Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Sacerdotal Duties

March 19th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

It alarms me that there are in the Church several bishops and priests who see no value in the Church as it is, nor in Her Sacraments as they were ordained to be. They constantly seek to refresh Her, adding “fun and exciting” new twists to Her ministry, and interesting new interpretations on the Sacraments.

A priest’s duty is to defend the Sacraments, not to re-invent them. How any ordained man can willingly turn from the revealed paths of holiness, and embrace shadowy phantoms of Truth escapes me. A priest is called to be “alter Christi,” the other Christ. How can a priest, no matter his zeal, his love for God, or anything else, say, “nah, I think I can divine my own view of the Church and Her Sacraments”?

St. John Chrysostom once wrote, “For he who does not desire to be exhibited in possession of this authority (i.e. priesthood), does not fear to be deposed from it, and not fearing this will be able to do everything with the freedom which becomes Christian men.” 

I do not write this to condemn priests, but rather, to ask that our priests realize that, although they owe the bishop their allegiance, there is a higher allegiance – to God, and to His vicar on Earth, the pope, the bishop of bishops. A bishop of a diocese has authority there – this is not up for discussion. However, if he alters the Church against the will of the Holy Father, this is serious.

Our Lord did not descend to Earth and permit his followers leeway in their beliefs. He made it perfectly clear that all of Creation deals in absolutes: good and evil, light and darkness, valid and invalid. This applies to the sacraments of the Church just as it applies to anything else, and a priest has the duty to defend the sacraments’ integrity. If people begin to lose faith in the True Presence, the priest must step forth and give the Church’s clear teaching. If people begin to think that communal penance takes the place of individual confession, the priest must reinforce that one must go to confession – these services do not forgive sins sacramentally. If people begin to think that the anointing of the sick is something trivial, to be given for a sniffle or runny nose, the priest must explain the sacrament’s true reason for being.

There is no room for doubt in the ranks of the clergy. It’s as simple as loving Christ by loving His Church. To insist on an altered form of the sacraments is akin to saying “Hey, honey, I love you so much – but you really need a nose job.” The Church’s sacraments are timeless and perfect. Passing trends and fads have no place in their rituals.

Pray for our priests. We have so many good ones, and we need so many more. Pray for our seminarians, too, that they be filled with a zeal for the Church as it is, as Christ made it – not as men have polluted it.

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One Response to “Sacerdotal Duties”

  1. Scott/Mary says:

    My husband and I were privileged to see the performance, "Vianney" last night at St. Mary's in Auburn. It was an awesome play about St. John Vianney's life. Leonardo Defilippis did the one man play in front of 500+ people. All were moved and inspired by the performance. After the play ended, Defilippis came out and spoke with all his soul about the priesthood. He uplifted and affirmed the two priests in the front row (there may have been more) he praised the family where priests come from, (John Vianney's mom was a big part of encouraging his vocation) and he prayed out loud for vocations especially in this diocese which he said was very "dear" to him. (not sure why)He spoke directly to all the boys present and begged them to listen to see if God was calling them. He spoke to the girls, and said when they grow up, and become mothers to encourage their boys to become priests.
    He hopes to take his production to the holy father. It was so perfect. I know it was blessed by our Lord who was shining down on all present. I wish everyone could have seen it. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the feast of St. Joseph (after the Mass of course)

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