You might remember the record breaking post on the spot of bother down at EWTN concerning popular presenter Fr. Francis Mary. To recapitulate, he has made a statement that he has become involved in some way with a widow he was counseling and has decided to take a leave of absence to pray and reflect on his vocation. Such a period of discernment will presumably result in either Fr. Francis Mary’s continued (but probably more low-key) ministry at EWTN, or his request for laicization.

A few days ago, Fr. Benedict Groeschel expressed his upset with the bloggers who were jumping all over Fr. Francis Mary’s back. (By the way, I haven’t been able to find any really critical or unsympathetic posts by any credible bloggers in this vein.) The chastisement caused a huge uptick in stats here at FIB, as readers ran to their computers to see what was the matter.

I have tried to report the news on this sad story dispassionately up until now. Every time I here that a priest is considering leaving, I am reminded of my own home parish in Kentucky. We lost three priests in the course of five years in a similar fashion.

I need to reinforce this point: Pray, pray often for our priests. It always hurts to see our priests in pain, especially when it causes them to second-guess their vocation. I think it is important that we remember that priests, while consecrated, are also mortal men like us. We must pray hard for all priests, especially Fr. Francis Mary, as he holds a position of high exposure and esteem.

Moreover, we must pray that the hearts and wills of Catholics be conformed to the Will of God. Let us pray for detachment and healing for all concerned. Also, don’t forget to pray that EWTN, Fr. Francis Mary, and everyone associated with that apostolate will be free to continue their important work.