Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Start Taking Notes, You Excellency

September 17th, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

From the Catholic News Agency: “Priests cannot be replaced by the laity, Pope Benedict explains“, emphasis added:

“Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Sep 17, 2009 / 10:27 am (CNA).- In an audience this morning with bishops visiting from Brazil, Pope Benedict XVI advised them on how to respond to the lack of priests, emphasizing that the shortage cannot be solved by having lay people substitute for the clergy.

The Holy Father began his address to the Brazilian prelates by pointing out the difference between the identity of priests and the laity. While the lay faithful share in the “common priesthood,” they are not ordained ministers of Christ and His Church. “Hence,” the Pope cautioned, “it is important to avoid the secularization of clergy and the ‘clericalization’ of the laity.”

Fulfilling the lay vocation, he explained, involves working to “give expression in real life – also through political commitment – to the Christian view of anthropology and the social doctrine of the Church.”

On the other hand, “priests must distance themselves from politics in order to favor the unity and communion of all the faithful, thus becoming a point of reference for everyone,” Benedict said.

When dioceses are faced with a lack of priests, the Pope emphasized that they should not resort to “a more active and abundant participation of the laity” since it could take away from their own calling.

“The truth is that the greater the faithful’s awareness of their own responsibilities within the Church, the clearer becomes the specific identity and inimitable role of the priest as pastor of the entire community, witness to the authenticity of the faith, and dispenser of the mysteries of salvation in the name of Christ the Head,” Benedict XVI stated.

The function of the clergy is essential and irreplaceable in announcing the Word and celebrating the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist,” he insisted, saying that for this reason it is “vital to ask the Lord to send workers for His harvest; and it is necessary that priests express joy in their faithfulness to their identity.”

Looking to the future, the Pope made it clear that “the shortage of priests must not come to be considered as a normal or typical state of affairs.”

He exhorted the bishops resolve the crisis by combining efforts to “encourage new priestly vocations and find the pastors your dioceses need, helping one another so that all of you have better-trained and more numerous priests to support the life of faith and the apostolic mission.”

As the Church celebrates the Year for Priests and the 150th anniversary of the death of the “Cure of Ars,” Pope Benedict pointed to the French priest as a model for priests, “especially in living a life of celibacy as a requirement for the total giving of self.” This total gift of self is “expressed through that pastoral charity which Vatican Council II presents as the unifying center of a priest’s being and actions,” he reminded.

The Holy Father ended his address on a positive note, assuring the prelates that “many signs of hope” exist for the future of particular Churches. This future, he said is one that “God is preparing through the dedication and the faithfulness with which you exercise your episcopal ministry.””

Alright, let’s review what the Holy Father said:

1. Laity assuming the role of clergy is not the solution to our priest shortage. This means that lay Pastoral Administrators, lay preachers, and lay “ministers” are all unnecessary and should not exist.

2. There is a difference between the ordained ministers and the laity. We each have our own respective roles that we should fulfill, and only those roles. Laity are not to act like priests, and priests are not to take a back seat while the laity do the job of priests.

3. “When dioceses are faced with a lack of priests, the Pope emphasized that they should not resort to “a more active and abundant participation of the laity”” — A shortage of priests does not mean that the laity should assume priestly roles! Especially a self-inflicted shortage… The Diocese frequently boasts about how laity are taking on a greater responsibility during our priest shortage, but this is not what the Holy Father is advocating.

4. It is important that we encourage priestly vocations. That means Pastoral Administrators, which shouldn’t exist to begin with, should not become a priest substitute. We should not become complacent and say “we don’t need priests, we have lay administrators.” Lay administrators shouldn’t try and protect their jobs by making little effort to encourage priestly vocations. We need more priests, we don’t need more nuns running parishes. The DoR needs to stop recruiting people for the Pastoral Administrator pool, and put more effort into recruiting priests.

God bless the Holy Father, it’s almost as if he was speaking about the Diocese of Rochester. I hope Bishop Clark takes notes, and studies them carefully, because the DoR is doing exactly the opposite of what the Holy Father desires.



13 Responses to “Start Taking Notes, You Excellency”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Who is the man in the picture?

  2. Dr. K says:

    Anne-Marie Brogan, P.A. of St. Mary's downtown.

    ~Dr. K

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Sister Emily says:

    When I read something like this, its gets me all worked up!!It is such a mystery to me why the DOR ignores instructions and info from Rome , this goes on and on and on. No one has ever given me an explanation that I can understand. It seems so simple to me. Your superior says NO! It means NO! If he says YES he means YES. Doesn't obedience fall in to play? Doesn't the Bishop know he is playing with Fire? I know I am screaming convert but I just don't get it!! This isn't about hamburg its about souls!! FRUSTRATING!!

  5. I personally don't think the Bishop gives two figs about Rome, so he just continue to abuse the liturgy and that in turn abuses the faithful.

    To get more priests, the faithful should tell the priest in their parish that they want Eucharistic Adoration (despite what McBrien says) and they want EA to pray for an increase in vocations. Then ask the priest to pray the prayer for vocations after Holy Communion.

    Also, stopping the pratice of altar girls would go a long way in recruiting more boys ad altare Dei.

    Serving at the altar is perceived as a girls job.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Serving at the Altar is a man's job.

    Altar boys become Priests.

    Men become Priests.

    Men become ordained Deacons.

    Women become Nuns in the Catholic Church.

    When was the last time that you saw a recruitment notice in the church bulletin for the Sisters of Mercy or Sisters of St. Joseph?

  7. Dr. K says:

    "When was the last time that you saw a recruitment notice in the church bulletin for the Sisters of Mercy or Sisters of St. Joseph?"

    I have seen these, but very rarely. These particular orders (SSJ especially) are dying off, and I don't see that trend reversing.

    ~Dr. K

  8. Gen says:

    I feel so sorry for these orders, especially since their founders were wonderfully pious women. How far they (most) have strayed.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Before I left St.Anne I politely complained about the gum chewing, arms folded, young ladies serving and i was told they did not want to rock the boat as servers were hard to come by.??

  10. Gen says:

    So that's why they so readily cast one out?

    Double standards make me sick.

  11. Tony says:

    I don't have any sons, so I guess my answer to your question would be zero. How about you, Irondequoit Catholic? How many of your sons are priests?

  12. Anonymous says:

    "Dear Conservative Catholics,

    How many of your sons are priests?"

    Sir or madam,

    I am a priest who you would probably classify as "conservative." So my answer to your question is none, since I have made a promise of celibacy.

    It is a proven fact that the more orthodox dioceses are the ones with the highest percentage of vocations per Catholic individual.

  13. Gen says:

    I think IrondequoitCatholic speaks with a spirit more akin to Christ the King Parish than Christ the King Himself.

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