I am a new Catholic and new to Aiken. St Mary's is our church and we recently witnessed a real tragedy in our parish and church as a whole as Father Wilson announced the news of the removal of Father Flores. His words were halting and filled with shock and disappointment as he attempted to hold back tears. It was painful to watch. This was his brother in faith and he was truly devastated by this revelation and the understanding that a very learned and committed brother had essentially thrown his life away with both hands.
The Catholic Church has been embroiled in self inflicted shame. The church has lost parishioners, standing in the community and has suffered embarrassment. Following the release of the information to the public, I received a call from a friend who is not Catholic asking if I knew and how I felt about it. Oddly enough we had just been discussing the very subject the night before during dinner. That's what Catholics do now, we are called to defend our loyalty to our faith.
As a five year convert I don't always have chapter and verse nor a lifetime of Catholicism to refer to. What I do have is an understanding that was expressed to me by the priest who guided me through my conversion, Father Sebastian. He explained simply that even priests are human beings and therefore also fallible. They also must pray and be prayed for. None of us is without sin and Jesus died for those sins.
I am deeply saddened by this turn of events. I personally liked Father Flores and am sorry to see so much dedication and education tossed to the wind via social media, a tool of knowledge and the apple of evil in our time.