Sunday, 17 October 2010

Priesthood: reality vs rhetoric

I read a paper by Fr Joe Mannath on Priesthood and formation (you can download it from the national Salesian website here). It was great! He clearly dissects reality from the rhetoric and pin points some of the grave drawbacks of our formative processes and whole idea of Priesthood itself. I list some of the most important (in fact while reading the printed text, I had a pencil in hand to underline the important aspects, but then I ended up underlining the whole paper - then it struck me that I was reading Fr Mannath!!)
  • For most of the young men coming into the seminary, the change of life style is towards affluence. Add to this fact, the undeniable truth that the seminaries are becoming refuge of the mediocre, of persons who cannot succeed in the tough, competitive world outside.
  • Just because someone joins the seminary does not mean he is called to be Priest. Vocation is something everyone has. Vocation is basically a path where I will be more loving and happier, more true to the spirit and example of Jesus. We must not forget that there are many 'vocations' in the Church - not just Priesthood or celibate religious life.
  • Perseverance in doing God's will is essential; this is not the same as staying in the seminary. There can be good and holy reasons for leaving, just as there are for staying.
  • People basically expect a Priest to be a 'man of God' (this does not mean he is only a liturgist). It is dimension which permeates all areas of one's life.
  • Formation depends 70 percent on the candidate, 20 percent on the staff and 10 percent on the programme. There is no way we can 'produce' good Priests or make sure that a candidate grows into a sincere, dedicated, God-centred, compassionate and effective apostle.
  • Most of the Priests, Bishops and Seminarians have a feudal mentality, where privilege and distance mark their style more than pastoral ministry.
  • To have studied abroad or specialisation in a particular field should not be the sole or even the main criterion of appointing persons as formators.
  • Spirituality and social commitment are not 'dangers' to each other. They support each other. No Priest can ever be totally detached from a social involvement, nor can he avoid being a person of prayer.
  • The family is first formation house. Most of our formation is over by the time we join the seminary!

1 comment:

  1. Alleluia! I agree with everything he says. I should show my mother that even he thinks the way i do, then maybe she will not hold my opinions against me. She thinks that i don't have respect for priests and I am very wrong for thinking the way i do. Those who command respect continue to earn respect from us.

    But how to respect some morons who don't even have the humility to realise that they wield so much unearned and undeserved power? Simply by virtue of their fancy dresses and titles?

    One such character(parish priest)literally made me stop going to church. I found another chapel to go to. I was afraid that i would one day stand up during his sermon and ask him a few questions. He just drove me nuts with his sanctimonious shit that was neither theologically sound nor spiritual. One example, "God will only bless you if you attend mass in your own parish church not anywhere else" And he drones on with his pseudo emotional pitch which he thinks will move us. It sure did move me. Only thing, I felt like moving my arms a little too..to throw some things around. Finally, to keep my BP under control, i stopped going for his masses and rejoiced when I heard that he was transferred! Praise the lord for his tender mercies!

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