Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A new vision of the priesthood - Part 7

This is the seventh 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 7 - 11/18/2010

We must revise recruitment to enter the seminary, as the way it's being done today is counterproductive, since many of the youngsters (teenagers) who enter don't persevere, they don't stay.

Only those who have the spiritual charisms required for today's priesthood persevere. And they will be few and far between.

This is how the process has been for those who are priests today:
  • They follow a family tradition (Christian families)
  • They have lived enclosed in seminaries and novitiates
  • They have stayed in the background
  • They have been subtly pressured not to waver (put the hand to the plow...you can't look back)
  • Many see the face of the aunt, the tears of their mother, the serious gesture of their father, the disappointment of the rich lady who paid for their studies up to now, or the reprimand of the priest who recommended them
  • But as the seminarian matures, these arguments lose strength and when they have to make a decision, they make one.
What kind of young people -- young men -- enter the seminary?

a) Those who come from societies and families with great Christian traditions, where modern thought and customs have not developed and socio-religious problems are never questioned, much less traditional values. But it won't be long before they suffer a strong crisis.

b) Much fewer in number, those who belong to a new era and, one could say, a new Church. The one with a service image that fits the modern world. Those who, knowing some if not all of the dehumanizing process they will go through, because they have a special charism, are ready to go through this process and move beyond it when it's over.

They will go through many crises, since the priesthood will prove not to be all it was made out to be.

These young men are not going to come from angelic groups, where purety, resistance to temptation, flight from sin, or even a grace-filled life are the main engine of their lives, but rather from the special movements than have made them, through their activism, real priests for the secular world in which they unfolded.

They know that their main role won't be being distributors of sacraments, but living exponents and witnesses to the message of Christ. They will be true servants of their brothers and sisters out in the field where they are needed -- not specifically in the church, but where they are needed.

Young men who know what it is to have a girlfriend, who know what dancing is, what having true friendships with people of the opposite sex is, who have experienced being tempted, who know what work life is because they have had to earn a living by working.

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