When I saw the video of Fr. Stephen Schumacher from the Archdiocese of St. Louis standing in front of the city’s statue of St. Louis, while surrounded by an angry mob, I knew it was a pivotal moment for priests in this country. This young priest attempted to engage with an angry mob set on destroying a statue of a saint they know nothing about, which was evidenced by the ignorance being shouted at him as he attempted to offer a history lesson about the king and saint.
As radical secularism continues her march towards the Church, propelled forward by the diabolical forces that ultimately fuel such rabid hatred, priests will be asked to defend the truth in ways that have been unknown in this country during our lifetime. Fr. Schumacher showed the angry mob and the world what it is to stand with and in Christ as a Catholic priest, even in dangerous situations. He put his life in danger in order to spread the Good News.
The priesthood has suffered tremendously under the weight of the sex abuse scandals for the last 18 years. It has suffered even longer under those who sought to make the priesthood in their own image and the image of the world, abandoning Christ and the flock entrusted to them. Regardless of these stains, Christ loves His priests and so should we.
Much will be expected of priests in the coming years, whether they can see it yet or not. There are plenty who do, such as Fr. Schumacher who—guided by the Holy Spirit—was able to withstand a very dangerous situation in patience and charity. It will not be the last time he finds himself or his brother priests in such a situation. In the future, he and his brother priests may be asked to sacrifice their freedom or blood. More mobs will come. Priests’ radical witness to the Gospel will be greatly needed in order to shine light into the darkest places within the hearts of so many lost souls.
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