Sunday, August 03, 2014

Vocation: non ministrari sed ministrare

Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi: Fr. David at my parish.

Recently someone made the point that the few would-be Catholic women priests want to be in the clergy, not the priesthood. (How many of them love our teaching about the Mass?) Liberals are among the biggest believers in clericalism, which my old friend Jeff Culbreath named for me: "collar lust." It's a sort of parody of our real belief, which is sacerdotalism. Anyway, the priesthood exists to serve the community, not the needs or wants of the priest. He offers (makes present) Christ's sacrifice and sacrifices himself. "I like church services" or "I want to be a priest" aren't good enough reasons to try to be ordained. Rather, you can make a case that the community chooses you. Who are some of the natural leaders, in the parish and elsewhere? There are non-parish ministries but they're the exception.
To the laity, without whom we would look silly. - Newman
An unsung hero priest I knew in a way: self-described shanty Irish who went to seminary in the '40s and worked in a New Jersey parish in relative obscurity for decades, including after the council, doing what he was told liturgically but in the confessional and the bulletins teaching right out of the old catechism and manuals. The man hardly knew me but he formed my conscience.


  1. The community chooses a mayor, a governor, a president but not a priest. A priest has a calling from God to fulfill the ministry of the Holy Orders. His vocation is divine not democratic. The Church is a hierarchial organisation, in which there cannot exist secular democracy.

    1. I thought of that but I say this is a main way God lets you know.

      I think the Eastern way of expressing that is its theological emphasis on holy orders being the property of and in the context of the church (yes, the Christian community), so Eastern theology talks less about valid orders outside the church. There that issue is opinion, undogmatized. In their range of opinion some deny there are orders outside the church.


Leave comment