Fr Stephen Langridge, the Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Southwark, has had to cope with one of the effects of the Cardinal O'Brien scandal in pastoral life, that is, its impact on the morale of those who are considering a priestly vocation.
Young men who are thinking of the priesthood meet up with their friends in secular life and routinely have to face media-driven prejudice. With a story like this, the heat increases and there is sometimes an understandable temptation to despondency. Fr Langridge offers a moving Word of Encouragement as a true pastor:
How would we react if we were to discover that our father was committing adultery? I am sure there would be a range of emotions including anger, confusion and great sadness. But would we blame our mother? No. We would cling to her more closely. We would try to console her by the warmth of our love. We would stick with her. When the Church has been wronged by one of her members it should evoke within us a desire for reparation and a determination to respond with greater fidelity. Our fidelity is shown in little things: in getting up on time, in doing a day's work, in looking after our prayer, in our service of our neighbour, in our determination to turn away from sin.Please pray for the young men who are going through the selection process this year, and for their vocations directors.
This isn't a time to get disheartened. It is a time to be more faithful. That is what the Lord is asking of you today. Please be assured that I am praying for you.