Tag Archives: priesthood

The shared priesthood in a family

stagon.JPGThe are differences in how the Christian churches view priesthood. Generally speaking the priests of the Latin Church are celibate. But there are exceptions made for those who were formerly members of the Anglican Communion as married ministers who come into full communion with the Church of Rome. Then in many of the Eastern Catholic churches there are both married and celibate priests. In the USA, more of the Eastern Catholic priests are celibate due to an implementation of a rule imposed upon because of a strife between a Latin bishop and Eastern Catholics.

Eastern Christianity has had a long and venerable tradition of a married priesthood. Peggy Fletcher of the RNS wrote a very fine story on a family with priests “doing God’s work with sincerity and earnestness” in “Like father like son(s): Boys follow their father’s calling,” (The Washington Post, July 1, 2013). I recommend reading the article.
I am not calling into question the valid spiritual discipline of a celibate priesthood in the Catholic Church; the celibate Catholic priesthood has a valuable spiritual tradition with good reasons for following in this manner. The point here is that among those in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church a man can validly follow the Lord as being married and being a priest. We have a history of it. Eastern Catholic Christians in the USA have been told by the authorities in Rome that a married priesthood is not possible. Certain biases are evident. American Eastern Catholic bishops say a married priesthood is part of the long, lived theological tradition –and it is part of canonical tradition– and that they ought to be free to ordain married men without issue. There are practical matters that always need to be accounted for, but one can say that both vocations, being married and being a priest, is possible. The article is less about a political statement than it is about the beauty of two vocations cohering well.

The vocation to be a priest relies on a daily dialogue with Jesus, living with the Church

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Seminarians get a letter from Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, Prefect of Congregation for the Clergy for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, advocating the need for the daily dialogue –the salvific meeting (an encounter)– with the Lord which builds a beautiful edifice of life and love. 

The cardinal highlights Pope Francis’ idea that in the priestly life there is a primacy of grace: a joy of bearing the cross of Jesus Christ, without which the priest is a mere functionary, not a disciple following a path cut out by the Lord –and, today, the Church– that is certain and life-giving. Only in the cross do we see the self-giving nature of God the Son; the lack of an embrace of the cross contributes to worldliness, secularism, the primacy of the self as the measure of all things.

Highlighted, too, is the faithfulness and thus dependence upon the proven tools of the spiritual life: silence, discernment, sacraments, spiritual direction, human and theological formation. Of course, all this demands that the formators in seminaries aren’t dysfunctional and ideological.

For more about the formation of men to be priests is a book written by the Most Reverend Massimo Camisasca, FSCB, The Challenge of Fatherhood (Human Adventure Books).

 

On the solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we celebrate most significantly the day for the sanctification of priests and, as you are in the Seminary to respond in the most fitting way possible to your vocation, it is important for me to send you this letter, with great affection, so that you may feel involved and, as such, remember this important occasion.

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Pope ordains 10 men to the priesthood of Jesus Christ

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Earlier today in Rome Pope Francis ordained 10 men to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. He showed up early to the sacristy to spend time in prayer with each of the men to be ordained. For bishops, ordinations are their way of being generative; the newly ordained are often referred to as spiritual sons of the bishop. The Pope ordained pastors, not functionaries; he ordained shepherds of souls, not church babysitters. Below is his homily.


Beloved brothers and sisters: because these our sons, who are your relatives and friends, are now to be advanced to the Order of priests, consider carefully the nature of the rank in the Church to which they are about to be raised.

It is true that God has made his entire holy people a royal priesthood in Christ. Nevertheless, our great Priest himself, Jesus Christ, chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name, and on behalf of mankind, a priestly office in the Church. For Christ was sent by the Father and he in turn sent the Apostles into the world, so that through them and their successors, the Bishops, he might continue to exercise his office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd. Indeed, priests are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God.

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Blessings, etc, at a priest’s First Mass

priestly first mass image.jpgWe are now preparing for the ordinations of men to the Order of Deacon and to the Order of Priests this time of year. With these ecclesial events, there is generally a lot of misunderstanding as to what is permitted, what is not, and who can restrict what. Imagine: liturgical and ecclesiological confusion in the Church! 

Plenty of newly ordained deacons and priests exhibit arrogance and a sense of entitlement that is both inconsistent with the gift of the priesthood and with the law of charity. Because a man is ordained, or given an office to exercise, e.g., pastoral care of souls in a parish or the abbatial office or the Vicar General’s office does not mean you’ve “arrived,” and that you can do whatever you want just because you are now “somebody.” Ask yourself, what example does Christ the high priest and head of the Church require? What does true priestly humility look like?

The ever attentive canonist Edward Peters on his blog (In Light of the Law) posted today a helpful primer to questions asked with regard to “Ordinations, first Masses, clerical blessings.” I recommend laity and clergy alike carefully read what Dr Peters has to say and carefully attend to the distinctions he makes.
***I hear that if you write for the special use of an indulgence, or the solemn pontifical blessing (a particular note needs to be added to your “worship aid”, or fax, the Apostolic Penitentiary, you will get a quick response. The Prefect is Manual Cardinal de Cordeiro. His address:
Palazzo della Cancelleria
Piazza della Cancelleria, 1
00186, Roma Italia

Pope moves Holy Thursday rites to a juvenile prison

Bergoglio washes feet of the young.JPG

The Holy See Press Office said today that Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the juvenile prison ‘Casal del Marmo’ in Rome. Known as Maundy Thursday is the first of the Three Sacred Days in Holy Week leading to Easter Sunday; this Liturgy is rooted John 13. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the priesthood. The Mass on Holy Thursday recalls that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples as an example of love, of service ; the washing of the feet known as the ‘mandatum.’ 

As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as you can note in the picture, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio celebrated Mass in a prison, hospital or hospice for poor and marginalized people. This move from Saint John Lateran to the prison is consistent with Francis’ previous pastoral priorities.

On 18 March 2007, Pope Benedict offered Mass in this same prison.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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