Comments from The Black Biretta blog of Fr. John Trigilo of EWTN. He shares his reflections on what the Year of the Priest is all about. Photo on the left shows Fr. Trigilio presenting a copy of the book he wrote "John Paul II for Dummies" to his Holiness after the General Audience in St. Peter's Square. Photo and excerpt courtesy of his blog. Here is the excerpt.
The Pope urged priests to be 'men of intense prayer who cultivate a communion of love and life with the Lord.'
This message is CRUCIAL as many American dioceses are gearing up (if not already) for their annual ordination to the priesthood and to the diaconate. Holy Mother Church has over one BILLION members and is a global, worldwide Church. Hence, she NEEDS various types of priests:
PARISH priests - pastors and parochial vicars; serving the daily spiritual needs of the faithful at the local parish level; the majority of priests
TEACHING priests - high school, college and seminary professors who help in the prophetic role of the church to teach the faith.
CHAPLAIN priests - hospital, military, prison, nursing home, etc., who provide a necessary work of mercy
CHANCERY (administration) priests - vocation directors, vicar generals, judicial vicars, chancellors, secretaries to the bishop, etc. who give good advice and
provide necessary assistance to the local bishop. And of course, the Vatican and Apostolic Nunciatures need DIPLOMAT priests to help that vital work of the Church.
What is NOT NEEDED, however are:
BUREAUCRAT priests - ambitious clerics who have miter & crosier envy (bishop wannabees) and/or those middle management pencil pushers who emulate the old Soviet Union bureaucrat. This type is neither liberal nor conservative; neither progressive nor traditional; in other words, he has NO affiliation with either side. He just sides with the current party in power. Someone who says and does anything and everything to preserve his office job rather than spend his time and effort doing the 'Will of God.' Bureaucrat priests are often autocrats who pretend to have more authority than they actually possess. They make dictatorial pronouncements and presume to speak on behalf of the current diocesan bishop or currently reigning pontiff. These are the 'professional' clergy who are detached and removed from real parish life and are clueless to what goes on in the real world. They pontificate from ivory towers and often have hidden or enigmatic agendas. You can spot a bureaucrat priest a mile away by the plethora of paperwork (memos, mailings, notices, etc.) emanating from his desk, just to show his importance. POLICY means more to these fellows than canon law or defined dogma and doctrine. Moral principles are made subservient to practical concerns. The bureaucrat priest covers his backside to survive. Moving up the ecclesiastical ladder is their prime directive.
BUSINESS MANAGER priests are obsessed with nickels and dimes, balancing the books and making everything look good on paper. Saving souls is not an urgency, rather, the productivity of programs becomes paramount. These guys run parishes or dioceses like corporations, not like spiritual families or sacred institutions. They place efficiency as their highest goal. As long as the check book balances, the diocesan assessments are paid and the collection never goes down, then they consider themselves SUCCESSFUL. These guys worry about how much it will cost more than how much good will it do.
POLITICIAN priests want to be POPULAR. They preach cotton-candy Catholicism so as not to offend anyone. They tell people what they want to hear instead of what they need to be taught. These guys bend or break canon law and/or diocesan rules to keep the big roller, high end, generous donors from leaving the parish. They think accommodating and compromise are effective tools whereas the real parish priest relies on doctrinal orthodoxy, liturgical accuracy (and reverence) and paternal pastoral authority (being a real spiritual father instead of a corporate stooge). Politician priests want happy faces and avoid all confrontation. These are the wheeler-dealers who make behind the scene arrangements, engage in skulduggery and can often be IDEOLOGUES who are usually throwbacks to the 1960's and 1970's. They see innovation as a political tool to keep and make new members. These guys are usually the ones who deny parishioners their legitimate options and impose their own personal choices as if law. Being politically correct is one indicator of this sort.
ENTERTAINER priests use sacred worship and the Divine Liturgy to entertain and amuse the congregation rather than to render to Almighty God true and proper worship (latria) and adoration. These fellows perform when the celebrate the sacraments. They choreograph gestures and movements, not based on the rubrics of the Missal but based on what they learned in a recent liturical workshop. Entertainer priests want to BE loved and to be showered with affection and approval. They do not preach uncomfortable messages nor do they enforce complicated laws. These guys are current on every fad and tidbit the modern media eschews daily so as to appear to be 'with it.' Reverence takes a back seat, if not in the trunk, to enjoyment. They want people to enjoy the Mass instead of seeking to please God by giving Him proper worship.
Right on the kisser! You nailed it Father! Layeth the smacketh down! I don't have to highlight the important points or else everything would be in bold letters. ROFL!