This is the eighth 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 8 - 11/30/2010
Those who are in the priesthood have been recruited at a very early age and, in reality, they chose that life before reaching mental maturity, so that when they come to make their first adult decision, it may be too late.
These young men (adolescents) thus recruited are those who give the tone of levity that is found in seminaries. They are poorly motivated young men, who don't even know where they're going or what they really want.
The vocational campaigns or days are not at all satisfactory and those who go are usually adolescents with very little motivation.
Also, since they see a lot of adult or middle-aged priests, they are not drawn to be like them.
Before, the priest was considered to be an important man in society.
Today many contend with him for this role and in some societies, they are rejected.
Before, the priest was considered to have an aura of science; today, the priest knows very little about modern technology.
Today, the priest is a man of the church, only endowed with "magical" powers. And the magical and mystical are not accepted in today's society.
The problem is that there are too many bitter, alienated, and abusive priests today.
We are not examples of patience, or charity, or prayer, or selflessness, or poor and sacrificial living.
We are men with spiritual power and the people see us as police, sergeants in an organization that is as feared as it is loved.
There are many bad examples of priests who center their lives on the church, and the lives of men and women are centered on other things.
We see the most active priests and the ones who most identify with the people sent somewhere else or we see them leave the priesthood, and it's obvious that they did it because of being who they are and because their lives are made impossible, both by superiors and fellow priests. The young men who see that, say: "I'm not going to go there."
If Christ is the model, why make a priest undergo a long path to dehumanization? Christ, on the other hand, became man to redeem humanity, he acted like a real man. Why does the priest have to become dehumanized in order to serve his brothers and sisters?
Why does he have to separate himself from people, dress differently from men, not frequent the usual haunts of people, not have a family like other men, and always be on top of himself so that, in his daily actions, the man doesn't appear?