One of the worst of the hyper-liberal catholic publications, Commonweal, publishes a regular column by long-time Rome correspondent Robert Mickens.
Many readers here will recall that Mickens loathes Benedict XVI. He lost his job with The Tablet, the UK’s worst catholic weekly, when in 2014 he posted disgusting comments about Benedict.
This week Mickens addresses the issue of vocations to the priesthood. He goes after St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Since it’s the Easter Octave, I won’t trouble you with much of his text. His bottom line is that 1) narrow, clericalist, backward-looking Popes of the past blocked the work of the Holy Spirit (which Mickens seems to know better than they) Who clearly wanted an end to clerical celibacy and the ordination of women, and 2) the stifling of the “spirit of Vatican II” has caused a huge drop in vocations, which has prompted bishops to reach our for priests from Third World countries to take up the slack and some of those bishops and priests are not in sync with Pope Francis, and 3) there are at long last bright rays of sunshine in the obscurity caused by men, near messianic figures, who coincidentally are associated with the political left and the liberal, progressivist arm of Pope Francis’ pontificate.
Ergo, these bad bad males must be replaced. His line-up includes (titles removed for the sake of speed): Kasper, Schönborn, Farrell, Tobin, and McElroy.
Along the way, Mickens alternates between the green ink and the purple patch. You’d think that the Battle of Narnia was about to begin.
Boiled down, Mickens thinks that these bad bad males, these Tridentine, clericalist scaredy-cats have repressed priestly vocations.
Mickens is exactly wrong.
There is no lack of priestly vocations where bishops are capable of projecting solid clerical identity and where they teach perennial Catholic truth in charity and in clarity.
I come from a parish where in 30 years there were 30 First Masses. I live in a diocese where in a decade the bishop turned around vocations from 6 to 30.
The proportion of priests to people is more or less constant. Why? Lay people get the priests that they produce and that they deserve. Lower Mass attendance results in falling numbers of priests, not the other way around.
Liberal clerics inevitably fall into the sin of the clericalism which they hurl as tar and feathers at conservative, faithful priests and bishops. For example, when the former drag lay people up into the sanctuary and let them do something that is really their own role, they clericalize the laity in the most condescending way. Similarly, libs think that bishops produce vocations like Zeus produced Athena. In truth, families produce vocations.
In the places (countries, dioceses, parishes, families) where the “spirit of the Council” was pushed à la Mickens, there has been devastation of Catholic identity.
Following Mickens’ logic, the whole Church should look rather like Belgium.
Belgium, which followed the “spirit of the Council” down the storm-drain and out to sea, (the Bishop of Antwerp, Johan Bonny, has called for rituals for “gay” marriage in the Church) now has 5% Mass attendance. The reforms of the Church that Mickens desires have been so “successful” in Belgium that hardly anyone goes to Mass any more. Subsequently, there are no vocations to the priesthood, either.
See? What a success!