What are the lay faithful to expect from your pastors?

09-02-2018Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

Getting expectations right allows for proper and peaceful relationships. “Pastor” is simply the Latin word for “shepherd.” What is a shepherd expected to do? Good shepherds feed, nurture, and protect the sheep. That is what you should expect from your pastors: to be fed and nurtured from the table of word and sacrament and to be protected by the truth from error and sin. If your pastors are faithful in living their vocation as priests, in providing the sacraments of the Church, and in teaching the truth of the Church on faith and morals, then you have good pastors.

There is no expectation that a good pastor be particularly eloquent or organized, outgoing or funny, good at administration or fundraising, etc. It really does not matter if the sheep “like” the shepherd. What is important is that they trust and respect him because he feeds, nurtures, and protects them.

A bad shepherd is one who fails to feed, nurture, and protect the sheep. A shepherd is particularly bad if he preys on the sheep himself. We have seen such acts of bad shepherds in the reports of abuse by priests. These are bad shepherds, and they should be identified and removed from endangering the flock. Help should be offered to the victims of such priests. Failure to provide this help and to remove bad pastors are also acts of bad pastors, usually bishops, who are supposed to be the “overseers” of the flock. Ignoring the needs of victims and covering up the abuse of predators are terrible sins themselves. It is also the act of a bad shepherd not to identify and remove those who have failed in these ways no matter how “important” they may be. Pastors must defend the flock and speak the truth to the flock. Please expect your pastors to strive for holiness, to be generous in providing the sacraments, and to teach the faith according to the mind of the Church. You should expect no less.

Fr. John Sims Baker

P.S. Maybe this video will help some of you, as it helped me, to focus on the victims. Telling the truth about what happened is essential for any healing and correction to take place. It's about the victims, and they deserve no less. http://blog.newadvent.org/2018/08/fight-in-army-of-Christ-king-bishop.html

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