From a reader…
What’s the deal with priests carrying their emergency cellphone on them? [Hmmm… I don’t know what the deal is!] I was disturbed to learn that our priest doesn’t keep it with him. When I asked him about it and raised my concerns, and he said that it’s not that busy and that according to St. Alphonsus Liguori, priests are only responsible for the souls directly with them.
This doesn’t sit right with me. Basically I can’t call if there’s an emergency (and they have happened in the past for our former priest who would get called out for emergency sacramental needs) because he doesn’t keep his emergency cellphone with him. I have to rely on some other priest for emergencies. [So, there is one. Okay.] I’m sure the number gets abused, but still. We all have our crosses, this one seems a bit minor.
Other people’s crosses usually are a bit minor.
So, the priests have, over time and according to their experience, their schedules, their inclinations (yes, priests are allowed to be different), handle the “emergency phone” ways that vary from your wishes. When you want to contact the priest, then by golly, he’d better pick up.
Sure there are emergencies: hospitals have chaplains and/or priests in rotation who can cover. They are the first line of contact in emergencies, depending on the region, local custom etc. Of course if there is an agreement among the priests in the area, that’s another matter. Everyone should pull his weight.
And we all have to keep in mind that the sacrament of anointing is more of a sacrament because Fr. Sven O’Reilly gives it rather than Fr. “Just call me Bob” Hühnerbein.
This email reminded me of something I posted many years ago, sure-fire way method for how to improve your priest:
The Perfect Priest
The results of a computerized survey indicate the perfect priest preaches exactly fifteen minutes. He condemns sins but never upsets anyone. He works from 8:00 AM until midnight and is also a janitor. He makes $50 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books, drives a good car, and gives about $50 weekly to the poor. He is 28 years old and has preached 30 years. He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all of his time with senior citizens.
The perfect priest smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work. He makes 15 calls daily on parish families, shut-ins and the hospitalized, and is always in his office when needed.
If your priest does not measure up, simply send this letter to six other churches that are tired of their priest, too. Then bundle up your priest and send him to the church on the top of the list. In one week, you will receive 1,643 priests and one of them will be perfect. Have faith in this procedure.
One parish broke the chain and got its old priest back in less than three weeks.
And if that doesn’t work, there’s always this. HERE