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.