Friday, June 12, 2009

Faithfulness to the priesthood, major thrust for “Year for Priests”

From the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines website

Manila, June 12, 2009—Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD said faithfulness to the priesthood remains the challenge they face this coming “Year of the Priest” scheduled to begin on Friday, June 19. [Declared by His Holiness under the patronage of St. John Marie Vianney]

In an interview over Radio Veritas, the prelate said there have been instances when priests “doubt their identity” and get confused of their roles while some get involved in political activities. [I know some who even doubt why they become priest and even refuse to perform their functions as priest other than saying the Mass and baptising.]

“Our desire is to go back to our original vocation, that we are specially called by Jesus Christ to participate in His work in evangelizing the world,” the 65-year old prelate said. [Starting with dispensing the graces of the Lord through the sacraments. We have here in the Philippines a priest famous for jogging around the country to protest this, to protest that. Where did he end up? His own parishioners petitioned his bishop to get him out of the parish because he spends more time on the streets that in his own parish rectory. He depends on priests from other parishes to celebrate the regular Sunday Mass! He was given a sabbatical by his good bishop to think over his vocation. A couple of months after his sabbatical, he is back on the streets! Good grief. At least, he is still celibate as far as I know. But here is the million dollar question… Do you need priestly ordination to protest the injustices in the world?]

He said St. John Ma. Vianney provides priests the necessary model because the saint ministered to his flock, specially hearing their confessions lasting 15 hours a day. [Hard to find the good old boys these days!]

He said priests would be more effective in attending to his flock’s spiritual needs. [AMEN! And bishops too!]

“We have so many church documents to read and eventually give us the ‘real orientation’ of the priesthood,” Bishop Bastes added. [The documents end up in the shelves gathering dust. I saw one good book about the spirituality of priests. Written by Fr. Franz Josef Eilers, SVD entitled “Priestly Spirituality”. A good read for priests to let them stay grounded with quotes from Council Documents, not only Vatican II and from papal encyclicals, which is rare for priests to quote! I bought one as a gift for a friend priest. The response I got aside from the curt “Thank You.” was, “Too traditional views. Not updated with the times.” Haaayyyy. The corrupted spirit of Vatican II. Thanks to the likes of Rahner, Kung, Bugnini, Schillebecx, etc.)]

In Davao, Archbishop Fernando Capalla said they will launch their celebration to welcome the “Year for Priests” on Thursday, June 18.

“It will coincide with my 34th Episcopal anniversary and we’ll make our launching at the San Pedro Cathedral,” Archbishop Capalla told Radio Veritas Wednesday morning.  

He said they have lined-up a number of activities to highlight the “Year for Priests” to be participated by members of the clergy.

“We will focus on the on-going formation of the priests and seminarians to complement the program being prepared by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Clergy,” Archbishop Capalla said. [Uh... I always have doubts on what the CBCP comes out. They are faster with pronouncements about politics but are too slow about the more important matters. It’s like they have a dedicated Mac and fiber-optic Internet connection for anything about Philippine politics but they have a horde of monks writing calligraphy for anything Church-related.]

The celebrations will also coincide with the 60th year of the Archdiocese of Davao as a new ecclesial province.


  1. i agree with you completely about priests needing to be "more priests" than anything else. i am thankful that you care enough to blog about goings-on in our Church, especially about priesthood. we as members of the Church (priests included) should see our own shortcomings and not be too proud to stand correction. it is saddening, indeed, that some or many (i do not have figures) of our priests are making a career of their vocation--you know what i mean. but it is heartening to know, too, that we have priests (and bishops) who persevere in their work as priests against all odds. i pray you find these priests and support them in your blog. the faithful need to see the quiet and positive side of our shepherds. also, your concern would gain more credibility if you practised more responsibility in making snappy pronouncements about priests or bishops. for example, i cannot agree with you that Abp Capalla is "supporting the projects of the President." it is the other way around--the President supports the projects of Abp Capalla. if i were the president i would do the same. the Abp's projects are worth supporting because these are in line with Church teachings (peace-building, inter-religious dialogue, etc.) i would not be surprised if politically-oriented and un-Churched media people would judge the Abp as "supporting, etc...." because they do not care about Church teachings, but for a Knight of Columbus (with all the credentials that you say you have) to do the same...?

  2. Believe me. I know the projects in Davao, personally. Do you?

  3. More than just projects, i know the man. his decisions are guided NOT by other people's perceptions of him but by a moral conscience based on gospel truths. if he appears to be "supporting, etc...." it is not for personal gain--the Abp operates on the level of ideals, not partisan politics. for the same peace-making efforts he "supported" Ramos, he "supported" Erap, now he "supports" Gloria and he will "support" whoever else comes after her (if you want to put it that way. comments of abp capalla's detractors (remember de quiros?) reflect their own biases and shortcomings more than the truth, because they cannot grasp the foolishness of the cross that motivates him in his work. abp capall has an almost superhuman capacity for self-denial for Christ's sake, and in spite of appearances he can be so detached from vanities that it is impossible to manipulate him. Thank you for listening.

  4. I despise Conrado de Quiros also. Maybe the guy is a Mason. He despises anything Catholic.

    I admire your devotion to the archbishop. Don't get me wrong. I don't deplore the good archbishop. I was just echoing the sentiments of the priests of his archdiocese especially during the time when he was president of the CBCP.

    Our catechism teaches us that there is a thing called sin of commission and sin of omission. Silence indeed can be deafening.

    My devotion to St. Thomas More will give you an idea with my intentions for this blog. God bless you.

  5. Sir, I don’t despise de quiros but I can’t respect his modus operandi either. So called “journalists” who base their judgments on hearsay or media clippings and political rantings don’t make it to my roster of to-respect people.

    Re my “devotion to the good archbishop”: it’s not a devotion to the person but to the ideals the person fights for. Even the pope is not God.

    Re “echoing the sentiments of (his) priests…”: I know for a fact that Abp Capalla voluntarily declined the SOP second term for a CBCP president precisely because he heeded the sentiments of those priests for the sake of his diocese. We know very well human nature—it is terribly hard to say NO to power and prestige but the Abp did it, cut and cut clean, without looking back. Seven months before the scheduled reelection he wrote his fellow bishops NOT to consider him for the second term—so far he has been the only CBCP president to have done so. Shouldn’t the davaoenos be proud of that? please know that I tell the truth for truth’s sake.

    Thank you for your zeal in promoting authentic Catholicism. Yes, I also like St. Thomas More, and find rather amusing his vigorous verbal tussles with Luther. His feast day is a week away from today. I pray he inspire you more in your blogging.

  6. Yes, I know you are telling the truth and I know quite a few things about Davao that I do not want to post here for obvious reasons.

    I also heard that Abp. Quevedo of Cotabao also declined the SOP second term. Same reason? I don't want to post it.

    Being devoted to someone is not the same as being devoted to God. I am a devoted papist. I will bow to the pope as a sign of respect to him, the office he bears, his person, but not to worship him as if he is god just as you are devoted to the archbishop as an expression of your admiration for what he fights for. Don't get me wrong, please.

    Thank you for your prayers and I promise to keep you in mine Anonymous.