Ever since I've had some time on my hands, I find myself tuned in more and more to EWTN. Tonight Life on the Rock came on and that prompted me to do a search of Father Francis Mary who used to host the show with Father Mark. I guess I was hoping to hear he repented and returned to the priesthood via a life of prayer and penance, but that's not what I found. I found almost nothing since he resumed the name "Dave Stone" and was last heard from hawking a so-called "New Age" energy drink while living with the widow for who he left the priesthood.
What shocked me during this search was just how many priests once featured on EWTN in one capacity or another have either been defrocked, voluntarily left the priesthood or disappeared altogether in a mire of scandal. This is by no means an indictment of EWTN. There are still many faithful priests, Father Mitch Pacwa among them, who manage to juggle their duties at the network and of the priesthood without difficulty. I just never realized how many celebrity padres were entrapped by the Father of Lies.
It got me to thinking about other priests who were not EWTN rock stars but who nonetheless were targeted and succumbed to evil. A priest who was friends with the friend of a friend, one of those you could easily picture being martyred one day, shocked us to the core by taking up with a woman he was allegedly exorcising. Another priest, a distant family friend, hanging around with boys half his age and dressing as a lay-person. When he finally got the boot many people asked : What took so long?
I pray for priests every day but I'm ashamed to say that what I have been negligent about is praying for the Corapis and Stones of the world as well as the Cuties and Euteneuers. Just as I try to pray for wayward souls among my family and friends, I should be praying for those who rejected "the love of the heart of Jesus Christ" (St. John Vianney). It's not for me to speculate what kind of mercy is shown to ex-priests. It just seems to me that while we're in the final days of the Novena exalting the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ, we could remember to recommend to Him the souls of those who have bolted from the vineyard before the harvest.