Over the years I have read words of St. Jean Vianney quoted by different groups promoting prayer for priests. I have never been able to find the exact source of those words, but they have always remained with me. He is reputed to have said, "There is no such thing as a bad priest, only priests whose people have not prayed enough for them."
It seems to me that St. Jean is saying that we get what we deserve. If criticism and gossip are more common than prayer for our priests, how can we expect spiritual growth in our priests and our parishes? This Year of the Priest is a good opportunity to begin or renew our resolve to contribute to a spiritual shield for our Catholic priests through donations of Eucharistic adoration, prayer, and sacrifice.
We all know that some priests have done seriously bad deeds, but St. Jean Vianney's words should force us to take a closer look at ourselves. He was reminding the laity of their obligations toward priests. Too often it seems all one-sided, with the priests doing all the spiritual enriching and the congregation all the taking. St. Jean's words are a needed reminder that despite all of priests' obligations toward us, we have obligations of our own toward them to attend to. It's easy to be takers instead of givers, but God expects us to spiritually support His priests. To Venerable Conchita Jesus said, "...I want souls who are dedicated with fervor, with determination and without looking for rest, to plead day and night for My priests."
Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests, and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests. Amen.