Father John McCarthy, a priest at St. Colman’s Cathedral, in the Diocese of Cloyne, County Cork, has spoken out about the “great honor” he still finds in being a member of the clergy in Ireland.
He said “It’s still a great honor, a very humbling honor at that, to be a priest of Jesus Christ. In fact, no earthly joy can even come close to that joy that you receive from being a priest of Jesus Christ.”
Last month a 400-page report on clerical abuse and the cover-up of this abuse was released. The release of this report which focused on the diocese of Cloyne and Bishop John Magee also led to calls by politicians for the imprisonment of priest who refuse to break the seal of the confessional having heard admissions of abuse.
Also the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny spoke in the Dail (Parliament) saying that Ireland was no longer a country “where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity, and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish-Catholic world.”
McCarthy told EWTN News “Of course it’s impossible to be a priest and not take stock or notice of these scandals. Most people are still very supportive and hugely appreciative of your availability, that you were there are key moments in their families life, that you showed them a small act of kindness.”
McCarthy has been a priest for 18 years. He made the decision to enter the priesthood having completed a science degree and a teaching diploma.
The Cork priest said “I’d say to any young man considering the priesthood that it’s a wonderful gift and a great privilege if Christ is calling you. It’s also a great opportunity for personal fulfillment and personal holiness.”
“There are many graces flowing for the heart of Christ in this modern secularized world, particularly in personal devotion to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.”
The Cloyne priest spoke to the Catholic News Network on August 4, the feast day of St. John Vianney, a 19th century French cleric and the patron saint of priests. In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI gave his this position and declared the 150th anniversary of his death as the beginning of the Catholic Church’s “Year of the Priest”.
He said “St. John Vianney is the great model of the priesthood. He is the great example of priestly holiness, simplicity, zeal for souls and care for people. Someone who radiated the love of Christ and drew people to Christ particularly through his preaching and time spent in the confessional.”
“In fact, he’s a great reminder of the dignity of the priesthood and of getting back to priestly basics when it can be so easy to be sidetracked by activism or administration."