Beware priests who don’t want to be ‘set apart’

Beware priests who don’t want to be ‘set apart’

By Phil Lawler | May 23, 2016
www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=1294

Is there a “Pope Francis effect” evident in the latest crop of young men training for the priesthood? Father Phillip Brown, rector of the Theological College seminary at Catholic University, says there is, in a report for the National Catholic Reporter [see angelqueen.org/2016/05/12/francis-effect-growing-among-seminarians-says-theological-college-rector/ ]. Matthew Pinto adds some interesting reflections on this “new wave” of seminarians. One difference, as reported by Father Brown, is that the younger seminarians embrace a “theology of encounter”—or, to put it somewhat differently, they show less interest in defending controversial Catholic teaching. “The latter often involves confrontation, which few prefer over harmonious relationship,” Pinto explains. Here I confess that I feel a bit disoriented—as I often do, when I hear denunciations of “harsh” and “judgmental” clerics. Where are all the older priests who prefer confrontation? I haven’t met them. In fact, in the past twenty years or so, when I’ve witnessed confrontations between priests and laity, the lay people being scolded have invariably supported Catholic teaching. Pinto goes on to report that Father Brown “believes that the new wave of seminarians is less focused on the “sacerdotal” nature of the priesthood, i.e., that priests are “set apart” with particular sacramental powers.” Pinto adds: “I hope this is not the case.” On that point—Pinto’s point, I mean—I couldn’t agree more strongly. If Catholic priests do not understood that they are “set apart,” and convey that understanding to other young men, soon there will be no one “set apart”—that is, no priests—to serve the faithful.”

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http://angelqueen.org/2016/05/24/beware-priests-who-dont-want-to-be-set-apart/
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