You’ll see his name added to the prayer list in the sidebar.
I received, just a few minutes ago, an email from a friend in his parish, asking for prayers. Fr J has ended each of the Masses he has celebrated today with the announcement that he is leaving the parish, and the confession that he is an alcoholic and leaving to enter a treatment facility.
I’ve lived with alcoholism and addiction – grandfather, uncles and cousins on both sides of the family, my mom, my second husband…
It’s a nasty business, chemicals dominating a person’s body and soul, demanding more and more for itself and leaving so little a shell in its wake. I’ve been enjoying Adrienne’s posts on the 12 Steps for Catholics in large part because – even though I seem to have escaped the addiction gene – alcoholism still shapes a lot of the person I am, and am constantly trying to make and keep peace with.
One of the worst facets of addiction is the denial that there’s a problem. That’s why the First Step toward recovery, admitting that one has a problem, is so monumental an accomplishment.
It seems even more impressive to me that this priest should take this step now. He has had to greatly humble – even humiliate himself – before his parishioners – and this goes completely against the grain of a Church where the authority (even when it unhealthily feeds his ego) of a priest is sacrosanct. He owed his parish nothing in the way of an explanation; he might have saved “face” by not revealing the details behind his exit.
But he has chosen a better way, I suspect, and for that I admire him immensely.