Monday, September 21, 2009

Benedict Puts Male Celibate "Priesthood" ahead of Eucharist

What is the most important sacrament in the Catholic Church? Benedict would seem to say "Ordination." Benedict met with the bishops from the poor and northeastern area of Brazil, which suffers horrifically from a priest shortage. He told them to hold fast in preventing the line between the laity and priesthood from being blurred. In many of the remote areas of Brazil, lay people have been trained to lead discussions of faith and scripture. The people of these areas are lucky if they see a priest every six weeks. As such, some of these communities also celebrate eucharist together. Benedict does not state this, but his reminder that the priest "is essential and irreplaceable in announcing the word and celebrating the sacraments" makes clear his two concerns. Perhaps this blurring would not be the case if the reins on ordination were not so restricted. And although I respect the amount of education that is normally required for priests, exceptions should be made in rural areas where people do not have academic training so that eucharist, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, and other "priestly" minstries can be readily available. In the mean time, how can we expect Catholics to go six weeks to six months at a time without Eucharist? Would we simply accept this situation of "no eucharist" in a place like Milwaukee? I do not think so.

A Faithful Catholic


Anonymous said...

The priest shortage is a problem, so I'm glad Rome is thinking about vocations.

Many parishes and families have a culture that deters youngsters from considering religious life. That's going to have to change if we hope to see priests regularly too.

At the same time, the Church has done a poor job of promotion --it's never had to. The posters we see in the lobby are pretty weak. Many of our priests are older, and though they are great men, they're not recruiters or poster boys for the priesthood.

I agree with you that kids who see a priest only every six weeks aren't likely to put much thought into "joining the life."
But I think it is wise to put resources and effort into vocations before the situation is worse.

I'd love to hear intelligent ideas for generating interest in religious life among young men and women. Better yet, have any of us talked with a youngster lately, and said, "Have you considered the priesthood?" It'll take a lot of asking before we get a "yes," but we won't get if we don't ask.

CatholicSoldier said...


The Catholic Church in Korea during the missionary period went without the Eucharist for decades because of persecution and the non-presence of priests. When told that the laity could not Preside over the Eucharist, they accepted this teaching with obedience and prayer.

I know you understand the theology of the Eucharist, the Mass and the Priesthood; you just choose to discount and ignore it.

The Eucharist is the Source and Summit of the Church's Spiritual Life, but that exercise requires the presence of the "Alter Christi" or of the Priest acting "In Personae Christi".

Perhaps you would benefit from exercising your faith as the first Korean Christians did, in Obedience and Prayer.

Mark said...

As I have written before, the laity are totally superfluous to the Church. Any group that asks young boys at age 15 or so, or even younger, to pledge to be celibates for life is very strange. Do you really think B16 is concerned about those who do not have the sacrament? Don't kid me.

Terrence Berres said...

F.C. posted "how can we expect Catholics to go six weeks to six months at a time without Eucharist? Would we simply accept this situation of 'no eucharist' in a place like Milwaukee?"

Considering the decline in Mass attendance, increasing numbers of Catholics don't seem bothered by going without the Eucharist entirely. And most of our priests don't seem bothered by this trend. Perhaps "modern scripture scholars" have reinterpreted the parable of the Good Shepherd as a cautionary tale about workaholics.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time to focus on older men rather than younger (at least until we lift the unneccessary restrictions). Older men may be divorced or widowed, and they may have children. So what? Their added wisdom and gray hair can add so much. They also have the added feature of knowing what family life is like, and can be more realistic - even while still being idealistic. They may have tasted what modern life has to offer and found it wanting, as so many of us have. They may have less years to serve, and then again, they may be less likely to leave or burn out...