Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Priests Should Be “Men Not Subject to Ephemeral Cultural Fashions”

March 12th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

So declared Pope Benedict XVI today at his noonday address. There has been a tone here lately among some commenters that we should give up – “the pope doesn’t care about us, and he can’t or won’t do anything.” This address should illustrate that the pope knows absolutely and precisely what is occurring in our diocese and other like it. My emphasis added.

VATICAN CITY, 12 MAR 2010 (VIS) – At midday today, the Holy Father received participants in a theological congress promoted by the Congregation for the Clergy, and which is being held on 11 and 12 March in the Pontifical Lateran University on the theme: “Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of Priests”. (Note the Holy Father’s clear parallel – a priest  is not just “one of the guys.” He is the “alter Christi.”)

In a time such as our own, said the Pope, “it is important clearly to bear in mind the theological specificity of ordained ministry, in order not to surrender to the temptation of reducing it to predominant cultural models. (“Predominant cultural models.” This means that we should always hold priests as priests, not these “sacramental ministers” heralded by the Diocese of Rochester. To have lay people running the Church in a time of prosperity, not persecution, is unnatural and ungodly.) In the context of widespread secularisation which progressively tends to exclude God from the public sphere and from the shared social conscience, the priest often appears ‘removed’ from common sense”. Yet , the Pope went on, “it is important to avoid a dangerous reductionism which, over recent decades … has presented the priest almost as a ‘social worker’, with the risk of betraying the very Priesthood of Christ. (This risk of “betraying the very Priesthood of Christ” is fully realized in Rochester. We see this in these numerous lay people, men and women, who claim to be leading a parish over a priest. Handle the business, and stay out of the sanctuary – that is what these lay administrators are called to do. They are not called by God to relegate the priest to a chair to pop up and say prayers on command.)

“Just as the hermeneutic of continuity is revealing itself to be ever more important for an adequate understanding of the texts of Vatican Council II”, he added, “in the same way we see the need for a hermeneutic we could describe as ‘of priestly continuity’, one which, starting from Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ, and over the two thousand years of history, greatness, sanctity, culture and piety which the Priesthood has given the world, comes down to our own day”.

Benedict XVI affirmed that “it is particularly important that the call to participate in the one Priesthood of Christ in ordained Ministry should flower from the ‘charism of prophecy’. There is great need for priests who speak of God to the world and who present the world to God; men not subject to ephemeral cultural fashions, (Priests are not supposed to be these counter-cultural rebels that we see here in many parishes. They are called, not to enforce a new social order, but to lead souls to God. How can one do this by playing fast and loose with the very teachings God gave His Church through Scripture and Tradition?) but capable of authentically living the freedom that only the certainty of belonging to God can give. … And the prophecy most necessary today is that of faithfulness” which “leads us to live our priesthood in complete adherence to Christ and the Church”. (Complete adherence, folks. Not “I feel called to do _____, even though there is no provision for it in Canon Law or Scripture, or Tradition.” No – you follow the Church (which, through the Holy Spirit, follows God). You cannot let yourself be swayed by such notions as self-importance. These come from Satan, who seeks the ruin of souls. Surely countless souls have been dashed on the jagged rocks on the coast that is “Rochester.”)

Priests, the Holy Father continued, “must be careful to distance themselves from the predominant mentality which tends to associate the value of Ministry not with its being, but with its function”. (A priest is more than a Sacramental Minister. The pope has said it – why can’t Bishop Clark?)

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One Response to “Priests Should Be “Men Not Subject to Ephemeral Cultural Fashions””

  1. Anonymous says:

    This website has got to be one of the most educational I've ever seen in terms of practical Catholicism. Well done!

    PS Albany is having their annual "Stations of the Cross in the Company of Clowns" during Lent.

    Check out

    I ask, what culture is clowning from?

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