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pass the hemlock

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Nov 06, 2004

In a letter to the Jesuit publication America (10-25-04), Thomas Clarke, S.J., welcomes the "priestless liturgies" made necessary by the decline in vocations, and suggests evolving forms of the approved Liturgy of the Word with Communion Service may free us from our lingering hang-ups with the old Body and Blood of Christ theology:

Another [possibility] is a theological and pastoral rethinking of what distinguishes the Mass from this new liturgical form as it develops. How important is it that the hosts received in the new rite have been consecrated elsewhere in the diocese? Is the new rite not truly eucharistic through the real presence, as this has been redefined by the Second Vatican Council?

Father Clarke takes the teaching of the Council to be that the Real Presence comes into being by the gathering of the faithful for prayer, whence an ordained priest is merely a symbolic adjunct to a "consecration" effected perfectly well in his absence. Such a reading is preposterous, but doubtless consoling to a spiritually sterile generation that faces death with neither accomplishments nor successors to comfort it in its last hours.

It has to be difficult for a man to commit to a demanding course of preparation for what he once believed to be a noble undertaking, only to come to view himself as nothing more than an oddly dressed mascot -- like those Goofy or Mickey Mouse figures that stroll around Disney World to have their pictures taken with kids. Will anyone with the authority to do so correct Fr. Clarke's frankly heretical misapprehension of the priesthood? Not likely. Small wonder, then, if he indulges in a little theological thumb-sucking as the shadows lengthen around him.

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 08, 2004 9:36 AM ET USA

    Corruptio optimi, pessima est. Corruption of the best is the worst. And so it is with Jesuits and too many of the clergy. They are supposed to raise us up, not weigh us down. They should be encouraging us to acts of charity for the faithful departed, not explaining ad nauseum why a diocese may go bankrupt. They should be driving their 1994 Oldsmobiles from parish to parish ensuring that all Catholics have access to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the sacraments. Why else do they exist?

  • Posted by: - Nov. 07, 2004 2:39 PM ET USA

    Why are the KOOKS mostly Jesuits. We called them the Pope's shock troops when I was a boy. If they are still considered his shock troops; we are defenseless!

  • Posted by: AveMaria580 - Nov. 06, 2004 2:44 PM ET USA

    Many laity and clergy already act like this during celebration of the Liturgy and afterward. Our diocese is real big on training "lay ministers." Such psuedo-mininistries are already replacing the priesthood. The only thing a priest does anymore is the consecration, the homily and hear confession. And, of course, since our bishop is head of the USCCB commission on women the gender feminists have a free hand in all areas so we have women's spirituality polluting the Litugy, music and catechesis

  • Posted by: frjimc - Nov. 06, 2004 10:27 AM ET USA

    His logic (sic) is oddly reminiscent of that of prochoice activists, who demand abortion on demand be legal because "there will always be abortions, and better that they are safe." The same twist is applied to condoms vs. abstinence education. I find it odd that this thinking is not applied to, say, armed robbery or Mafia executions. Could it be that the solution to declining vocations is to be found in prayer and holiness within and for the priesthood in general? Or is that illogical?

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