Monday, September 14, 2009

Being A Priest.

Angela made a very incisive post on an article in her local diocesan rag by a chancery wonk lamenting that younger priests want to be, well, priests, not Dr. Phil, Swami Iamwithit, or Che Backwardcollar. She asked me for my opinion. Here it is:

I expect we will hear a good deal more of this non-sense over the next year as the Year of the Priest is hijacked into the Year of the Common Priesthood. In my diocese, this is done every year when at our Chrism Mass everyone renews their 'vows' of service.

I reject her fundamental claim that the Second Vatican Council rebalanced the relationship between the clergy and the laity. No! The Council reaffirmed the hierarchical nature of the Church and rejected any form of functional or 'just a job' understanding of the priesthood. (Though a good case can be made that the priesthood was denigrated to the benefit of the episcopacy.)

When she speaks about the decline of sacraments in favor of relevant ministries, we see the fruits of this misunderstanding of II Vatican. The priest cannot be a guru, social worker, or community organizer, he must be first and primarily an alter Christus. So, yes there is one model, the model of Christ the Eternal High Priest.

Young and a good number of older priests, far from coping with uncertainty or escaping into the past, are simply living out the reality of their vocation in a time tested manner. Living, dressing, and acting like a priest, not Che Guevara or Dr. Phil.
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