"Oh! If we could only understand what it means to deliver a soul from hell, I'm sure that many of you would risk any danger in the hope of saving even one person.
How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace. No wonder that the holy virgin, Catherine of Siena, kissed the ground where preachers had walked because they were fellow-workers with Christ. Nothing pleases God more than to be his Son's helpers and to undertake the charge of saving souls. Nothing brings more joy to the church than those who restore souls to spiritual life, thus despoiling hell, defeating the devil, casting out sin, opening heaven, making the angels glad, glorifying the most holy Trinity and preparing for themselves a never-fading crown." - (Voices of the Saints by Bert Ghezzi)
Charles Borromeo's (1538-1584) fired-up words unfortunately reminds me of the pastors I've encountered that made me and my husband leave a particular church and seek spiritual guidance elsewhere.
Years ago a friend of mine and I were talking about what makes a good pastor. She always said that if a parish is spiritually fed, the money will follow. As time has passed in my faith journey, I agree with her more and more.
I have watched from the sidelines as two parishes my husband and I have attended lost parishioners in droves becoming shells of what they once were because of the pastors. Miraculously those pastors were transferred to other parishes leaving behind their devastation not only to the parish, but the surrounding community as well.
There doesn't seem to be any backlash for a pastor who can't shepherd. He gets transferred to his next assignment and that's that and the people are blamed for not supporting the church. It's hard to put money in the basket every week, when the guy giving the homily is not known for his "people skills."
I have looked in the eyes of people who have been hurt by pastors. They move on. But they leave behind their spiritual home, family and friends. It takes a long time to recover. My husband and I have been through it twice. The first time was horrific. The second time, we were hurt, but not surprised.
So this is what we should expect as Catholics? I hope not. I've met some great pastors. And not only was the proof in the volunteers that were willing to give of their time, talent and treasure, the proof was in the church bulletin when the weekly budget was met.