Of late priests, godmen, gurus and other religious leaders are showing a sordid side of themselves! Rape, molestations, blackmail, assaults, greed and debauchery seem to be springing from their holy loins and seeing this there seems to be a growing disenchantment from their followers for all things holy!

“If priests are like this, what’s the point of being spiritual?” many ask.

“Is there any point in being good, when they themselves fall like this?” ask others.

“If religion can’t keep them from wickedness, how will it keep us from the same?” ask the youth.

Many years ago, there was an old lady, who was a close friend. She lived in an old folks home, after her husband passed away, and though she reached the grand old age of ninety, used to ask me to pick her up, once a month and take her out. Once, while driving back, I told her about a priest who I felt was quite corrupt. “How can he call himself a priest?” I exclaimed angrily.

“Bob!” she said turning to me, a youngster who she knew was disillusioned, “Behind those priestly robes there lies a man!”

I have never forgotten her words. What she meant was, I should remember that like all men and women, these people who we consider religious are also tempted, are also a prey to the lust of the flesh and can fall a victim to greed. They have the power to withstand those temptations as long as they focus on God. The moment they look away, they become but men.

Decades ago, I flew down to Kentucky to attend the ordinationof my brother, as a priest. It was a wonderful ceremony and later as we were about to have lunch, he turned to me and asked, “Any advice, big brother?”

“Yes!” I said, “But it’s not about a Christian priest I’m going to give you the example off. It’s a swami in Kolkata!” My brother leaned forward. “This swami,” I said, “had many devotees, but he had a peculiar way of blessing them. When they bent down in front of him, he blessed them with his feet!”

“What’s your point?” asked my brother with his eyes.

“Sometimes,” I said, “A women would bend down and as she did, her sari would fall away from her shoulders! Immediately, the swami kicked her out of the way!”

“He kicked the sight of temptation out of his sight!” said my brother softly to himself.

As long as our eyes are focused on God, we will not fall. Even now as we are appalled at what these priests are doing, we are looking at them. Stop doing so; these are but men behind those cassocks, those priestly robes, turn your eyes on God only and you will not fall, even as they did, turning away from Him..! 

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