Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A new vision of the priesthood - Part 2

This is the second 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 2 - 10/31/2010

The priest is a victim in a way, of a structure, a concept of Church.

But at the same time he has become a perpetrator, because the priest is the main reason why the Catholic laity are in the state they're in, without a lodestar, without direction, and not knowing what their role in the Church is.

The priest has undergone a process of dehumanization. He has been trained to carry out functions that are expected of him:

- He is expected to mix with the people and he is given a whole separate education from the people.

- He is expected to mix with the common people and he is given eminently bourgeois training.

- He is expected to mix with people who ordinarily have very little culture and all of his training is based on books, on pretentious metaphysics foreign to the things of this world.

- He is expected to deal with overly sacramentalized people and his whole training revolves around the sacraments.

- He is expected to deal with humble people and all his ceremony, starting with his vestments, reeks of pomp.

- He is expected to be patient, compassionate, paternal and tolerant, but his years of isolation and his celibacy have made him develop the psychology of a bitter and grumpy bachelor.

- It's assumed that he will have a thousand opportunities to depart from the straight and narrow but he isn't taught freedom and decisionmaking, without impositions or fear of sanctions.

- He is locked in a seminary where everything is regulated, everything is mandated, or everything is approved, and woe to anyone who breaks the rules.

Today the Church is in crisis and it's not strange that it is, since the world is in crisis. No wonder the priesthood, which is at the heart of the Church, is also in crisis.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for publishing these columns of Padre Rogelio. They ring true - from my experience in the US and in Honduras.

    A priest here once remarked about the seminary training he received here in Honduras national seminary in the 1990s from Canadian priests. They emphasized austerity, whereas it appears that the current Colombian priests who run the seminary operate more on the style of the bourgeois society.

    One thing the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán does to prepare its priests to have them do one or two years of pastoral work between finishing their theology studies and ordination.

    Of course, clericalism is a great temptation, especially when the priest has more education than almost all of his parishioners and in a society like Honduras that is very class conscious.