Monday, June 20, 2011
Trouble with Priests
The same could be said about priests like Fr Corapi or Fr Kit Cunningham, highly visible priests so often fall short, one could make quite a long list of them. I like the idea in the Usus Antiquior of the priest making his own personal and public confession of sin, before the servers and others themselves confess.
Looking at Church History God himself could well say, "The trouble with priests is you always let Us down". Avaricious, lustful, loose-living, drunkard, lax priests have always been part of the Church, maybe the majority. The difference today is that we seem to expect a higher standard from priests than anyone else and are devastated when our expectations are shattered. We actually expect saintliness today, though it was always desirable in the past, it was well understood when it was lacking that clergy were very human, very frail; just read Chaucer or look at those doom paintings showing damned popes, bishops, monks and clergy, along with lay people.
One of the reasons for vesting priests, keeping them behind roodscreens, closely prescibing their movements, even their voices, I am sure, was to disguise or hide them them, or at least to say this man at the altar is somewhow different from the man who drinks in the tavern, collects tythes, has a close relationship with his housekeeper, or flogs mercilessly the boys he teaches. Pre-concilliar liturgy did its best to emphasise liturgy was the work of God, not man. God worked, even if the man was corrupt and depraved.
They knew the truth of, "Put not your trust in Princes", there is something healthy in loyal anti-clericism that typified so much of Pre-Concilliarism continental Catholicism.
Nowadays vestments, sanctuary furnishings, the orientation of the Mass, the liturgy itself tends to put the priest front and centre. People talk easily about Fr X's Mass or Fr Y's Church, never I suspect has a priest's personality been so exalted in the life of the Church and never has there been a time when priests have so dissappointed and damaged people's faith when they fall.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake