What will the collar represent now? –  Fr. Jonathan Slavinskas

Every morning when I put my collar on I pray for a deeper awareness of the great responsibility and magnitude of what it represents. I am aware of my sinfulness and unworthiness to even touch it. Any of my friends or family can let you know my failures, they’ve seen it first-hand. I know what it’s like to say the words, “Father forgive me for I have sinned,” or to pray a perfect act of contrition before I celebrate Mass.

I was a high school and college student when the priest scandals first broke in the Northeast. I knew the constant scrutiny and the shadow that would be cast if I chose to become a priest. I knew the eyes of suspicion that would follow the title “Father”. But I moved forward in ministry and then into many parishes, resolute in my vocation.

This week I have been walking around with a heavy heart. I have been completely angry and frustrated as a result of the Pennsylvania abuse reports and the McCarrick situation. My continual prayer has been for the victims. As each news story continues, my heart is torn more apart. Now, what does the collar represents the complete opposite of what it should. As I walked around, I wonder how many people who glance at my collar will wonder, “Is this one too?”

What Will the Collar Represent Now?

These past days as I moved from the rectory to the church, from the halls of the nursing homes and hospitals, as I’ve passed out school supplies to numerous neighborhood youth, I’ve had this one thought, “Take the collar off.”

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