Pope will not proclaim St. John Vianney after all

Strange business.

Back in March the Holy See announced that the Holy Father was proclaim St. John Vianney as patron of all priests, not just of parish priests.

Apparently not.

Paolo Rodari of Palazzo Apostolico has an entry, entitled in Italian "Incuria d’Ars" ("sloppiness of Ars").

The year for priests, writes Rodari, "is ending with a mystery (un giallo)." L’Osservatore Romano had announced on 9 June. 

Why this about-face? 

According to I.Media they have changed plans because St. John Vianney is not sufficiently representative of the priesthood of the 21st century, nor is he sufficiently universal, that is, representative of all priests in different ministries.  Furthermore, he isn’t entirely representative of today’s priest, in the age of communication.

Rodari opines that this could have been a bureaucratic decision.  Something perhaps wasn’t right with the Motu Proprio for the proclamatio.

In any event, this head-scratcher sure leaves the impression that someone in those upper hallways doesn’t have a clear idea of what he is doing.  Whoever either didn’t get the work done or consult widely enough in the preparation process left the Pope exposed to some embarrassment. 

The positive side is that something that was not deemed entirely opportune wasn’t in fact done.

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48 Responses to Pope will not proclaim St. John Vianney after all

  1. No priest, except Our Lord, will be the perfect model of all priests.

    So I’m sorry, but I do not accept the rejection of St. John Vianney as patron of all priests. It’s true that self-denial, holiness and devotion to the Sacrament of Penance, along with a concern about the salvation of souls, aren’t particularly in evidence among many priests today. But this is precisely why they need St. John Vianney as a patron.

    What we are seeing, I think, is typical of Novus Ordoism: bring everything down to the common denominator. Don’t challenge us. Forget about the transcendent.

    He will pray for them anyway, unacknowledged, like he always did.

  2. Random Friar says:

    Those reasons from I.Media strike me as odd… every saint is, in a way, outside of his or her own time and has something to teach to all Christians. St. Jean Marie Vianney isn’t about just being a priest in a small parish, but about being a priest whose heart imitates that of the Good Shepherd, working heroically to gather the lost sheep around his little parish.

    The zealous love for His flock is what, for me, anyway, St. Jean Marie Vianney represents for all priests, not his assignment.

  3. I think it’s a good decision. Zeal for souls and devotion to his ministry is not exclusive to John Vianney. Lots of canonized saints (and some un-canonized ones too) model this for others. Having him as the patron of parish priests (which he already is) certainly suffices. Not naming him patron of all priests does nothing to detract from the sanctity of John Vianney’s life and work. He is still a role model to priests and will continue to be seen as such. I thought the planned proclamation was overstating it.

  4. GregH says:

    This decision makes the Vatican look so stupid. When priests desperately need a model of the priesthood some bureaucrat grumbles that he is not “representative” enough. Give me a break.

  5. Sedgwick says:

    St. John Vianney is not sufficiently representative of the priesthood of the 21st century, nor is he sufficiently universal, that is, representative of all priests in different ministries. Furthermore, he isn’t entirely representative of today’s priest, in the age of communication.

    I’ll bet this was written by a member of one of those 4 Masonic lodges that are operating within the Vatican. Sooner or later their lies will expose them, lies such as “not sufficiently representative,” “not sufficiently universal,” “today’s priest.” That is not the language of the Catholic Church, but of her enemies.

  6. Igne says:

    The Curé d’Ars was an astounding man. He was a saint. Maybe his censoriousness about specific practices like dancing may have been behind the double-think here. His intervention in the social life of his parish could be open to misinterpretation by our own crawthumpers and killjoys – those who oppose good fun (you know the sort who berate Fr Z for cooking good meals), and in turn could be misrepresented by the secular media.

    Priests in the Latin Rite need a balance. Being celibate they need lots of good friends. Being called to a life of virtue they need to have fun. The temptations of insensibility can be quite as alluring as the temptation to license and excess.

    As for the specifics about the Curé, those who want to mock his hardline on dancing etc may not understand the situation that obtained in Ars when he arrived. I’d imagine it was about encouraging sobriety so people could be sensible of the good things in their lives and could be awake to the need to tend for their souls. I’m all in favour of dance, but not liturgical dance.

  7. avecrux says:

    Lots of things in the lives of the Saints can be open to misinterpretation… people having “visions” can think that they are mystics, just like Saint (fill in the blank)…or hey, St. Catherine of Siena told the Pope what to do, so I can, too…. or what about St. Joan of Arc – she dressed and acted like a man, so sexual distinctions really don’t mean very much…
    Yes – St. John Vianney labored intensely and instructed his flock as to the errors of their ways and some today may misinterpret it – but so what? The point is, pretty much any Saint can be misinterpreted.
    I agree with Timothy, Random Friar, etc… the reasons given for no proclamation seem strained at best.

  8. revfro says:

    It is great that the pope was considering making him patron of all priest. Perhaps it is not bad that they publicly suggested they would make him patron of all priest and then reverse. Maybe he can be made patron of all diocesan priest. Priests are complex things so one should be careful about rushing to judgment on Rome.
    1) I imagine that religious priest might have difficulty having him as a patron when they are religious. 2) Maybe Christ is exclusively the patron of all priests. 3) The perception may be that St. John’s example is exceptional, but narrow: Hearing confessions constantly, not a moments peace etc. A more detailed investigation into his life reveals a more dynamic complicated priest. For example, no ever mentions that he reversed his practice of eating only potatoes. He was smart: his difficulty in the seminary was more that he had liberal, horrible teachers and had to form himself as a priest. Misconceptions about the saint need to be cleared.

    Decisions like these have a profound effect on the church. The church has to be careful. The practice of the church is to be deliberate and slow. Perhaps recent trends in the church have given us the wrong impression of how the church should work. The rapid naming of saints for example thanks to short circuiting the process may have given us the idea that the pope should just wave a magic wand and continual pronounce edicts. The church still does have a process. Perhaps the process here has been shown to work because the church reversed its decision. Imagine if every time the pope had an idea it because the law of the church. Why would we have a process?

    St. John Vianney, Pray for Us.

  9. pelerin says:

    Watching some of the Mass this morning I was surprised to hear the commentator on KTO say that St Jean-Marie Vianney was not going tto be the case. I thought I must have misheard but now see that she did indeed say that.

    Did anyone else notice the proliferation of hats there – not on women but on most of the Priests present?! Sunhats both yellow and white, together with baseball caps and the occasional religious hood were to be seen as it appears the sun was very strong in Rome today. There were also yellow and white umbrellas making it very colourful. However I am curious to know why the liturgical vestments were not red today as it is the Feast of the Sacred Heart?

  10. pelerin says:

    Gremlins again made part of my comment disappear…. I was surprised to hear the commentator on KTO say that St Jean-Marie Vianney was not going to be made patron saint of all Priests but now see that this is to be the case.

  11. q7swallows says:

    Furthermore, he isn’t entirely representative of today’s priest, in the age of communication.

    I don’t know about this claim . . . St. John Vianney seemed to have the ultimate version of wireless communication . . .!

    I admit I am saddened by this development but I trust the Holy Father’s judgment.

  12. Supertradmum says:

    I really do not mind which priest-saint is chosen, but I do wish the Vatican would at least seem a little bit more professional media-wise.

  13. JCP says:

    While I disagree with the justification for not naming the Cure d’Ars as universal patron of priests, (Timothy Mulligan put it right) I know of some parish priests who may be heartened by this news (if not the explanation). The explanation my pastor gave me will hopefully clarify my meaning; he told me that religious have the model of their founder–Francis, Dominic, Ignatius, etc, but parish priests don’t have a priest that is “just for them” save Saint John Vianney. With this decision, Saint John remains the model for parish priests to emulate, and is still “their saint.” Would love to hear other’s thoughts on this.

  14. cpaulitz says:

    Another win from the ultra-left tearing down the Church from the inside. Pray for the Holy Father.

  15. Mark R says:

    JCP:

    My old Dominican pastor once told me that diocesan priests are to consider St. Peter as their “founder”.

  16. Alice says:

    Somehow I suspect St. John Vianney and his good friend St. Philomena are behind this whole thing. Since St. John Vianney was very discouraged (even thought of leaving parish ministry) when he discovered that there were no canonized parish priests whose intercession he could beg for himself and his parish, I suspect he’d rather stay patron of parish priests. I can just see him asking St. Philomena over a cup of heavenly coffee to make sure that this promotion didn’t go through. ;)

  17. BT says:

    “St. John Vianney is not sufficiently representative of the priesthood of the 21st century. . .”

    It would seem to me that this is the perfect reason for proclaiming him the patron of all priests.

  18. DBuote says:

    He probably doesn’t represent well enough those liberals who work on experimental farms or whatever, don’t recieve the sacrament of penance, don’t pray the breviary, and say Mass without vestments. BUT I’m not pointing any fingers.

  19. Animadversor says:

    And St. Thérèse of Lisieux is certainly a most inappropriate patron of missions.

  20. Animadversor:”Tongue in cheek”? I hope?

  21. Legisperitus says:

    Trying in vain to come up with any canonized saint who is “representative of the priesthood of the 21st century”…

  22. TonyLayne says:

    Silly me. I thought the function of a patron saint was to act as a model and guide, not as a picture of the status quo. It doesn’t really matter how many different ways priests now minister to people; all could benefit from emulating St. Jean’s selfless dedication to his flock, the way he lived his vocation every waking moment (and, apparently, there were few sleeping moments). No, the Vatican blew the timing, though it’s never to late to make that declaration.

  23. robtbrown says:

    St. John Vianney is not sufficiently representative of the priesthood of the 21st century, nor is he sufficiently universal, that is, representative of all priests in different ministries. Furthermore, he isn’t entirely representative of today’s priest, in the age of communication.

    I’ll bet this was written by a member of one of those 4 Masonic lodges that are operating within the Vatican. Sooner or later their lies will expose them, lies such as “not sufficiently representative,” “not sufficiently universal,” “today’s priest.” That is not the language of the Catholic Church, but of her enemies.
    Comment by Sedgwick

    Don’t know about the 21st century line, but I agree that he isn’t sufficiently universal. St Jean was a great man and is the ideal for parish priests, but the priesthood is not limited to working in a parish.

    BTW, I’m no Mason.

  24. juxta crucem says:

    Not sufficiently representative? My favorite saints are not wives and mothers like me. I have always loved and identified with St. John Vianney because he fasted and prayed so intensely for the souls entrusted to him (Do I do half as much for my own children?) and because he was so tempted to run away to be a hermit!

  25. Andrew says:

    St John Vianney, the Cure of Ars has always been one of my favourite saints, particularly when I read how he was despised by the cantonal clergy in his diocese, yet was a man of such profound holiness and goodness, despite his lack of sophistication.

    He has a lot to say to the priest of the 21st century, who so often we see is nothing more than a clerical bureaucrat.

    The argument that he is not a good role model for religious is ridiculous. If only some of them spent as much time in the confessional as the Cure.

    This change to the closing of the Year of Priests is rather unexpected, and a victory for the trendy clergy and teachers of religion since the Council, who looked down on saints and mystics, who they infer had nothing to say to the modern Age.

    Well, Catholics who strive to be loyal have taken so many batterings. I guess we can tick another one on the list, but St John Mary Vianney, pray for us always.

  26. robtbrown says:

    The argument that he is not a good role model for religious is ridiculous.

    Only if someone does not understand the distinction between priests who work in parishes and those who don’t.

    If only some of them spent as much time in the confessional as the Cure.
    Comment by Andrew —

    I agree that more time should be spent hearing Confessions, but your comment seems to assume the priesthood = the parochial priesthood.

  27. avecrux says:

    rotbrown –

    The Cure said “The Priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus”. To this day, I have never seen a more profound encapsulation of what the Priesthood is, no matter whether that Priest is parochial or religious. I do not accept that the Cure is not a fitting Patron of non-parochial Priests.

  28. jesusthroughmary says:

    Robtbrown –

    You seem to be implicitly stating the religious priesthood and the secular priesthood are so different that there can be no single patron saint of all priests. Are you in fact stating that?

  29. robtbrown says:

    You seem to be implicitly stating the religious priesthood and the secular priesthood are so different that there can be no single patron saint of all priests. Are you in fact stating that?
    Comment by jesusthroughmary

    I’ll answer that with a question: Do you think it’s appropriate that St Bruno (founder of the Carthusians), St Bernard of Clairvaux, or St Thomas Aquinas be universal patron of priests?

  30. robtbrown says:

    The Cure said “The Priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus”. To this day, I have never seen a more profound encapsulation of what the Priesthood is, no matter whether that Priest is parochial or religious.

    Can’t it also be said: “The Catholic Life is the Love of the Heart of Jesus”?

    I do not accept that the Cure is not a fitting Patron of non-parochial Priests.
    Comment by avecrux

    See my comments above re St Bernard, St Bruno, and St Thomas.

  31. chantgirl says:

    I wonder if Padre Pio was considered. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the same century that saw such upheaval and sin in the priesthood also saw such a stunning example of a priest being a sacrifice and offering sacrifice. I know he was a religious priest, but I think that his life was a good example for any priest.

  32. robtbrown says:

    I wonder if Padre Pio was considered. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the same century that saw such upheaval and sin in the priesthood also saw such a stunning example of a priest being a sacrifice and offering sacrifice. I know he was a religious priest, but I think that his life was a good example for any priest.
    Comment by chantgirl

    Any saintly life is a good example. Padre Pio was a great man, but he never was a parish priest and always lived in community.

  33. avecrux says:

    Actually, Robtbrown, I don’t think it can be said that the Catholic Life is the Love of the Heart of Jesus.
    First of all, the Priest acts in persona Christi capitis. No one else can – just the Priest. His conformity to Christ through the seal imparted at Holy Orders is unique. A Priest exists to offer sacrifice. Jesus Christ is both eternal High Priest and Victim – the only one Who, because of His human and Divine natures, was capable of redeeming us. It is that Sacrifice of Love – the Perfect Sacrifice – which the Priest re-presents in an unbloody manner so that the merits of that Sacrifice can be applied in our day to our own souls. In the Gospel of John 13:1, we see that Jesus, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And what did He do that night? He gave us the Mass, the Eucharist and the Priesthood to perpetuate these gifts. That is why THE PRIESTHOOD is said to be the Love of the Heart of Jesus and “the Catholic Life” is not. (And I haven’t even mentioned the Sacrament of Reconciliation…)

  34. I’m not gettin’ involved in this discourse; uh, uh.
    For whatever reason (I, along with Fr Z., find this odd), it did not go through.
    The holy priesthood is the holy priesthood, whether you are a secular priest, a regular priest (in one of the main Orders), a religious priest, a contemplative or a hermit. A priest is a priest.
    But that’s just my “take”; far better minds and more spiritual individuals are involved in this.
    St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, pray for us!

  35. robtbrown says:

    First of all, the Priest acts in persona Christi capitis. No one else can – just the Priest. His conformity to Christ through the seal imparted at Holy Orders is unique. A Priest exists to offer sacrifice. Jesus Christ is both eternal High Priest and Victim – the only one Who, because of His human and Divine natures, was capable of redeeming us. It is that Sacrifice of Love – the Perfect Sacrifice – which the Priest re-presents in an unbloody manner so that the merits of that Sacrifice can be applied in our day to our own souls. In the Gospel of John 13:1, we see that Jesus, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And what did He do that night? He gave us the Mass, the Eucharist and the Priesthood to perpetuate these gifts. That is why THE PRIESTHOOD is said to be the Love of the Heart of Jesus and “the Catholic Life” is not. (And I haven’t even mentioned the Sacrament of Reconciliation…)
    Comment by avecrux

    It is true the priest acts in persona Christi, but that does not mean that the Catholic life is not the Love of the Heart of Jesus. That’s why we have the Feast of the Sacred Heart, and it is not just oriented toward priests. In fact, its origin was St Margaret Mary Alacoque.

    It’s best not to confuse the Sacramental acts of the priest with holiness. Although it is most appropriate that a priest be holy, the efficacy of his Sacramental power does not depend on his personal holiness.

    To say that the Catholic Life is not the Love of the Heart of Jesus is, IMHO, Jansenism.

  36. robtbrown says:

    Also: When Pius X declared le Curé d’Ars Blessed he called him a model for the parochial priesthood.

  37. robtbrown says:

    The holy priesthood is the holy priesthood, whether you are a secular priest, a regular priest (in one of the main Orders), a religious priest, a contemplative or a hermit. A priest is a priest.
    But that’s just my “take”; far better minds and more spiritual individuals are involved in this.
    St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, pray for us!
    Comment by nazareth priest

    Question: Let’s say you are the abbot of a strict contemplative monastery. Parishes in the area are short of priests, and the bishop asks whether some of your priests will fill in at some Sunday masses. What would be your answer?

  38. avecrux says:

    Robtbrown – you are exactly right.
    Not only is it best not to confuse the Sacramental acts of the Priest with holiness – it is actually wrong to do so! That is why St. John Vianney is such a wonderful Patron, because he did not do this. Yes, the efficacy of the Sacramental power has absolutely nothing to do with personal holiness. A Priest can be in a state of mortal sin, have left the practice of his public ministry and yet he remains a Priest forever, according to the Order of Melchizedek, with the power to re-present the Eternal Sacrifice of Christ, confect the Eucharist and absolve sins. That’s why the Priesthood is the Love of the Heart of Jesus – not man! Even if the Priest separates himself from that love, Christ will still act through him, for the love of His people.
    The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart celebrates that Love of Christ. The Heart was pierced and out flowed Blood and water – the fountain of Sacramental life in the Church. That outpouring is made present today through the Priest and no other.
    What is the source and summit of the Catholic Life? The Eucharist. The Catholic life has no source and no summit without the Priesthood, for it is through the ministry of the Priest that Jesus has chosen to give us the Eucharist. It is the Priesthood – the Love of the Heart of Jesus – that gives us the source and summit of the Catholic Life. It is not Jansenist to say this!
    There is an essential difference between the common priesthood of the Baptized and the ordained Priesthood. Why, when this is mentioned, people suddenly think that it suggests an automatic canonization of every man who happens to be a Priest (confusion of Sacramental acts with holiness) I really do not know. It doesn’t. It merely recognizes a true and wonderful distinction.
    Pope Benedict referred to the Cure of Ars as follows in his letter proclaiming the Year of the Priest: “He spoke of the priesthood as if incapable of fathoming the grandeur of the gift and task entrusted to a human creature: ‘O, how great is the priest! … If he realized what he is, he would die… God obeys him: he utters a few words and the Lord descends from heaven at his voice, to be contained within a small host…’. Explaining to his parishioners the importance of the sacraments, he would say: ‘Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest… After God, the priest is everything! … Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is’.”
    This is true for ANY Priest.

  39. robtbrown says:

    What is the source and summit of the Catholic Life? The Eucharist. The Catholic life has no source and no summit without the Priesthood, for it is through the ministry of the Priest that Jesus has chosen to give us the Eucharist. It is the Priesthood – the Love of the Heart of Jesus – that gives us the source and summit of the Catholic Life. It is not Jansenist to say this!

    My objection was clearly that you said the Love of the Heart of Jesus only pertains to the priesthood.

    There is an essential difference between the common priesthood of the Baptized and the ordained Priesthood. Why, when this is mentioned, people suddenly think that it suggests an automatic canonization of every man who happens to be a Priest (confusion of Sacramental acts with holiness) I really do not know. It doesn’t. It merely recognizes a true and wonderful distinction.
    Avecrux

    It is a common error these days that state of perfection be confused with holiness. Someone in vows is said to be in the state of perfection. That status, however, does not indicate perfection but rather a state in which perfection is formally obligated by the vows (which are ordered toward the perfection of the F, H, and C). Further, it indicates a situation where the means exist (e.g., silence, separation from the world) that nourishes a life leading to perfection.

    The obligation of the diocesan priest is not the same as that of the religious, who is formally committed to perfection. The diocesan priest, partly because of celibacy, nevertheless is in a situation in which holiness is to be pursued.

    This does not mean that diocesan priests and laity cannot be saints. It merely means that a religious is formally obligated to sainthood.

  40. PadreOP says:

    I think a few distinctions need to be made here…

    The reality (speaking ontologically/sacramentally) of the priesthood of Jesus Christ is the same in every priest; the character that is imprinted on the soul of a man ordained to the priesthood is the same whether he is a diocesan priest or a religious priest. Thus to a certain degree, any and every priest-saint is a model for any of us who are priests today. There are aspects of priestly life that all priests, whether secular or religious, share, and seeing models of those things in the lives of the saints helps to inspire all of us called to the priesthood to live those things more fully. And in addition to the living of the life of virtue in general (which all of us, whether priests or not, are called to), there are specific virtues that priests are called to live because they are priests (e.g. pastoral charity; that is, the love of a shepherd for his flock).

    But that being said, it is often the case that the daily life of a religious priest is quite radically different from that of a diocesan priest. I’ve been ordained around 10 years now; during that entire time, I have spent a grand total of 3 months in a parish. (And even then I wasn’t “on the parish staff,” I was merely helping out for the summer so that some of the parish priests there could get away for some vacation time.) So while I can look to St. John Vianney and greatly admire him for what he did and how he lived his priestly life…there is relatively little of what he did that translates directly to my life as a priest. Obviously I can look to him and to the way he lived–heroically–many of the virtues and be inspired to live a life of heroic virtue myself. But the *way* in which I am being called to live those virtues is more often than not very, very different from how he did.

    So is he a good patron for someone like me? Well… I certainly wouldn’t have complained if the holy father had gone through with the proclamation. But neither do I feel terribly upset by the fact that he didn’t. In my own life of prayer, there are several priest-saints I pray to on a regular basis–St. John Vianney is not one of them. The saints that I invoke frequently are ones that not only lived lives of heroic virtue (as St. John Vianney did), but more importantly, who did so while *also* living a manner of priestly life that is much closer to the particular type of priestly vocation I am called to. For me, those saints are much better patrons than St. John Vianney is… and that wouldn’t have changed if the pope had made the declaration. I can and do admire St. John Vianney, I just don’t feel the kind of “closeness” to him that typically we feel towards those saints we consider to be our patron saints.

    For those priests who do (and, rightly, there are many), I feel for them…they are probably quite disappointed right now.

  41. robtbrown says:

    The reality (speaking ontologically/sacramentally) of the priesthood of Jesus Christ is the same in every priest; the character that is imprinted on the soul of a man ordained to the priesthood is the same whether he is a diocesan priest or a religious priest. Thus to a certain degree, any and every priest-saint is a model for any of us who are priests today. There are aspects of priestly life that all priests, whether secular or religious, share, and seeing models of those things in the lives of the saints helps to inspire all of us called to the priesthood to live those things more fully. And in addition to the living of the life of virtue in general (which all of us, whether priests or not, are called to), there are specific virtues that priests are called to live because they are priests (e.g. pastoral charity; that is, the love of a shepherd for his flock).
    PadreOP

    1. St Thomas’ approach is that the non Eucharistic Sacraments are pastoral in nature, being ordered toward the Eucharist. We know that not all priestly vocations involve administering the other 6 Sacraments. Thus it is the Eucharist that all priests have in common.

    2. How does pastoral charity to a Carthusian or Trappist priest or any priest living in a Hidden Apostolate?

  42. robtbrown says:

    Should be: How does pastoral charity apply . . .

  43. PadreOP says:

    Regarding point #1, of course all priests have the Eucharist in common. Is that assertion a response to something I had written, because if it is, I don’t see the immediate connection. Of course, all priests have many other things in common (outside of the sacraments); and even when it comes to the Sacraments, all priests have all of the Sacraments in common (err…well Holy Orders being a different situation) at least “in potentia,” even if in actuality some are in locations/ministries where the opportunities to offer some of the Sacraments are less frequent than in others.

    Regarding #2, there are many ways of answering that. Pastoral charity is love (charity) for the sheep of the Lord’s flock. Some priests–pastors of parishes, bishops of dioceses, etc.–have a particular portion of the Lord’s flock that is explicitly entrusted to their care. However, all priests by virtue of their ordination share in the one priesthood of Christ, which is possessed in its fullness by the bishops. All priests in some way are sharers in the pastoral charge of the bishops. By sharing in that priesthood, all priests are sharers (at least in the remote sense) in the pastoral care of all the faithful. Furthermore, all priests by virtue of their ordination are members of an “order” in the Church, the order of the presbyterate. Or to use an English word perhaps a bit less confusing than “order” here, they are members of a presbyteral college made up of all the priests throughout the world. As such, they are by participation shepherds as well–even those who can’t point to a small subset of the Lord’s flock as being specifically “their own” flock like the pastor of a parish can easily do.

    Now, how is pastoral charity lived in the case of someone like a Trappist priest? Well for one, he is likely celebrating the Sacraments (at the very least Mass and likely the Sacrament of Penance as well) for his brethren in the monastery. So the flock he most directly ministers to might be other religious, perhaps even (mostly) other priests, but that does not lessen the demands of pastoral charity. Secondly, I think of the antiphon we sing at office for the common of pastors, “This is a man who loved his brethren, and ever prayed for them.” I would argue any prayer offered to the Father by a priest on behalf of (or for) the Church (or any subset thereof) is a *pastoral* action, and an act of pastoral charity. It is pastoral not because of what particular words he uses or anything like that–it is pastoral because of IDENTITY of the one offering up that prayer. As a priest, he is configured to Jesus Christ, High Priest and Good Shepherd, and he can’t pray for God’s flock in any other way THAN as a priest. And if priest, then a shepherd. Because of his sacramental configuration to Christ. Some old priest-monk, sitting in the corner of a monastery chapel devoutly praying the Divine Office for the People of God, can be engaged in an action marked by a greater pastoral charity than a priest who spends that same time hearing confessions, attending parish council meetings or the grade school year-end picnic or whatever. Neither one is necessarily “better” or “more pastoral.” They are *different*, and each is pastoral in a different way. And without knowing what is in the depths of the hearts of upon the individual priests involved, it is impossible to say which of the two is acting with a greater pastoral charity at any given moment.

  44. Animadversor says:

    Animadversor:”Tongue in cheek”? I hope?
    Comment by nazareth priest — 11 June 2010 @ 4:12 pm

    Mais, oui!

  45. Animadversor says:

    And what business do celibate priests have giving advice to married couples? And Mary of Nazareth was a most unsuitable choice to bear the Word made Flesh. And those twelve characters He chose for His apostles? One could go on, but I hope no one is so obtuse so as not to grasp my point about our human ideas of suitability. What God can do with such unpromising, such hopeless material!

    [S]ufficit tibi gratia mea nam virtus in infirmitate perficitur. Libenter igitur gloriabor in infirmitatibus meis ut inhabitet in me virtus Christi. Propter quod placeo mihi in infirmitatibus in contumeliis in necessitatibus in persecutionibus in angustiis pro Christo cum enim infirmor tunc potens sum.

  46. Jane says:

    St John Vianney would be a good patron for all priests. He was a great promoter of devotion to St Philomena the Wonder Worker. At least priests should pray to her for help in their vocation. There are case histories of her help for them.

    I once had a parish priest here in Sydney, who redecorated his house and said that it was going to be a simple extension like the Cure of Ars’ house. I doubted that. Now I know for sure. I went to France and went through the Cure of Ars’ house. It is not home beautiful.

  47. robtbrown says:

    PadreOP,

    I apologize for the delay.

    1. The point is that all priests have the Eucharist in common is that is what unites them–not pastoral work or even the other Sacraments (which St Thomas says are in themselves of a pastoral nature). Of course, your late OP brother, Fr Schillebeeckx, was of another opinion.

    How many marriages do you think Fr Garrigou LaGrange witnessed? Or St Thomas?

    2. Re Benedictines: I can only speak about Fontgombault (a Solesmes foundation), where the Abbot hears the confessions all the monks (I think the exception is the novices). That of course differs from the OP’s, where in a large priory every priest is available to everyone else living there.

    At Fontgombault one priest–always the same one–would be in the Confessional on Sunday for the laity attending the high mass. I do think, however, that a guest could request any of the priests for Confession, but that would be rare exception.

    I assume that before the collapse that was the practice in Trappist monasteries.

    3. I think of Pastoral Charity as something specific, involving direct contact. Obviously, through a Hidden Apostolate a priest exercises pastoral charity mystically through celebrating mass and prayer–but not through direct contact with others, as an OP with those to whom he is preaching or a parochial priest with his flock. If a young priest would be asked by his pastor about his absence from various parochial duties, I doubt that the pastor would be satisfied by the young priest saying that he exercises pastoral charity by celebrating mass and praying. Ditto for a Dominican preacher who was delinquent in his preaching duties.