Cry Baby McBrien has better ideas for “Year for Priests”

Don’t be shocked.

I may actually agree with some points in the following article from the ultra-lefty NCR by the liberal Richard McBrien, dissident priest employed by Notre Dame to teach, mirabile dictu, theology.

Don’t be alarmed.  Broken clocks are also right once in a while. 

But … wait… the things I agree with below were not actually McBrien’s ideas at all!  

My emphases and comments.

Alternate thoughts for this Year for Priests
by Richard McBrien
on Sep. 14, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI declared this a Year for Priests, beginning on June 19, the feast of the Sacred Heart, and ending next June with an international gathering of priests in Rome. The pope named St. Jean Vianney, the Curé d’Ars, as universal patron of priests to mark the 150th anniversary of his death.

As part of the year-long observance there will be an international priests’ retreat in Ars, France, sponsored by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, from September 27 to October 3, and a symposium on the "faithfulness" of priests at The Catholic University of America Oct. 6-7.

Undoubtedly, [here we go…] the pious thing for most priests to do is to get fully into the spirit of this Year for Priests and for lay people to renew their appreciation for the good work that so many priests have done and continue to do in the life of the church.  [Remember: For McBrien, "pious" and "piety" are tantamount to dirty words.  Remember how McBrien denigrated piety and devotion in his attack on Eucharistic Adoration.]

But there is a more realistic dimension to this Year for Priests, [So, let’s get this straight.  Pope Benedict designates the parameters of the Year for Priests and its official celebrations but McBrien has better ideas.] and it is one that never sees the light of day in most of the diocesan papers in the United States and Canada because bishops will not permit any discordant opinions to be expressed[Two things.  I think it is not an exaggeration to suggest that most of the nation’s diocesan papers for the last few decades have entirely open to "discordant opinions", particularly with those out of harmony with the Church’s teachings.  Second, now that a new generation of bishops are cleaning up their diocesan newspapers, discordant Catholics are whining about unfair treatment.]

One such voice, that of a priest ordained almost 40 years, has expressed the views of fellow priests — not all, perhaps not even most, but definitely many.

Apart from this week’s column, his views and theirs have heretofore not been heard, much less taken into serious account by the Vatican or by many bishops in this "Year for Priests."

My priest-correspondent [unidentified.  Perhaps McBrien himself?  Nah….] has identified 10 issues that priests need help in facing — help that will not be forthcoming at symposia on the "faithfulness" of priests, nor at international retreats in France.

1. The shortage of diocesan priests cannot be addressed by band-aid solutions, like inviting priests from foreign countries to engage in sacramental ministry in dioceses with sharply declining numbers of domestic vocations. There needs to be a public discussion, involving priests themselves, concerning obligatory celibacy and its pastoral ramifications.  [Uh huh … that has worked for Anglicans and Protestants of all stripes.  But there is something to this: greater energy must be applied to future vocations.  Funny how, where the bishop is solid and traditional liturgy thrives, where catechism is good and where priests take this issue serious, there are many vocations.  Strange, no?]

2. Many priests do not perceive themselves to be close collaborators with their bishops, as Vatican II envisioned them to be (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, n. 7). Too few bishops reach out to their priests to ask for their honest opinions about anything that seriously affects the life of the church and the priesthood.  [I am pretty sure many priests have this same opinion.  The "close collaborator" of the bishop has been pretty much a myth for a long time.  But then, I ask, now that the body of bishops is shifting, now that it reflects the "John Paul II priests" and bishops, now that the biological solution is shifting the liberals of past decades into the background, … I wonder if that will change?  I have found that liberals, dissidents, are far far more autocratic, cold and remote than more traditionally minded Catholic bishops.  The more conservative new bishops I have met and heard about in the last few years have presented themselves as warm and cordial.  Liberals prefer to dwell in light inaccessible.  They issue orders from on high with little regard for the opinion of priests in the field.  The same goes for pastors in regard to their assistants.  Is that unfair?  Inaccurate?  Perhaps priests might chime in with their own views on this.  Priests… since this is about bishops and priests…]

3. Many diocesan priests still feel betrayed by their bishops with the passage in 2002 of the Dallas Charter. Priests who have been accused by anyone of any sexual impropriety whatever with minors have been summarily removed from the active ministry. At the same time, no bishop, other than one cardinal-archbishop, has been forced to resign because of his mishandling of the sexual-abuse scandal.  [Again, I think this is an accurate statement.  Priests I know were outraged and demoralized when they realized that the bishops, at Dallas, exempted themselves from the norms they applied to priests and deacons.  I still hear priests talk about this very point.]

4. There is a growing rift between so-called "Vatican II priests" and so-called "John Paul II priests," which is painfully evident in some dioceses when priests gather for the Eucharist at retreats and other diocesan events.  [It is interesting to find on one side younger priests together with those priests, now much older, who were active for sometime before the Council and then, on the other hand, those who were formed especially during the late 60’s through around the late 80’s.]

5. There is a concomitant return to clericalism in the priesthood, involving not only a fascination with cassocks and birettas and a preference for antiquated vestments and devotions, [Remember: McBrien thinks that Eucharistic Adoration is an antiquated devotion which does harm to people.  And he has been teaching for a very long time at Notre Dame.  Think about that.] but also a negative, censorious tone to preaching and a cavalier dismissal of consultative structures that are supposed to be in place in every parish.  [This whole thing smacks of sour grapes and narrowness.  First, note the censorious tone the writer himself uses.  I will counter that no traditionally minded or conservative priest comes anywhere close to the sneering, domineering clericalism of the liberal.  Consider, for example, the corrosive clericalism, the condescension shown toward lay people especially by liturgical progressivists: by abdicating their own clerical role and improperly handing it over to lay people, they are effectively saying to lay people that laity are not of their own good enough.  They have to do things priests do in order to be involved or participate actively etc.  They strip lay people of their own dignity. Furthermore, I know a lot of young priests who are indeed fascinated by cassocks and birettas.  Wearing a cassock in church or around the parish is hardly odd.  Birettas are perfectly acceptable.  Very few of priests I know, however, are interested in these externals in an unhealthy way.  And they change as they get older.  But consider that these things and nearly their entire liturgical and theological heritage was robbed from them by liberal seminary faculties – men like McBrien –  and progressivist pastors and bishops.  If young priests are interested in these things, and liberals don’t like it, then liberals have also themselves to blame.  Moreover, the young priests I know, far from being uninterested in "consultative structures" are deeply grateful that they have such help!  Because of the destruction of priestly vocations inflicted for decades by liberals, these priests now are over worked and need the help.  I think the writer is talking about "consultative" structures which are really "congregationalist" structures, which would tell the priest what to do and keep him in the role of magic man for sacraments, smiling a lot, affirming whatever doctrinal and moral aberrations people might slide into because of the attacks of the world, the flesh and the Devil.]

6. At the same time, the Vatican and the bishops have failed to address concerns raised by the disproportionate number of gays in seminaries and the priesthood, including also the hierarchy. It is the elephant in the living room, as pointed out almost 10 years ago in Fr. Donald Cozzens’s The Changing Face of the Priesthood. Yet how many priests’ retreats and clergy conferences have used that book as a basis for discussion?  [In fairness, I have not read Cozzens’s book, and so cannot comment.  But I don’t think it is fair to say that the Vatican and bishops have failed to address the problem of openly or actively homosexual priests.  First, and no one can deny this, though the Dallas norms had their flaws, cracking down on pedophiles was also a way of dealing with homosexuality.  Second, the Holy See has in recent years made it pretty clear that men with homosexual tendencies don’t belong in seminary programs.  Did the writer forget the 2005 document, “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders"?  Review it HERE.]

7. There has been a substantial attrition of Catholics — women, gays and lesbians, divorced people, critics of official teachings on sexuality and reproduction — from active membership in the church, to the point where fully one-tenth of the U.S. population now consists of ex-Catholics. What is being done about it[I suppose we are simply waving goodbye.  If people don’t like the teaching of the Church and won’t accept it, what are we supposed to do?  Change the teaching?  Soften the teaching?  People have always left because of hard teachings.  It has ever been so.  However, from another point of view… I believe that as a shrinking Church examines her ways and goals and revitalizes her own identity, eventually how she works will be more and more coherent with what she teaches.  Perhaps that will persuade some of those mentioned above not to abandon the one Church the LORD established.  Perhaps they will rather change their ways and form their consciences properly.  Remember: if all those people left, they left during the time of the ascendancy of liberals, not conservatives!  If the writer thinks they are just leaving now, when a few more conservative bishops and priests have come on the scene, then he is delusional.]

8. Resigned priests are treated like traitors. To be sure, some bishops welcome them back at clergy reunions, but others boycott such gatherings as a sign of their contempt. [This is a little too broad.  I think the writer really means that priests who left active ministry for one reason or another, with or without a dispensation, should simply be "reactivated" and allowed to function as priests again.  That is one point of view and it is up to the hierarchy to figure that out.  My guess here is, however, that if this isn’t McBrien’s own list, then it is the list of a priest who left active ministry.  That is why he is cagey about the identity of this priest.]

9. Appointments to the hierarchy since the pontificate of Paul VI have been of a certain type. [Hear the disapproval?] Those who do not fit the official profile are excluded from consideration or are harassed by Vatican officials if they are already bishops["harassed"?  As in… "Your Excellency, this dicastery is in receipt of correspondence from members of the faithful within the bounds of the diocese entrusted to Your Excellency’s care.  The correspondence includes many documentary proofs of the claims made therein.  Concerns have been sent, together with proofs, about wide-spread liturgical abuses, poor catechetical practices, heresy taught in the diocesan seminary and in the theology department of the local Catholic university, sudden and unfounded removal of priests from mandates, and statements of questionable orthodoxy made by Your Excellency’s diocesan newspaper.  Please note that that aforementioned list is not to be considered exhaustive.  In light of these documents, Your Excellency, it is considered opportune that Your Excellency might, in a congruent period, present Your Excellency’s Reverend … Person, in the offices of this dicastery so that we may explain to Your Excellency the situation."  That sort of harassment?  Liberals often consider the presentation of facts, documents, and the Church’s laws to be harassment.]

10. So many senior priests say to their friends, "I can’t wait for retirement." Why this sense of discouragement over the present state of the Church, bordering sometimes on hopelessness?  [Oddly, the priests who tend to stay in the saddle and keep working are those who side with those younger, more conservative young priests. They are elderly priests who aren’t lugging around the baggage of post-Conciliar formation.  It is precisely the liberals, the aging liberals, who want to retire quickly.]

Alternate thoughts for this "Year for Priests."

So… my thoughts alternating with those alternate thoughts.

I don’t know… maybe I am wrong here… but…

I have the impression that McBrien isn’t happy as a priest.

He trashed Eucharist Adoration and all the people who venerate the Blessed Sacrament.

Now he trashes the Year for Priests… and by implication those who have embraced this special Year.

It must be very difficult, despite his present position, to watch everything he has worked towards for decades crumbling and slipping between his fingers.

Once so revered, so powerful….

He is now less and less relevant to… well.. any discussion. 

It must be very hard.

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78 Responses to Cry Baby McBrien has better ideas for “Year for Priests”

  1. Agellius says:

    “It must be very hard.”

    He could retire. Surely he’s old enough?

  2. RichR says:

    But consider that these things and nearly their entire liturgical and theological heritage was robbed from them by liberal seminary faculties – men like McBrien – and progressivist pastors and bishops. If young priests are interested in these things, and liberals don’t like it, then liberals have also themselves to blame.

    Let the Church say, “Amen.”

    We young adults are fascinated by this stuff because it is novel to us. Perhaps, if the visible manifestations of the priesthood had always mirrored the invisible reality, it wouldn’t captivate us. However, having lived through the puritanical 80’s and 90’s with burlap vestments and rainbow stoles, I admit I enjoy seeing traditional symbols of the priesthood. It’s like a child who was denied candy all his life and is now let loose in a candy shop. After a while, you OD on it and everything normalizes. But for now, I’m lovin’ it!

  3. Fr. John Mary says:

    I’m sorry if this sounds harsh. I have been (unfortunately) reading the posts of McBrien’s assault on Eucharistic Adoration and the insanity, ignorance, hatred, and downright apostasy of some of the contributors (not all,mind you; many are defending the Church and Adoration) makes me think something is going to happen soon…I am no prophet, I could be wrong, but there is not only a “divide” in our country, but the chasm within our Church is getting larger every day. The dissenting people contributing comments scare me and offend me more than Fr. McBrien (and his ideas offend me).

    Now he has to make “revision” of the Year of the Priest.

    Why don’t they just leave and elect HIM their Pope? Then they can fight ‘amongst themselves’ while we can get on with the real mission of Christ in His Holy Catholic Church. I say this with fear and trembling because I do not believe you can be saved outside the Holy Church; but if you don’t believe in anything She teaches, are you really in the Church?

  4. DJR says:

    I was scrolling down the page as I read, and when I came to the line about how it must be “very hard” for McBrien to see his liberal/dissident fantasy coming to an end, I scrolled down further and saw the picture of orthodox looking seminarians in Rome, just to stick it to him some more…that was hilarious! Good post, Father!

  5. Tim Ferguson says:

    [EVERYONE: Read this!]

    I would add a point in response to Fr. McBrien’s #5: He upbraids those young priests who exhibit “a cavalier dismissal of consultative structures that are supposed to be in place in every parish.”

    One unspoken issue inherent in this is the practice of many pastors, particularly those of the liberal stripe, to pack the “consultative structures” entirely with laity who agree with the pastor. The pastor often nominates the candidates for parish council (c. 536) and parish finance council (c. 537), or choses those who will sit from nominations submitted by the parish at large. That is entirely his right, and these councils have a consultative role – it is natural that the pastor would want to consult those with whom he agrees. Woe betide us if we fall back into the congregationalist model or trusteeism of the past that has proven so injurious to the proclamation of the Gospel!

    However, when a young priest or seminarian is assigned to the parish, he frequently finds that he has little in common with those selected by the pastor for his councils. There is often an ideological and generational divide that is not easy to bridge. Secondly, the committee members themselves often throw up a defensive wall – as does the pastor – automatically putting the young priest wearing a cassock into a category of “rigid, reactionary, divisive, etc.” and rebuff any effort he might make to reach out.

    So, the young priest or seminarian is polite (hopefully!), but has little to do with the council members other than obligatory interaction. Instead, he befriends the groups in the parish that have, for years, been neglected and pushed aside – the Legion of Mary, the minority cultural groups, the rosary-prayers, home-schoolers. He doesn’t share the pastor’s interest in gambling, or golf, or ballet, or baseball – preferring Nascar, or jogging, or opera, or football (or vice-versa). He spends his time visiting parishioners who are outside of the pastor’s field of vision, and so is seen by the pastor as aloof, reserved, uninvolved.

    The pastor, meanwhile, having read McBrien and Cozzens and Gumbleton and Chittister, knows that all new young priests – the JP II generation priests – are rigid and reactionary and divisive and psychologically unstable, makes no effort at all to get to know his young charge, other than to observe what traits confirm his preconceptions. He’s more interested in sighing to his parish council about “the guys they’re ordaining these days” or calling his presbyteral friends and commiserating about the latest batch to get ordained.

    He often makes life so cold and intolerable in the rectory that the young priest undergoes a sort of crisis. Fortunately, the young priest (hopefully) has a strong prayer life and has retained his spiritual director – or found a new one – and the young priest goes on to his next assignment, maybe his first pastorate, better armed and prepared to deal with a life of ministry. Sadly though, if he does so, it’s not because of his first pastor, but in spite of him.

    I’ve seen this pattern so sadly replicated. We need to pray, not only for vocations to the priesthood but also for perseverance for the young priests who have gotten ordained.

  6. Inkstain says:

    Father Z wrote “I have the impression that McBrien isn’t happy as a priest.”

    I have to confess to some misgivings of my own that point of McBrien being a priest.

    While on the confessions motif…

    Dear Father, if it never fails to make one laugh to see that “cry baby” picture, does that constitute a venial sin? [I think it would at least venial if you didn’t laugh!]

  7. RichR says:

    I was appointed by our pastor to serve on the Parish Council this year, and I’m finding that a young, well-catechized, energetic, member with a determination to stop the wierdness is a good thing. I started a conversation on the overuse of the word “ministry”, I’ve talked about our men’s Gregorian schola that I’m in and gotten favorable comments from the committee chair, I’ve tried to steer discussions away from bad ideas, and I’ve tried to support motions that are truly good for the parish. Whenever I’m challenged, I stand up for myself and back myself with solid information (some of which I gleem from this website). The end result: even though I’m the youngest member (35 y.o.) of the Council, people don’t write me off as ignorant.

    So, stacking the deck in parish councils can work in favor of good pastors, too.

  8. It must be very difficult, despite his present position, to watch everything he has worked towards for decades crumbling and slipping between his fingers.

    H.G. Wells is said to have experienced similar disillusionment. He lived long enough to see that everything he had hoped for and believed in his whole life resulted in unprecedented body counts and little else. Toward the end of his life he said that, if there really was a heaven, his only hope of getting there was that he had been friends with G.K. Chesterton.

  9. lmgilbert says:

    Be still my heart!

    Do you mean that if concerned lay people in a radically liberal diocese took the trouble to assemble documentary proofs, testimonies and evidences, their ordinary might actually get a letter such as this, and might actually be called on the carpet?

    “Your Excellency, this dicastery is in receipt of correspondence from members of the faithful within the bounds of the diocese entrusted to Your Excellency’s care etc, etc.”

    What a thing of beauty is that letter! It is so peaceful, encouraging and bracing. It should be laminated and sold in Catholic bookshops. It should be written out in magnificent multifoliate calligraphy with a smiling picture of Pope Benedict XVI at the top center, framed and sold in the bookshops of Rome, with a plenary indulgence attached for anyone who can justly cause one of them to be sent, together with assurances of being made a Knight of Malta and raised to minor orders.

    It is so pleasant to think of any such template lying about the dicasteries of Rome waiting to be put to good use.

  10. Roland de Chanson says:

    There is a concomitant return to clericalism in the priesthood, involving not only a fascination with cassocks and birettas and a preference for antiquated vestments and devotions …

    Mac doesn’t realize that the antiquated priestly vestments are the suits and neckties. So sixties-ish. He really ought to try to outgrow them. After all, a certain Fr. Ratzinger did.

  11. Navarricano says:

    “It must be very difficult, despite his present position, to watch everything he has worked towards for decades crumbling and slipping between his fingers … Once so revered, so powerful….

    He is now less and less relevant to… well.. any discussion.

    It must be very hard.”

    Irrelevant indeed. I have often thought that the best way to deal with Richard McBrien, Joan Chittister and their ilk is to deal with them the way Merlin and the citizens of Camelot dealt with Queen Mab in one of the final scenes in the 1998 made-for-television film “Merlin”, starring Sam Neill-Helena Bonham Carter: Mab is raging and threatening and launches into one final battle with Merlin. And Merlin defeats her simply by turning his back on her and forgetting her.

    I envision the scene re-cast with Fr. Z and McBrien:

    R.Mc: My strength may be failing, Fr. Z, but I can still deal with these poor, young priests. What do you plan to do? Use your puny Eucharistic Adorations and excommunications on me?

    Bishop: No Mac, we’re just going to forget you. (Fr. Z. turns away)

    R.Mc: Fr. Z? What are you doing?

    Merlin: You can’t fight us or frighten us; you’re just … not important enough anymore. WE FORGET YOU QUEEN MAC. Go join Sister Chittister in the Land O’ Lakes and BE FORGOTTEN.

    Could be an entertaining scene for a skit, if you ever get a Z-TV channel up and running someday! ;-)

  12. Prudentius says:

    If the funny cry baby picture is a sin then the one at the bottom of all the young preist in Rome is just a divine and a beautiful image. What a great picture, it makes my heart glad to think that these young men will go out into the world and spread the word of God in communities everywhere. These guys get such a hard press and we hear so often about how short of Priest we are, yet we often forget that there are still fine men like these ready to give everything to God. God Bless them

  13. I’ve said this before and I believe that it bears mentioning again in this particular context: “You get the priests that you pray for.” No, I Didn’t make up that particular gem. It came from the writings of St. John Eudes, one of the great apostles of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

    If we really want to see an end to the vocations crisis in many dioceses, then it’s time that people stopped sitting around and complaining about how bad it is. Complaining never solved any problems at all. Rather, we need to pray and sacrifice for vocations in our dioceses so that every empty parish will be filled and that there be a good and holy priest to guide it forward into the 21st century rather than allowing it to be stuck in the calp trap and chaos that came in the year immediately following the COuncil.

    On the issue of cassocks and birettas, I find it to be important when a priest is out in uniform. When the Jesuits at my university dress in plain clothes, there’s nothing that distinguishes them from the other guys. that teach on campus. If a priest wears a collar and a suit, then that certainly changes the discussion. He is who he says he is and isn’t just anothero ne of the guys. The cassock and collar are uniforms. Wear them!

    Contrary to Fr. McBrien, I think that this Year of Priests is a heaven sent opportunity for us to pray and discuss the meaning of the priesthoood as well as encourage and pray for vocations. May it bear much fruit!

  14. THREEHEARTS says:

    There is no such thing as ex catholics. Fallen is the right word. fallen from grace. There are also lost forgotten in purgatory catholics but no one baptized is ex unless excommunicated as Fr McBrien should be

  15. Cincinnati Priest says:

    I am a “JP2” priest ordained recently.

    Response to some of Fr. McBrien’s complaints (numbered to correspond to above points)

    1. It is a non-sequitur to think that celibacy has anything to do with this.

    2. Our new coadjutor is reaching out to get to know his priests. We are very pleased about that. He has a difficult job, though, as there are about 200 of us in the Archdiocese. Hard to build a close personal relationship with that many men.

    3. Yes, betrayal is not too strong a word. Speaking for myself, the outrage is not so much that the bishops exempted themselves, as that they sold us priest sons “down the river” implementing a guilty-until-proven-innocent paradigm. It is almost impossible to explain to a lay person who has not experienced this personally how that changes everything, and how discouraging and demoralizing this is. When I talk to laypeople about this, even those who are generally supportive of priests, they generally express an attitude of “Yes that is too bad” with a shrug of the shoulders, as if to say, that’s not really a big deal.

    4. This is fair and accurate. I think it is not so much that the newly ordained priests are hostile to their elders of a certain generation, as they find they simply don’t have anything in common with them, since their vision of the Church and the priesthood is so diametrically opposite.

    5. This is name-calling on McBrien’s point, of course. He chooses to wield a blunt club by using loaded terms. See #4. The vision of the priesthood as “just a facilitator,” “just one of the guys/gals” is very strong in previous generation, and not compatible with the new generation’s traditional notion that the sacramental priesthood differs not only in degree but in kind from the priesthood of the baptized.

    6. As far as I can tell, the number of homosexually oriented men in our local seminary has decreased dramatically recently. Deo gratias. This past imbalance has caused a lot of problems in the presbyterate here. I read a small part of Cozzens’ books – as much as I could stomach. It was dreadful and self-serving.

    7. Undeniably, the new priests are far less afraid of teaching and preaching the truth, even if people found it offensive. So much so in our diocese that, many parishioners accustomed to the culture of going along to get along seemed quite shocked and angry when newly ordained priests recently started actually preaching the full Gospel. However, I think parishioners in the local church are finally beginning to get used to it now, as it becomes more commonplace, and of course some greatly appreciate it.

  16. ljc says:

    There has indeed been a marked shift from “Vatican II Priests” to “JPII Priests” who are now heading many Parishes, but now another, subtler shift is taking place from “JPII Priests” to “BXVI Priests.” That is, Priests not only concerned with fidelity to the Holy See and devotion to the Blessed Mother, but also with an interest in the Traditional Mass, traditional devotions, traditional theology and an overall hermeneutic of continuity. No doubt the first “shift” was the more difficult to achieve, but the new shift is also very important to the renewal of the Church.

  17. ckdexterhaven says:

    From point 1. “The shortage of diocesan priests cannot be addressed by band-aid solutions, like inviting priests from foreign countries ” Fr. McBrien, it can be addressed by (cough cough) Eucharistic Adoration, and prayers/sacrifices for vocations. Our priest instituted Perpetual Adoration 1 year ago, prays constantly for vocations, and makes a point of talking to young men about vocations.

    Poor Father McBrien.

  18. Scelata says:

    “Resigned priests are treated like traitors. To be sure, some bishops welcome them back at clergy reunions, but others boycott such gatherings as a sign of their contempt.”

    I find this surprising.
    I have relatives and dear, dear friends, who, with the exception of being removed from active presbyteral (or do I mean “sacerdotal”?) ministry, had no treatment that could even remotely be described this way — most of them continued to work for the Church in some capacity or other, including those who married ex-nuns.

    Further, one of the most well-known couples in Catholic blogdom seemed, though disappointed by his no longer being in priestly ministry, not to have been ostracized, or impacted in any way, (though others may know more about this.)

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World

  19. Bthompson says:

    As to question 1,
    A friend of mine, who is a priest, was put in charge of vocations in his diocese. At the time his diocese had an acute shortage of seminarians. He thought about the problem and came up with 3 principles: We must have faith that God calls a sufficient number of able men in every generation, Jesus went out and looked for disciples and called them by name when he found them and we should do likewise, and God listens to fasting and prayer.
    he just built a new seminary. it opened at capacity. His diocese has a lot of seminarians, given how small it is. “Band-aid solutions”, my foot.

  20. Fr. Z said, Don’t be alarmed. Broken clocks are also right once in a while.

    ROFL, Father. I don’t laugh out loud that often, but this one got me.

    TIM FERGUSON: Thank you for that post explaining what life is like for newer priests. You have truly captured it as some of us have witnessed it.

  21. Re: #1 “There needs to be a public discussion, involving priests themselves, concerning obligatory celibacy and its pastoral ramifications.”

    What we need much more is a restoration of faithful marriage and openness to life! If we want home-grown priests, then we need Catholic laypeople to establish good marriages and good homes in which priests can be properly raised! What we have are lots of Catholic men and women who have bought into the liberal agenda of contraception, fornication, cohabitation, easy divorce, etc.

    Celibacy is not at fault. Abandonment of traditional marriage and family is at fault. That is what both priests and laity need to be discussing and working hard to rectify.

    I wonder what Father McBrien, or his correspondent, have done in that regard.

  22. Cincinatti Priest says, 3. Yes, betrayal is not too strong a word. Speaking for myself, the outrage is not so much that the bishops exempted themselves, as that they sold us priest sons “down the river” implementing a guilty-until-proven-innocent paradigm. It is almost impossible to explain to a lay person who has not experienced this personally how that changes everything, and how discouraging and demoralizing this is. When I talk to laypeople about this, even those who are generally supportive of priests, they generally express an attitude of “Yes that is too bad” with a shrug of the shoulders, as if to say, that’s not really a big deal.

    And that is precisely why Opus Bono Sacerdotii came into existence, to provide some basic assistance to the “guilty-until-provent-innocent” priest. A lay man in my parish founded it and runs it today.

  23. Geoffrey says:

    Fr. Z said: “[I think it would at least venial if you didn’t laugh!]”

    Geoffrey will say next time at Confession: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I failed to laugh at a “cry baby picture” on Fr. Z’s blog. For these and all my sins, I am very sorry.”

    On a serious note, this is the first time I’ve come across the term “John Paul II Priests”. I pray they grow in number!

  24. Dave N. says:

    “I will counter that no traditionally minded or conservative priest comes anywhere close to the sneering, domineering clericalism of the liberal.”

    I’ve encountered plenty of sneering and sniping from priests of either stripe, although I would agree with this statement as a generality. Something that needs to be addressed during the Year of the Priest?

    Among the local seminaries here (all order seminaries though) I’d say the number of homosexuals in seminary is pretty constant. Unfortunately. Something else that could be addressed in during the Year of the Priest.

  25. There’s a regular commenter on the National “Catholic” Reporter web site who goes by the name “frère charles du désert OSB OBLAT (Congrégation de Subiaco)”. He posted this chestnut in the comment-box of Fr. McBrien’s recent short essay on (or rather, against) Eucharistic adoration:

    … Time to change spiritual advisers to something Roman Catholic and faithful to Our Holy Father in Rome. Time to read, in fact, the Reverend Father Richard P. McBrien and find your Catholic feet upon the Roman Catholic way. When you look back and see but one set of footprints, you will know the Reverend Father Richard P. McBrien was carrying [you] along the way to Truth and to Charity.

    Now I know I’ve seen everything!

  26. Athelstan says:

    As usual, it’s hard to improve on Fr. Z. Or not be dismayed by another Fr. McBrien column.

    On the other hand, he also proves the old axiom that even a stopped clock is right twice a day – however briefly. He certainly has an inkling of the failure of many of the bishops to come to grips with the *other* scandal of the Long Lent – the complicity of the bishops in facilitating and covering up this misbehavior. Likewise, while the situation in regards to homosexuals in the priesthood (and chanceries) is improving as retiring priests are replaced with new, better formed cohorts…we still have a serious problem with a pink mafia. Most of the worst seminaries have been cleaned up since the scandals documented in GOODBYE GOOD MEN, but we are not out of the woods yet. Too much of the episcopal (and orders) leadership still hopes to do as little about this problem as possible. I doubt anyone here disagrees about either of these points; the real astonishment is that McBrien raised them at all.

    But that said, the Church in most dioceses could do more to reach out pastorally on some of its hard teachings. The teachings cannot be altered; and they may be hard; and we must assent to them – not change them to suit our fancy. As a divorced Catholic, I can say that there could be more pastoral outreach to Catholics in situations like mine. I would never leave the Church – where else would I turn? – nor expect the teaching to change, but it could be helpful if dioceses and parishes were more proactive in forming support groups. There are a lot of broken people out there – and the Church is and should be their place for healing.

    The problem is when Church figures like McBrien use such situations to simply abandon the teachings – or empty of them of any real force or meaning. Which, I fear, is what he really has in mind when he raises this point.

  27. tioedong says:

    A lot of the “facts” about priests, including those of Cozzens and Eugene Kennedy, are bunk according to sociological data collected by Andrew Greeley (who last time I looked was a “liberal”)…

    link…part of the book is on line.

    “…Greeley here challenges those analysts and the media who parrot them in placing the blame for recent Church scandals on the mandate of celibacy or a clerical culture that supports homosexuality. Drawing upon reliable national survey samples of priests, Greeley demolishes current stereotypes about the percentage of homosexual priests, the level of personal and professional happiness among priests, the role of celibacy in their lives, and many other issues. His findings are more than surprising: they reveal, among other things, that priests report higher levels of personal and professional satisfaction than doctors, lawyers, or faculty members; that they would overwhelmingly choose to become priests again; and that younger priests are far more conservative than their older brethren…”

  28. Girgadis says:

    Love how the cry-baby photo was strategically placed next to the paragraph in which Father McBrien took a pot-shot at you, Father Z. Someone needs to save McBrien from himself. By the way, our pastor paid a visit to our home this evening and what a sight he was to behold, standing on our doorstep in his cassock.

  29. Girgadis: Send a photo of that to McBrien.

  30. Shame on you Fr.! Forcing me to agree with Fr. Powertie, even partially. I will need to indulge in some nice single malt to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

    Unfortunately, he is dead on with regards to #2. The closest collaborators with most bishop are the members of the innumerable and useless lay committees as well as the chancery wonks. I suspect that most priests would be hard pressed if asked to remember when if ever they were consulted by a bishop. And this does feed into #3. I think that the Dallas Charter was necessary, though with more mechanisms to protect the innocent and for speedy resolution. However, the bishops ought to have had the guts and integrity to place themselves under it. As to #6, the fault lies in the gatekeepers and the ‘soft’ paradigm of the priesthood that the vocational establishment has been pushing for years. #9 has a great deal of truth. The Conference’s stranglehold on the surfacing of names for episcopal appointments ensures that we will largely only get chancery wonks and compromisers as bishops. The nuncio needs to by-pass the bishops and looks for nominees himself.

    #4 & #5. Cry me a river. Fr. Powertie’s bold new world has failed, yet he and his friends are whining. I suspect the last gasp of the Vatican II priests will be continued mean, underhanded, and ultimately futile attacks on their younger brothers. #7, unrepentant sinners and dissidents are leaving the Church, so? The shame is that they are enabled, encouraged, and lied to by the dissidents among the clergy.

    #10. Most senior priests I know retire only when forced to by health. They love the priesthood and love serving the Church. I hope that I am able to work and serve until I drop!

  31. PS. Kudos to Tim Ferguson for his comment. Right on the money and sadly true.

  32. At least the New York Times still listens to Fr. Mcbrien. Trouble is, no one listens to the New York Times any more either.

  33. PatrickV says:

    Clericalism? Associated with birettas and cassocks? Associated with externals. I am probably wrong in this, but I though clericalism was a mindset where the clerics gave the laity a sort of “our way or the highway” type of proposition. Sort of like this definition “A policy of supporting the power and influence of the clergy in political or secular matters. …”

    Which in my unlettered opinion would be liberal clerics imposing their views and opinions on the Faithful in contravention of the teachings of the Church. Sort of like taking he G.I.R.M. and rewriting it. How does he equate a priest in a cassock with one who cavalierly changes the Mass on his own authority or fails to provide his flock with the proper instruction and leadership in the Faith that is their birthright?

    I pray that Fr. McBrien finds whatever call led him to the priesthood and tries to rekindle it. For what he is now is a sad, sad thing.

  34. Fr. John Mary says:

    Jeffrey Pinyan: I recognize your name in the posts you made that were solid, Catholic and sane.(I did not use my real name for obvious reasons; no priest is going to make any difference, and even under another name it didn’t either, because I was male.)
    Your example of some of the drivel that the ‘followers’ of Fr.McBrien were spewing, such as:
    “… Time to change spiritual advisers to something Roman Catholic and faithful to Our Holy Father in Rome. Time to read, in fact, the Reverend Father Richard P. McBrien and find your Catholic feet upon the Roman Catholic way. When you look back and see but one set of footprints, you will know the Reverend Father Richard P. McBrien was carrying [you] along the way to Truth and to Charity.”
    demonstrate the insanity that is rife on that blog.

    I’d rather have my Jack Russell Terrier ‘carry me along’ than this sorry excuse for a priest, theologian, scholar, spiritual director.

  35. Al says:

    Father Z and all the “Orthodox” Old Priests and New Young Priests receive the Saint Thomas Beckett Award for grit, determination and backbone in facing down and turning the tide on the “McBrien’s” of the world. May their tribe flourish.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-5B54wXgI4

  36. ljc says:

    I think this image by Fr. Eric of “Orthomoter” applies well
    http://tiny.cc/gzA8E

  37. Fr. John Mary says:

    ljc: I choked laughing at this a few minutes ago…sent it to some other priests.

    Priceless!

  38. Briangar21 says:

    It offends [Oh PUHLEEZ!] me that those of the ilk of Fr. Z tend to immediately dismiss the likes of Fr. McBrien. He is surely a priest in good standing and a theologian of highest repute at the nations most formidable school of theology. Doesn’t the virtue of humility presuppose the prospect that the moderator may be wrong?

  39. Fr. John Mary says:

    “Most formidable school of theology”…like what planet are you on?

    This is a joke, right? Why don’t you ask Scott Hahn who is coming to your parish about Fr.McBrien…saw it on the parish website.

  40. Fr. John Mary says:

    Sorry…Scott Hahn was already there…I stand corrected.

  41. Hidden One says:

    If Notre Dame is the States’ most formidable school of theology, then all the people crying “D*** America!” are a bit late. It’s already toast.

    And if Fr. McBrien is of highest repute, then man do Catholics think poorly of theologians these days! Whatever else he is and isn’t, he certainly isn’t very popular (anymore).

  42. Jordanes says:

    Briangar21 said: It offends me that those of the ilk of Fr. Z tend to immediately dismiss the likes of Fr. McBrien.

    [DNFTT]

    What offends me is those of your ilk presume to criticise good priests who are rightly dismissive of Father McBrien. What makes you think that Father Zuhlsdorf isn’t abundantly familiar with Father McBrien’s theological dissent and adulterated Catholic identity?

    He is surely a priest in good standing

    So is Father Hans Kueng.

    and a theologian of highest repute

    Not among orthodox Catholics he’s not. The U.S. bishops, hardly a pack of rabid traditionalists, had quite a lot of problems with the erroneous doctrine in Father McBrien’s book “Catholicism.”

    at the nations most formidable school of theology.

    Um, he teaches at Notre Dame.

    Doesn’t the virtue of humility presuppose the prospect that the moderator may be wrong?

    Sure. It also presupposes the prospect that you may be wrong, as in fact you are.

  43. Mary G says:

    Tim Ferguson: You could be talking about the parish I belong to – and I don’t live in USA.

  44. Grabski says:

    one that never sees the light of day in most of the diocesan papers in the United States and Canada because bishops will not permit any discordant opinions to be expressed
    …………

    This might be the real issue for Fr McBrien, whose column I understand has been dropped by a number of diocesan papers. I guess he’s giving himself a back hand compliment…

  45. marcolanscomo says:

    If “a fascination with cassocks and birettas and a preference for antiquated vestments and devotions” is a form of clericalism then it’s infinitely preferable, in my opinion, to the sort of clericalism which leads many priests
    [1] to ignore the liturgical books & change the words and ceremonies of the liturgy according to their own whims (trampling on the right of the People of God to see the liturgy celebrated in its integrity);
    [2] to preach their own unorthodox ideas from the pulpit and contradict the teaching of the Church (trampling on the right of the People of God to be taught the Catholic faith;)
    …etc, etc, etc.

  46. Irrelevance is always hell to pride. Not having your personal opinion obeyed through “collaborative efforts” is hell to pride as well.

  47. albizzi says:

    Is Fr Mc Brien still a priest?
    Does he say the Mass once a day? I am afraid not if he despises the Eucharistic Adoration.

  48. Scott W. says:

    1. The shortage of diocesan priests cannot be addressed by band-aid solutions, like inviting priests from foreign countries to engage in sacramental ministry in dioceses with sharply declining numbers of domestic vocations

    No wonder he can’t resist a subtle dig at foreign priests. Anyone who has had the pleasure of a foreign priest from a place like Ghana, knows that they are a breath of fresh air of faithfulness and devotion and frankly, remind us Americans how far off the reservation we’ve wandered.

  49. robtbrown says:

    1. The shortage of diocesan priests cannot be addressed by band-aid solutions, like inviting priests from foreign countries to engage in sacramental ministry in dioceses with sharply declining numbers of domestic vocations

    No wonder he can’t resist a subtle dig at foreign priests. Anyone who has had the pleasure of a foreign priest from a place like Ghana, knows that they are a breath of fresh air of faithfulness and devotion and frankly, remind us Americans how far off the reservation we’ve wandered.
    Comment by Scott W.

    He has conveniently forgotten that for many years FBI’s had a significant impact on dioceses in the US, esp. the Midwest. Ireland had a surfeit of priests, and US bishops not only recruited in Ireland but also in many cases financed Irish seminaries.

  50. Ruben says:

    Can it be said that McBrien even still has the faith? It seems clear enough he wants sin to spread.

  51. chironomo says:

    Briangar21…

    [DNFTT]

    I was totally convinced that your post was being sarcastic (many posters do that here) and I’m still not sure that yours isn’t… I haven’t seen you engage or respond to ensuing comments. But if you are really sincere (you think that McBrien could be right and Fr. Z could be wrong) then it would take more than just the virtue of humility to presuppose such a preposterous presumption! How about some evidence?

    It is telling that McBrien is very familiar with those who have fallen away from the church…they are his audience, and rather than answer the call of Christ to bring these sheep back into the fold, he dons the outward appearance of a sheep, validates their reasons for straying, and blames the shepherd for their separation. He is in fact a wolf.

    If you were being sarcastic, then be assured that I found your comments humorous! I can find no other way to interpret the claims that a)Fr. McBrien is a theologian of highest repute and b) Notre Dame is a formidable school of theology.

    Both of these require sarcasm as a context. Or you could simply be wrong. There is no virtue in encouraging dissent, even in a spirit of humilty.

  52. Allan S. says:

    Father, the photos accompanying your post have left me confused:

    Could you please clarify?

    1. Who is the layperson in the suit at the podium?

    2. Which one in the bottom photo is “Fr.” McBrien?

    Thanks,

  53. I am all for priests wearing the garments reserved for, and distinct to, the priesthood of the Church. Nowadays, the Roman collar isn’t quite good enough, since many Protestant ministers wear them also.

    This is quite practical: imagine if all policemen wore only plain-clothes while on duty, and only drove unmarked cars. If you needed a policeman, where would you find one? How could you trust that someone who says he is a cop actually is one? No uniforms would cause both panic and distrust of the police force. The mere fact of openly wearing uniforms in public helps maintain public order. Secret police are tools of tyrants; while uniformed police are more properly members of a society regulating itself. These uniforms ought to distinctively identify policemen, and also be solely reserved to the police.

    Likewise, the Catholic clergy has real spiritual authority and even some worldly power. Not dressing the part, I fear, may be deceptive, since in fact they are not laymen. Even progressive clergy retain and wield power not held by the laity, and pretending otherwise – by casual dress – does not change the fact. Wearing clericals in public is also practical, helping those in an emergency to identify a priest. A uniformed cop helps maintain public order, and so a uniformed priest could help maintain public spiritual order by his mere obvious presence.

    Of course, wearing showy garments for the sake of the show is also a vice, which can be counteracted by humbly wearing traditional and canonical clothing, and not creative garb.

    —-

    A Jesuit acquaintance told me about one of his fellow priests, a very unhappy fellow, who eventually left the Society. My acquaintance said that joy is an essential part of a religious vocation.

  54. Cavaliere says:

    7. There has been a substantial attrition of Catholics . . .critics of official teachings on sexuality and reproduction

    Aren’t these called heretics? Here is something from St. Thomas, Q.11 Heresy; Article’s 1 & 2

    On the contrary, Now a heretic is one who devises or follows false or new opinions. Therefore heresy is opposed to the truth, on which faith is founded; and consequently it is a species of unbelief.

    On the contrary, Augustine says against the Manichees [Cf. De Civ. Dei xviii, 1]: “In Christ’s Church, those are heretics, who hold mischievous and erroneous opinions, and when rebuked that they may think soundly and rightly, offer a stubborn resistance, and, refusing to mend their pernicious and deadly doctrines, persist in defending them.” Now pernicious and deadly doctrines are none but those which are contrary to the dogmas of faith, whereby “the just man liveth” (Romans 1:17). Therefore heresy is about matters of faith, as about its proper matter.

    BTW, I just saw this article from CNA).- The Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, cautioned that some priests have an “inadequate and superficial” encounter with Christ and have turned their ministries into “a sort of ecclesiastical profession.” The prefect also said that every priest must “live in ecclesial communion with the Pope, the local bishop and the presbytery;

    How relevant. Here is the link to the article http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17079

  55. irishgirl says:

    I always like reading your analyses and comments, Fr. Z-and you really demolished McBrien’s drivel in spades!

    Tim Ferguson-you were spot on too!

    RichR-I give you a thumbs up as well!

  56. Jayna says:

    “fascination with cassocks and birettas and a preference for antiquated vestments and devotions”

    He makes it sound like a fetish. He simply does not understand the need for priests to look like priests. After all, aren’t we all just one big, happy, common priesthood? Tosh! (And speaking of McBrien, the brochure for Religious Ed classes in my parish just went out to all 3,000+ registered families in the parish, and who do you think the director of RCIA sings the praises of? It is positively disgusting.)

    “a negative, censorious tone to preaching”

    This reminds me of something one of the deacons in my parish said. He believes that there were a lot of priests who left the priesthood after Vatican II because they lost all their power and could no longer tell people what is a sin and what isn’t. I don’t know about anyone else, but I always thought that was in the job description.

    “cracking down on pedophiles was also a way of dealing with homosexuality”

    I would argue that this does not deal with the the issue because pedophilia is a completely different situation than is homosexuality. Pedophilia indicates an attraction to children and typically does not have anything to do with the sex of the child. If someone appears to prefer one sex over the other, it usually has to do with circumstance; that is to say, pedophile priests would be more likely to have access to boys than to girls. Homosexuality, on the other hand, is an attraction to the same sex, but it is among consenting adults. They are not one in the same and so treating them as if they were does little to nothing to resolve the issue.

  57. Tominellay says:

    Fr. McBrien recently dedicated an entire column to his point #1.

  58. EXCHIEF says:

    Does the “Year of the Priest” even apply to McBrien? Seriously, given some of his heretical and scandalous positions though he has not been officially relieved of his status as a Priest for all practical purposes he has divorced himself from the real Priesthood.

  59. ssoldie says:

    Very funny cry baby photo, quite appropriate ,Thank you for the wonderful and truthful comments on Fr. McBrien’s babal, babal, babal,. It’s been going on for such a long time.

  60. Gabriel Austin says:

    On the Dallas meeting, read Card. Dulles’ article in FIRST THINGS about the inadequacy of the documents. It gives point to Cardinal Newman’s comments that councils and synods are the workshops of Satan.

    On clerical garb, I recall an article in AMERICA by the editor [a Jesuitical priest] that he disliked the Roman collar because so many people bothered him in the street.

    To which came a letter from an older humble parish priest who liked the collar because people were not afraid to approach him.

    As to homosexuality in the the priesthood, I wonder how many bishops are homosexual? Abp Weakland not only now admits it, but boasts of it. “Genital expression of love” he calls it.

  61. chironomo says:

    Fr. Z said, Don’t be alarmed. Broken clocks are also right once in a while.

    ROFL, Father. I don’t laugh out loud that often, but this one got me.

    Recall that the clock that is one second slow is NEVER right, but you can better depend on it to tell what time it really is….

  62. Agnes says:

    Tim said, “the young priest goes on to his next assignment, maybe his first pastorate, better armed and prepared to deal with a life of ministry. Sadly though, if he does so, it’s not because of his first pastor, but in spite of him.”

    Yet if God had not allowed him to be sandblasted by that first pastor (and the parish council), he would not be so well armed. It doesn’t condone the behavior of the tired old liberals, but maybe the purgative experience is part of the reason why our JPII priests seem to be made of some pretty strong spiritual stuff. Same for our families fighting in the trenches against the culture of death. We are all scathed by it, but made stronger in faith.

  63. Fr. John Mary says:

    The “reply” button is off on the trashing of Eucharistic Adoration article by the Rev. Richard McBrien on the NCReporter web site…hmmmm…I wonder what is up with that? Other posts from last month are still open for comments.
    Just wonderin’.

  64. Supertradmom says:

    Why is this sad man, albeit a priest, given so much attention? Although some of his points may be valid, he sounds like a grumpy old man. As to the liberal priests who want retirement so badly, in my experience, they have acted like yuppies, with three vacations a year, dinners out regularly, and a social life my family could not afford, so retirement seems part of the upper-middle-class-lifestyle to which they have aspired. I am sorry if I sound cynical, but the older ones, who work until they are too ill to do so, or die, have my greatest respect.

  65. Bruce says:

    Whenever McBrien is mentioned I always think of this quote:

    “those who marry the spirit of the age will find themselves widows in the next” G.K chesterton

  66. greg the beachcomber says:

    “…a fascination with cassocks and birettas and a preference for antiquated vestments and devotions.”

    One of our priests recently said that by simply wearing his cassock he’s witnessing for his faith. As another poster pointed out, the Roman collar and suit has been appropriated by some Protestants, so by wearing his cassock a priest is basically saying, “I’m Catholic, and proud of it.” (In non-sinful kind of pride way.)

  67. Fr. John Mary: You mean NCR turned off the combox? It is possible that there is a default time limit.

  68. thereseb says:

    With respect to Supertradmom, I think it is very helpful, especially to the JP2 and B16 generation of priests, that this sort of argument is vocalised by FOB, and is seen to be amply rebutted. Know thine enemy – before engaging or sidestepping him. Anyone reading Mein Kampf, Thoughts of chairman Mao, or the Alinsky Rules gets foreknowledge of the tactics that can and will be used against them.

  69. thereseb says:

    Sorry – my last sentence is incomplete. I do not intend to suggest that Mein Kampf would be used against traditionalist priests – only that if people read the published words of ideologues at the time they are written, that they would be forewarned and forearmed. The analogy goes no further than that.

  70. mfg says:

    Love those cassocks and birettas! Reminds me of when I was a child, gazing out the classroom window at our Pastor’s three assistants so attired, walking back and forth, up and down the school yrd reading their office. Something about it just seems so comforting, so right. When I founmd the indult Mass in our diocese about 15 years ago and first saw the Celebrant moving up the aisle in his chasuble and biretta I was moved to tears: God’s in his Heaven, all’s right with the world. Pray for Priests.

  71. Fr. John Mary says:

    Fr Z: Yes, indeedy. They certainly did. I guess “dialogue” got a bit, well, nasty…so much for “consultation” with the People of God!

  72. Fr. John Mary says:

    You might want to refer to the new article on “reform of the reform”…the gnashing of teeth is getting louuuuuder….http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/vatican-denies-%E2%80%98reform-reform%E2%80%99

  73. Hans says:

    Fr. Z wrote “Funny how, where the bishop is solid and traditional liturgy thrives, where catechism is good and where priests take this issue serious, there are many vocations. Strange, no?

    I have seen a good deal of anecdotal evidence for this trend, and I suppose it isn’t really surprising that bishops who value their priests get more of them, but do you know if anyone has done anything like a detailed analysis of it?

  74. Grabski says:

    Funny how a priest who wears commercial garb (except on CNN I understand) can take a pot shot at men who wear a priest’s attire.

  75. Grabski: I think I would ignore the tie, if he didn’t trash the Church’s tradition and insult the devotion people have for the Blessed Sacrament, … if he were as renowned for being faithful as he was for being a dissident.

  76. Therese says:

    Absolutely beautiful photograph of young priests. ;-)

  77. ThomasM says:

    Father McBrien is a bon vivant, a man about town, a publicity hound. I’d like to see him assigned to a parish and see how long he lasts. Not long, I trust. Tom

  78. Grabski says:

    Fr. Z I’d agree, though it seems that discarding clerical attire for commercial attire is a clear and intended marker for dissidence. Another is his wearing a Roman collar to peddle those views as a television commentator. It appears to be, ahem, disingenuous on his part.