Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2022 Blog #22
June 6, 2022
Searching for Father Mulcahy and Fruit of the Spirit
The news is full of scandals once more. Most recently the media has been full of stories of sex scandals in the Southern Baptist Church. It wasn’t long before that when we heard of the scandals from the Mega-Church named “Hill Song.” From everything I have read or heard of these scandals they all start with the sin of pride. Clergy begin to feel entitled to act badly toward others. Most, if not all of the perpetrators of these crimes have been given celebrity status by congregations. Soon, these clergy members believe what is being said about them. They come to believe that they are special and there is a different rulebook for them than exists for other people.
Perhaps the bigger scandal is the ways that institutions move to cover up these abuse crimes instead of dealing with them with criminal prosecutions. Protecting the church becomes the goal instead of prosecuting perpetrators and caring for victims. In my opinion, these cover-ups are more egregious than the crimes themselves.
All of these scandals start with the sin of pride, making the organization an idol to be worshipped, sometimes replacing worship of Jesus and the following his teachings. As I see this pride rise and witness the negative effects of that pride, I find myself longing for simple and humble clergy. Father Mulcahy, where are you when we need you?
Father Mulcahy was not very charismatic and would never have been named as a celebrity. Whenever he said mass very few people attended. He never had the charisma that many churches bestow upon their clergy. He simply sat with hurting people and showed the love of Christ with his presence and reflecting the “fruit of the Holy Spirit.”
What is the “fruit of the Spirit?” St. Paul lists them in his letter to the churches of Galatia:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Increasingly people are choosing to not participate in Christian Worship. I wonder if that is because so few of us Christians demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit and that becomes obvious to those who are hearing God’s voice and are seeking a religious community.
If we wish to reverse the trend of people leaving faith communities perhaps it is time for us to imitate Father Mulcahy with our kind, gentle, Spirit-filled presence rather than the noise and spectacular presentations of pastors who are treated like celebrities. Let us all try to be Father Mulcahy-like. Maybe we can begin reversing this trend.
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order copy of his book:https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/