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.