This is the first in an ongoing series of columns about the priesthood by an activist priest from the Dominican Republic, Fr. Rogelio Cruz, that he published in El Día. English translation by Rebel Girl.
Part 1 - 9/16/2010
In a crowded world, we priests are a breed apart. In a world struggling to discover the values of this life, we constantly preach the values of the afterlife.
In a world that wants to find God, here on earth right now, we say that this world is evil, you have to renounce it and wait for heaven in order to see God. We priests have to leave the positions of privilege; we can not remain a breed apart, and even less so if we are a dominant caste.
The modern mentality no longer tolerates that. And the priest himself, who is really modern, can't tolerate it either, hence the crisis that we priests who consider ourselves rooted in our time are experiencing.
Today's world needs another kind of priest. One that has not previously undergone a process of dehumanization, or been "deformed" by training, which has both positive and negative aspects. They would be priests much more incarnated in the people, because not only would they be taken from among the people, but would continue to belong to the people and to be part of the people.
They would live in a house like the others in the neighborhood or development, would earn their bread in an office, workshop or factory like other mortals, dress like others, have a family like others. Because the issue is not whether they will marry or not marry in the future, but whether or not they are able to hear the voice of the people to serve them as Jesus did. The Church must understand that the world today needs a new image of it and of its priests and employees in general.
We need men and women, married or unmarried, who, through their lives and true commitment, would be another Christ in the world today, a world that is asking us to be witnesses to God, more than pretty words and empty speeches.
Although we used to think otherwise, neither philosophy, nor theology, nor the wider culture are part of the essence of the priesthood, but rather the commitment to Christ and to our brothers and sisters. The Church of the future will be very different from what the Church is today. The voice of the Spirit will be felt more through the laity. Because the Church is for the world, and those who know the world best are not the priests, not the hierarchy, but the laity.