity of the Assumption that Suzanne published her first blog post launching Priests in Crisis. It was one day after the Church honors the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe. It came as no surprise to me that Suzanne is a member of the Militia of the Immaculata, a movement founded by Fr. Maximilian before he was imprisoned at Auschwitz. He pointed everyone he met to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is no mystery why Priests in Crisis entrusts wounded priests “to Mary their Mother.”

I don’t think most people can readily grasp how important the apostolate of Priests in Crisis has been for me.

The most difficult aspect of being a priest in prison is that I am virtually silenced. The shouts of the mob vilifying me and others who have been accused have long since stifled our efforts to speak truth. From my prison cell over the years, I have written thousands of letters to hundreds of priests, bishops and Catholic lay leaders. Earning but $2 a day in prison labor, everything I had went to postage, paper and typing ribbons. I was relentless in my writing for years. Ninety-five percent of those I wrote to never responded. I wrote pleading for fairness for accused priests, but it mostly fell upon deaf ears. One priest sent my letter back to me with a terse note instructing me never to write to him again.

Those who did answer over the years, however, stand out as people who speak and write with the authority of truth. Among these were two very special men who became my lifeline for communication with our Church. They were Cardinal Avery Dulles and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. They encouraged me to write and to never stop writing. Then, suddenly, within months of each other in 2008, they were gone. I have read many tributes to them both, and I know that many miss them. I believe that I miss them most of all for without them, I was silenced again.

Please go and read the rest, and mark this blog as one to follow.

And even more importantly, please keep Fr. MacRae in your prayers, and all priests, especially those who have been wrongly imprisoned.


bayouchild said...

amazing faith and an example for the rest of us-we tend to think those days are over but persecution of Christians is worse now than anytime in history.

Karinann said...

I tweeted his post this morning.Words fail me every time I read either of his blogs. I first heard about the Priests in Crisis site from you, I'm glad I did. Thanks and God Bless!

Regina said...

Thank you so much for this post today... I went to Fr. MacRae's blog and also Priests in Crisis- and I am deeply ashamed to say that I had no idea of Father's plight and the injustice being done to him and perhaps hundreds of other falsely accused priests... I have linked to those websites and I will indeed, be one of those now who will pray and fight for justice for all those wrongly imprisoned.

Rachel Gray said...

Thank you for calling this to our attention!