March 23, 2005

O'Malley cites challenges

Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff | March 23, 2005

Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, in his annual speech to the clergy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, said yesterday that being a priest ''is a great challenge" but that ''never has the world needed you more than now."

Speaking to scores of priests who participated in the annual Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End, O'Malley made no direct reference to the events that have recently challenged archdiocesan priests, such as the sexual abuse scandal and the closing of dozens of parishes.

Instead, he talked about the religious dimension of difficulty, saying that ''in a priest's life, suffering can be a grace." It was an allusion to his oft-repeated position that the pain caused to the church by the abuse crisis is part of a Christ-like journey.

Without commenting on how the biblical anecdote applies to today's situation, he pointed out that ''Jesus did not seem to pick the best and the brightest" as his disciples. Priests, he said, are to be ''vessels of clay, bearing treasures for God's people."

''Jesus, . . . in forming his spiritual army, did not assemble a well-groomed, highly disciplined, state-of-the-art army of Dale Carnegie communicators in polyester suits and well-moussed pompadours, but rather he went down to the wharves and called a ragtag dirty dozen to be the pillars on which he would build his church, a clear indication that the enterprise was to be more than met the eye," he said.

Posted by kshaw at March 23, 2005 07:07 AM