Priests – special?

The following Prayer for Priests by St. Therese of Lisieux has appeared in the last few St Vincent’s church bulletins. It seems to be sufficiently divorced from reality to strike a chord with the Neocat clergy.

0 Jesus, eternal Priest,
keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with your Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and shield them from the world’s contagion.
Bless their labours with abundant fruit and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation
here and in heaven their beautiful and everlasting crown. Amen.

By contrast, Brian Coyne (Catholica) wrote in his newsletter today:

… three out of the four new priests from the Sydney Archdiocese chose to celebrate their first Masses in Latin. I suspect few would be surprised given the direction the Cardinal Archbishop seems to be leading that local Church. At all levels, including the selection of the type of candidates who might serve the people and rejuvenate the Church the signs are that the Cardinal keeps delivering us ‘more of the same’ that has been driving the vast majority out of the pews for decades. Catholicism is simply not going to be re-vitalised by this constant pandering to the insecurities of a small subset of the wider baptised population who crave certitude and authority figures over everything else in Creation but most especially truth itself. We (Catholics in general) desperately need a priesthood we can trust again. Men and women whom we can look up to as people of superior spiritual insight and who can act as our spiritual guides and mentors. Priests and bishops, even popes, have to again start earning the respect of the community at large not because they have been given some title by an institution or some authority figure but because they have earned the trust of their people. Even without the abuse scandals I think the vast majority have lost trust in the priesthood. At the bottom line that is why 86% of the baptised population have simply stopped listening and participating. The Year of the Priest provides a good opportunity for the whole Catholic community — yes even those who mark themselves as "Catholic" on the census form but who largely don’t participate any longer — to have a say in a large societal-level discussion on what sort of qualities we seek in those who should lead us at the spiritual level.

Tom Bass, renowned sculptor and friend of Ted Kennedy, was recently heard saying:

A priest is not a special kind of man; every person is a special kind of priest.
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