Quo Vadis Pater
The priesthood would seem to me to have two natures. He is a man and must act with the grace given to him to be a man. Remember Genesis tells us, “Man and woman He made them”. Obviously, our soul decides what we are by God’s will, unfortunately because of sin, the wrong decision is made and often is blamed on a genetic disturbance. This is not a Godlike creation, but man’s own action. A man must be a man not some wimpy mixture of fear, cowardice and accommodation. He must be firm, fatherly, forthright and stand by his word, especially his promise to God as he accepts his vocation. Fortitude must be his watchword and fear of the unknown should not rule him. How can a man not thoroughly committed to such a way of life be a priest? He cannot succeed if he is a mummy’s boy. How then can he expect other men to follow him, let alone believe him and they will often control him? The man who is an anointed priest, a minister of the sacraments, those Holy Mysteries of God, instituted by Christ must have the courage of his masculine convictions. He must not be as many are, a weather vane that swings in the wind of contemporary thought, accommodating his parishioners’ vague private revelations and opinions of the Church’s teachings, of how the sacraments are administered or spin the Gospel to ease his ego, and fright of loosing many of his parishioners. He must teach instruct and insist, “This is the way the Church has given us and I for one cannot do otherwise”.
The Priest, through his beliefs, actions and thoughts and his living a life of prayer will always then have a close relationship with the Divinity of Christ. Devoted and obedient to the calling of his vocation, his spirit must be alive and conscience driven or else he will fail and I would not be him before Jesus as he, the priest answers for his derelictions and efforts to avoid suffering, mentally perhaps, for his vocation and who it represents. Difficult though it is for me to write, whatever excuses he tries to justify his compliance with other’s sinful acts and never a hint of correction.
We know the Bishops demand through an oath, obedience to their demands. These are the very people, who ignore or never seek to know the mind of the head of the Church here on Earth. I mean the Pope the Bishop of Rome. Look at the latest examples and the new spin on their obedience. I know of three occasions lately on how these unfortunates have shifted the blame quite happily on to their priests, their consulters. One bishop had his priests vote on whether the Latin mass should be offered in his Diocese and they voted no. The wrong kind of laity asked, it was the more conservative of their flock, so easy to refuse. Another, after meeting an Anglican bishop, who wanted the Church to accept him and his priests into the Church, this after meeting and having a papal agreement in Rome. The Bishop held a vote amongst his priests and they said no. The third one, using the same method enabled him to move a priest without accepting the responsibility himself. Not all the excuses and spin can hide the fact that there is a degree of falsehood and disobedience in these actions.
A priest ordained into the priesthood takes on or should take on the Virtues of Christ, who was perfect in every virtue. They take on the mantle of Christ and whenever they can many do not wear the clothing that gives them that image in the eyes of the world. Is it a lack of fortitude that drives them to do this, or is it they do not want to be bothered by any would approach them for help publicly, even to use the Sacramental Rite of Confession? Each Priest can only answer for himself he knows his own mindset.
It is unfortunate that truth is not revealed to a priest engrossed in his own comfort. In the west the laity knows instinctively and acts accordingly. We know they will not trust themselves in the confessional to such a man who is not both true man and true Christ.