Do You Pray for Priests?

National Review

By Kathleen Beckman, interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez

September 29, 2018

An urgent need for all of us.

Pray for Priests. It’s the constant refrain of Kathleen Beckman, a friend and adviser to many of them. She is a founder of the Foundation for Prayer for Priests and the author of the upcoming Praying for Priests: An Urgent Call for the Salvation of Souls. At this time, when so much scandal is coming to light, it’s a call for more who believe in Christ and love their faith to take it more seriously. She talks about the priesthood and the Church and the call to prayer and sacrifice in an interview.

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Some of the news stories — certainly the August Pennsylvania grand-jury report — that have come out about abuse are unbearable to read. It all gives some window into the suffering of men and women who have experienced abuse at the hands of priests. What is your prayer for those who have suffered such abuse?

Kathleen Beckman: As unbearable as it is read the horrific accounts of clergy sexual abuse, we must face this reality if justice is to be done for the victims and the perpetrators. The victim’s pain is a heavy weight upon my heart. At daily Mass and holy hour, I pray that victims will experience Christ’s personal, transformative love. Intercessory prayer is powerful; it stirs God’s heart to intervene in miraculous ways. Fasting and offering up suffering is part of my intercession. As a layperson, I have a duty to pray and work toward building up the Body of Christ. The Church is my family — hearts are broken, minds are baffled, we are ashamed of sins and crimes, and ridiculed for staying. The Church is God’s family. He will purify and revive us. I pray that we will earn the back trust through necessary reform and renewal.

Lopez: Do you pray for the perpetrators? Do you pray for those who have died?

Beckman: Indeed, I pray for the living and dead perpetrators because love of God demands prayer for the conversion of sinners and salvation of souls. As president of the Foundation for Prayer for Priests apostolate, I sometimes receive correspondence from lay, deacon, or clergy prison chaplains. A deacon once wrote asking for prayer for an anonymous elderly priest who had been incarcerated for years — despondent over his horrible deeds, living in fear that he would be forever damned to hell. The chaplain described the daily agony of this priest’s tormented soul as self-hatred consumed him. For love of the Eternal High Priest, I pray for the priest “most in need of His mercy.” If we aim to be Christ-like, justice and mercy must intertwine as they did when Jesus hung on the Cross praying to His Father for the forgiveness of his murderers.

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