By Father Jonathan Morris
As I watched a fellow Catholic priest spar with you on the March 9 edition of Hannity and Colmes, I hung my head in shame and sadness. My colleague in religion (whom I've never met) used the public airways and Internet to call you a heretic and hypocrite. Because he chose to do this in a public forum, I want you and your viewers to know, publicly, that as an analyst of this television network, I believe this good priest, who does great work, exercised, on this occasion, shockingly poor judgment. I consider his willingness to give his personal opinion about your status within the Church inappropriate and ill-considered, to say the least.
Regardless of the issue and arguments at hand, brandishing law without palpable love almost always repels. I must assume he just made an honest mistake.
The unfortunate event reminded me of the bigger question of the fast-eroding credibility among religious leaders in our nation and its causes.
I should start, or rather continue, at home with the Catholic Church, your church and mine. As you rightly stated in the same television segment, the systematic cover-up of sexual abuse within some sectors of Catholic Church leadership was a monstrous scandal and its affects will be long-lasting. Even those priests who were not involved in the mess, as I am sure is the case with the priest in question, can never forget that those of us who wear a clerical collar still conger up painful memories in many people's minds. The strange looks and rash judgments to which we are at times subjected is not the people's fault; it's ours, in as much as we are members of a very guilty family.
In this light, before we clergy members speak out publicly against public offenses, as sometimes we must do, we should ask ourselves and God why we are doing what we are doing, and what the best way to do it is, according to the circumstances, and always with palpable love. The question is not only if what we have to say is correct, but where, when, and how we should say it. I, for one, would have communicated my beliefs in a different way on more than one occasion if I had followed this advice.