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How do we help others grow in holiness? July 17, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, error, General Catholic, North Deanery, priests, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Virtue.
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I was at an event last night at a local parish, a sort of graduation party for a son who serves at Mass at a number of parishes.  He’s only 15, yet he starts college in the fall. This is a local homeschooling family that is pretty well known. They had another son ordained to the priesthood in Dallas 2 years ago.  He just finished his canon law degree in Rome, and is starting his first assignment at St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Dallas soon.

So, this family is pretty “connected” in the Diocese. I guess that explains why there were 6 priests at the Mass offered in thanksgiving for his graduation, including the current Cathedral Rector Fr. Garcia and the current vocations director for the Diocese, Fr. Szatkowski.

There was a little social after the Mass. It was very nice of the family to put that on.  During this social, I was able to speak with Fr. Szatkowski, and another young priest who was ordained last year.  I’m not sure if I was being annoying or what, but I got a strange vibe from this other priest – as if he knew who I was, and really didn’t want to talk with me. But as far as I know, I’ve never met him before in my life.  But I suppose word gets around.

Anyways, I was asking various questions about how things are going, and I learned from Fr. Szatkowski that there are now 59 men in the seminary for Dallas, and 7 priests are expected to be ordained in 2014.  Even better, if the classes hold together and candidates to the priesthood don’t leave, we could have 30 men ordained in the years 2018-2020.  That would be marvellous, and would go a long way towards making up the the ginormous shortfall the diocese is facing as a huge number of priests approach retirement age. I mentioned that these ordinations, if they occur, could signal a huge shift in the Diocese in terms of generations/age of priests, as well as, perhaps, the emphases these priests would hold.

That’s right, I was sort of dancing around the generational divide among priests, where younger priests are often much more  orthodox in their approach and transmission of the Faith than older ones.  From that topic, I sort of segued to asking this young priest what he thought was the most important, or one of the most important, areas to emphasize to the faithful in his role as priest. He answered “the universal call to holiness……….”

UPDATE AND EDIT: I had written a post wherein I doubted, or even challenged, some of what the young priest had to say. I am retracting all of that, because I think I badly misunderstood what he said, or intended to say.  So, I’ll just leave this post as an update on the seminary situation and that’s it. If I misinterpreted the young priest’s words and gave a false, negative impression of his orthodoxy, I apologize and pray forgiveness.

I wish I could say more, but I cannot, unfortunately.  Suffice it to say, he’s Tradition-friendly.

Comments

1. Woody - July 18, 2013

Well, where did he go to seminary? Who has been “teaching” him here in the diocese the past year? But, I did notice last month that not only were 2 new priests ordained but 49 new men joined the program to become permanent deacons! Just what we need.

2. Steve - July 18, 2013

Without revealing too much about the Dallas priest in question…I don’t wish to reveal his identity…during the past five years, I encountered a younger priest who stated during a sermon that we would do well to recover our once strong Catholic identity.

Following Mass, I thanked said priest for his sermon. I then suggested that to accomplish the above task, we must revive Traditional Catholic practices…such as kneeling to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.

Incredibly, the priest stated…”No…In the Church, we can’t turn back the clock.”

His statement reminded me of Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s column (2011 A.D.) during which he acknowledged that our having discarded our Traditional Catholic “markers” has weakened greatly our Catholic identity.

http://blog.archny.org/index.php/external-markers-of-our-faith/

“Scholars of religion–all religions, not just Catholic–tell us that an essential of a vibrant, sustained, attractive, meaningful life of faith in a given creed is external markers.

“Islam, for example, is renowned for Ramadan, the holy season now upon them; dress; required prayer three times daily; and obligatory pilgrimage.

“Orthodox Jews are obvious, for instance, for their skull caps, for the seriousness of the Sabbath, and for feastdays.

“What about us Catholics? But, what are the external markers that make us stand out?

“Lord knows, there used to be tons of them: Friday abstinence from meat was one of them, but we recall so many others: seriousness about Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation; fasting on the Ember Days; saints names for children; confession at least annually; loyal membership in the local parish; fasting for three hours before Holy Communion, just to name a few.

“But, almost all of these external markers are now gone. Some applaud this; some mourn it. Besides the black smudge on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday, is there any way we Catholics “stand out” as distinctive?

“Debate it you may. But, the scholars tell us that, without such identifiable characteristics, any religion risks becoming listless, bland, and unattractive. Even the sociologist Father Andrew Greeley, hardly some nostalgic conservative, concluded that the dropping of Friday abstinence was a loss to Catholic identity.”

Incredibly, in the spirit of the younger priest mentioned above, Timothy Cardinal Dolan then stated…”I’m not saying we should re-introduce any or all of these markers. The toothpaste is probably out of the tube.”

Younger priests…older priests…most agree that Holy Mother Church is in the midst of a monumental crisis of faith.

But neither group seems willing to “turn back the clock” to revive Holy Tradition…to restore ancient and extremely effective Catholic markers that promote holiness.

3. Catechist Kev - July 18, 2013

“I don’t think we can be ordering people around or telling them what they’re doing is wrong.”

Wow, so much for the spiritual work of mercy known as “admonishing sinners” then, yes? 😦

Fraternal correction is not needed anymore I suppose. Just do your own thing and God be with you!

[sigh]

The sexular culture has encroached into the Church so badly we have priests across the spectrum (from 80s to 20s) who have fallen for the worldly mindset of “go along to get along” or, better put, the “Church of Nice” as M.V. puts it.

Sure, there are *rare* exceptions, but… good grief! If I saw a little one (age matters not) heading towards a cliff do I simply say, “Good luck with that.”?

Steve’s example is sad, too.

“No…In the Church, we can’t turn back the clock.”

Really? Didn’t our Blessed Lord say someting about the householder retrieving treasures “old and new”? (Mt. 13:52)

I just don’t get it.

Catechist Kev

4. Marguerite - July 18, 2013

Fraternal correction is very difficult in that defense mechanisms and justification for one’s behavior come into play when one is trying to point out another’s personal sins. Our lack of humility doesn’t allow criticism or correction from one sinful like ourselves. It would be better to pray to the Lord to break the person’s heart of stone so that he/she will be open to the grace of God to change. All the preaching in the world cannot do what one Mass can for the errant soul. If you pray, fast and do almsgiving for the salvation of that soul, wait on the Lord and he will do the rest.

5. Frank - July 18, 2013

My uncle would not attend the “wedding” of his son who married a “divorced” woman. The couple is still “married”. So his action, albeit praiseworthy, did little to change his son’s heart. Instead, the son resents the father. So there’s a fine line between correcting and praying for souls. But yes, our Church should condemn, from the rooftops, behaviors that are offensive to God. However, our own behavior speaks volumes too in ways of which we may not even be aware.

6. TG - July 18, 2013

“onfession at least annually” that’s part of the problem. I need to confess at least once a month – every week would be the same sins and my priest would get sick of me (just joking). Good article. I think priests need to speak about sins and describe them so that people know what sin is. The homily is the only time most people will hear anything abou the faith. I don’t understand why priests are afraid bcause you don’t have to be confrontational to say something is a sin. I agree also with comments about just praying for hardened sinners. It was God’s grace that led me to open my heart and realize my sins and how I needed to return to Him not what anyone ever told me. I ask God to give my children a chance just like He gave me.


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