JPII/Benedictine generation of priests will have a hard time saving the Church January 12, 2016
Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, different religion, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Holy suffering, manhood, mortification, North Deanery, persecution, priests, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition.
That’s one of the prime takeaways from a post by Rorate Caeli recently. While the relative orthodoxy of the younger generation of priests certainly does give rise to some hope, both due to their limited numbers and the near-total control of the levers of power by liberals in virtually every diocese, it will be a long, long time before these relatively orthodox men will be in a position to influence the Church on a broad level. By then, Francis and his successor(s) may well have totally remade the priesthood by allowing priests to marry, admitting openly perverse priests, and even flirting with the idea of women priestesseses.
Long story short, don’t pin your hopes on any biological solution, or on a quick turnaround in the Church. It is likely things will get a lot worse, before they get better (if’n and a when’n). I excerpt portions of the post I found particularly meaningful below (my emphasis and comments):
It is said that the John Paul II/Benedict XVI generation of priests will “save” the Church from the straits in which she finds herself. This belief presents an untenable myopic vision of the future. The current generation of younger priests has largely been formed by the previous generation that contributed to the dire straits in the first place. What formation has thus been imparted to our newer generation? It would not be wise to do a happy dance and wave our pompoms while singing “the crisis is over” as Ross Douthat recently indicated. [Well, I can say that, locally speaking, most of the young priests ordained in the Diocese of Dallas in the last 6-7 years have been pretty solid. Some have at least a degree of overt attraction to tradition. But their numbers are still quite few. And, as indicated above, their degree of knowledge regarding the constant belief and practice of the Church is often quite limited, owing to the generally still deplorable state of the formation they receive. So while there is some room for hope, it will be a very long, uphill slog. The key thing is simple lack of numbers, the priesthood (and especially the office of pastor) is still dominated by liberal clerics of the preceding generation, and, in spite of their rapid aging, that will continue for many years to come]
The fact is that new priests get ordained and find the Communistic environment of fear and silence continues in parish life, albeit modified. Now, instead of seminary formators watching them, they have their secret police parish pastor keeping a sharp eye on them. Do not think for a moment these pastors are not keeping tabs on the “young pups” and making reports to authorities at the Diocesan chancery office(s). [Oh Lord do they! The stories I could tell. And not about anything so dramatic as actually offering Mass facing the Lord! Oh no, I’m talking simple things like adding a single Latin prayer or dressing in traditional vestments! The drama such instances of “rebellion” cause!]
A young priest wearing the cassock or a biretta will be a conversation piece at the rectory dining room table, followed by such epithets as “rigid,” “overly conservative,” and the like. [Oh indeed. Such things cause quite a stir] Moreover, if he likes to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form, you might as well put the straitjacket on him. In the parlance, these men need to be “broken.” If such tendencies are noted in seminary, they will most likely be assigned to work with a parish priest entrusted (tacitly or overtly) with the task of “breaking” the spirit of the newly-minted priest. [Once again, I don’t know much, but what I do know corresponds so very well to all the above. First of all, in the Diocese of Dallas, it has been very clearly communicated to young priests that the TLM is expressly forbidden to them outside very unusual circumstances, a private Mass, or something to that effect. It has been made very clear that there is only ONE parish where the TLM is offered in Dallas, and that will remain the case for a long time to come (certainly as long as our current bishop remains in office). Even more, the bit about assigning young priests of orthodox tendency to certain parishes, with certain pastors, to be “broken” is very much spot on. If you track the locales where young priests tend to be assigned in our own diocese, you will find a very clear pattern emerge. That is not accidental. Even more, I have seen the kind of manipulation, the “breaking,” that goes on a number of times. Things like shaming a young priest for holding a too orthodox view, making dark hints about the impact such views might have on his career, and using manipulative techniques to remind a young priest that adhering to more traditional, orthodox beliefs is so very divisive, and won’t that just upset people and cause him a lot of problems in the future? I could be much more specific, but won’t, for now]
Another form of fear that is used by the pastor is a morbid fear of their comrades the people. In other words, “we do not do ‘X’ here in this parish because it will not go over well with the people” (Read: they will not like me and take their money/resources elsewhere). This line of thinking is based upon human respect, which is a condemned practice in the spiritual life, for “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). [That’s precisely the kind of manipulation I refer to above]
Human respect has a vicious tendency to neglect the saving truths (and pursuant ways of action) of Christ that lead us to heaven. In the case at hand, a practice (ad orientem) that directs people specifically to the worship of God as opposed to focusing upon man is being neglected because “the people” will not tolerate it. Who is the custodian of the Truths of God and His holy Church here, the priest or the people? [“The people” are just an excuse. The post-conciliar Church is as viciously clericalist as any in her long history, if the people were clamoring for more Tradition, their views wouldn’t count for diddly squat. Unless the money started to suffer, then, maybe, but it would be with great reluctance and fought every step of the way. References to the concerns of the people are in essence just a mask for a pre-determined ideology of revolutionary origin]
One can certainly understand in the light of the current state of affairs that restoring ad orientem worship of Almighty God would be an uphill battle, one that requires the greatest of caution and care. Few priests, however, are climbing that hill and we need to pray for them. They are horribly brutalized by their respective Dioceses and this is an understatement. In seminary formation, they are socialized or conditioned to fear things like Latin and tradition. [Indeed. It takes enormous guts and faith to fight through the minefield that is the seminary program, in this diocese as in almost all others, and even if a man manages to hang onto his pre-formation faith, he will face obstacles and opposition at almost every turn. These young priests need constant prayer, and perhaps even more, penance, as do their often unjust superiors.]
In one case known to this writer, a group of women ran a priest out of a parish by complaining to his Diocese using the right key words to the authorities. This priest did nothing except what he was supposed to be doing as a priest, bring the tradition to the people (Latin, Chant, etc.). He now serves in a parish out in the boonies that is usually assigned to priests who experience troubles with the bottle or pornography. It is unjust, and while such atrocities make saints and are a sign of God’s favor, we must never think that it is acceptable for Ordinaries to persecute their priests as such (i.e. to do evil that good may come about).
Priests are forced to compromise their mission because they do not want to “jeopardize their priesthood” (to use their expression). Let us remember that a priest is a priest. One’s priesthood (in se) is not necessarily jeopardized. It is his ability to exercise the ministry which is at stake. His Ordinary can restrict the priest’s faculties by making him have as little an influence as the Ordinary is canonically able to do (nursing homes and boonie-parishes being likely options). [Once again, spot on and fully supported by local trends. Most all of the most orthodox priests, and especially pastors, are relegated to the furthest periphery of this diocese. Not all priests in the far suburbs/exurbs trend orthodox, but virtually every orthodox pastor (relatively speaking) is consigned to a parish on the periphery. Young priests undergoing the “breaking” process know that fate awaits them if they steadfastly adhere to their orthodox views. It is a test of each man’s courage, and not all are able to stand it.]
There is much more. There are certain highly “desirable” parishes, certain locales that tend to either be seen as very comfortable, or having a lot of resources, or being in a hot location (some priests enjoy a more thrilling nightlife than you or I), or being in a “friendly” neighborhood (ahem), etc. These are often the same parishes where young priests are assigned, giving them, as it were, the carrot and the stick. Locals can probably think of some of the more desirable parishes, they tend to be in wealthier parts of town and nicer areas. Note, a parish does not have to be in the boonies to be undesirable, being in a rough inner city parish with poor financial prospects is also not always desirable.
Quite worldly concerns, I know. Diocesan politics are as banal as they are byzantine. Really, the quoted text, and my comments, only scratch the very surface of this matter. A priest today has to be as much or more politician, and often of a Machiavellian type, as he is devout man of God and shepherd of souls. That’s a core aspect of the post-conciliar clericalism that is so rampant today, a priest is often judged by ordinaries less by his devotion and ability to move and save souls than he is by his political and financial acumen, blind obedience to whatever the chancery bureaucracy (dominated by lay liberal types) demands, and his general willingness to go along with the powers that be, and perhaps most especially the post-conciliar zeitgeist.
Of course, things vary. Some dioceses, some bishops, are better than others. Dallas has not been blessed with a particularly orthodox bishop in almost 50 years. Farrell is an improvement over his two disastrous predecessors, but he’s not exactly a Finn, Burke, or Bruskewitz. So much in the Church depends on the outlook of the bishop, but even with a fairly orthodox/traditional bishop, the unmoving bureaucracy remains overwhelmingly progressive. The progressives seized almost total control of power in the Church from the national conference level on down in the late 60s, and they have a death grip on it.
It’s going to be a very long row to hoe. Do pray for the young priests, they may not be explicitly traditional, but, then again, Fr. Michael Rodriguez and Fr. Peter Carota did not start out that way, either. They face sufferings and pressures we’ll never really know. Pray that they retain that light of faith and openness to the Church’s great, life-sustaining Tradition. May God bless them and their apostolates.