This is the third 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 3 - 11/2/2010
The crisis is in the priesthood itself. It's not outside it. You don't have to look for it elsewhere.
What is the point of being a priest in the world today? What is the priest in the Church now? What is the role of the priest in an autonomous and secularized society? What does a priest do in a secularized, pluralistic society today?
The priest is confused today. He doesn't know exactly what he is, what he's here for, or how to be.
In society, everything is being redone and the priest, who is at the center of this changing society, is confused and feels uncomfortable and doesn't know what direction to take.
We are living in very interesting but also difficult times. One has to have lots of serenity not to lose one's head. Much has been written about the priesthood in the O.T., the priesthood in the N.T., in the pagan religions and about the apostolic priesthood; but we would be naive if we thought that the mission of the current priesthood is purely spiritual, disinterested in the material problems of this world and finding the whole solution to its problems in the priesthood of Christ.
We priests, weak human beings in a constantly changing world, are those in charge of giving life to it, of bringing the priesthood of Christ up to date. Even though the priesthood itself doesn't change, the way of exercising it and making it come alive does have to change.
We need to clarify many things, not keep on seeking light only in tradition, but looking with hope to the future, seeing God's will in the signs of the times.
In an unrelated incident, Fr. Rogelio was detained and interrogated by U.S. Customas and Immigration officials last month when he arrived in New York to participate in events with the Dominican community in that city. A fellow priest, Fr. Regino Martinez, was similarly detained and mistreated in Miami. The Dominican Catholic Bishops Conference has requested an explanation from U.S. immigration authorities.