14 September 2013

An Appreciation of Priests

Jeffrey Tucker offers an appreciation of priests. . .frankly, I get up every morning thanking God that He called me to this life, and I remain in awe of the generosity I've experienced from Catholics all over the world! 

J.T. points out that Catholics tend to expect their priests to be On Hand and Ready at a moment's notice to provide spiritual insight, pastoral care, and intelligent advice. Yup. That's exactly what we signed on to do.

If someone asked me to stand up and say something intelligent about the day’s readings, I would sweat it out and probably flop. Most people would. And yet we somehow assume that the talent to do this is built into the genetic code of a priest—and if he ever fails, he will certainly hear about it.

Not only that, everyone in the parish assumes that the priest should be there at every instant to serve us in every conceivable way—on our terms. Maybe we will be faithful or maybe not. Maybe we will lean on the priest only in hard times, or in big ceremonial occasions like weddings and baptisms but otherwise pay no attention whatsoever.

We are happy to lose interest in the Catholic faith for months, years, or decades. This is a luxury afforded to the laity. But we believe that when we are ready, the priest will be there with all the answers, with a forgiving heart, and welcoming arms. He will hear our confession, happily, and rejoice in our return. He will baptize our children, marry them later, and be there when our lives have fallen apart. We can lose the faith at will; he, on the other hand, must never waver, else we will be scandalized and cry hypocrisy.

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  1. Anonymous11:06 AM

    I've been around priests a lot, both diocesan and religious ones. It seems to me that many diocesan priests lack companionship and loneliness may be a difficult hurdle for them, sometimes leading to imaturity and selfishness. On the other hand, religious priests have plenty of company in their community, though how healthy this community is affects him as a shepherd as well. Because of this, I've found that it's more common to be hurt at a personal level by a diocesan priest and it's more common to be scandalized at a parish level by a religious priest (e.g., when he imposes his community's ways in the parish, even if for the better). I guess that just like lack of affirmation is a bad thing, too much of it is too.

    In the end, in a very mysterious way, priests are still men, though configured to Christ in an unique way. All that I can do is to continue to bow at the priest processing in at Mass, even if he's a jerk.


    Jerk-in-chief of all selfish, bumbling laymen.

    1. Dear Jerk-in-Chief, you've got it exactly right, I think! Priests are human. . .with all the good/bad/ugly that that entails.

  2. Anonymous9:08 PM

    We have met few priests too. If loneliness is a difficult problem I can honestly say that we have always offered an open house friendship: my house is your house! Let me know when you want to come over and dinner will be ready! Let us know what we can do for you. We have offered many times our time in volunteer work: cleaning bathrooms , office work , taking calls, etc. We were not allowed to do these! We ended up being money/counters (no one wanted to take that job).I have been mistreated by one parishioner so unjustly that my pastor never asked me my side of the story but defended this abusive behavior as overreaction to something I have said. He was present at one meeting and nothing but venom came out of her mouth, he was silent! Such a person continues to be in great standing.
    What do I want to say with all this?
    Priests will hurt you just like your best friend can and more since we bow to them processing in at Mass!

  3. I work for a Catholic university. We have a Dominican school right by us also, so we have seminarians (identifiable by their seminary polos) and Dominicans walking through all the time. I always pray for these guys. On my way down the hall this morning to rinse out my coffee pot there were 3 seminarians. I said a prayer for them and broke out in a big grin. I love these guys! Thank you for your service!