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how clerics are made

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 25, 2005

Ever wonder, when reading about another diocese going bankrupt, how it was possible to breed a entire generation of boneless chickens? Ever wonder, when listening to a Sunday homily, how one learns to speak at such length and say absolutely nothing at all? The NYT has an article on the attitudes of seminarians and prospective seminarians toward the new pope. In rough terms it seems to locate both the enthusiasm and the hostility pretty accurately. But the really choice bit is the final paragraph, which beautifully and briefly illustrates the worldview that must die:

"They'll need to learn more about this pope to see if their own feelings and thoughts resonate with the Holy Father's," said the Rev. James Presta, rector and president of St. Joseph College Seminary for undergraduate students who may become priests, on the North Side of Chicago. "Will they want to embrace how he approaches things? They must learn who he is and become comfortable with his leadership to know whether that is something they want to be part of."

Got that? You need to be sure your feelings resonate with the Vicar of Christ and that you're comfortable with his leadership style before you elect to embark on the priesthood. And if it happens that the next pope's leadership grates on your feelings, you're free (presumably) to opt out of your commitments and jump ship, or to console yourself by resonating with a 16 19-year-old in your Oldsmobile. God help us all.

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Show 13 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Apr. 26, 2005 4:58 PM ET USA

    Don't be so hard on today's seminarians and younger priests. Also, Father Presta's comments were severely misguided as usual, but I feel like your comment about a 16 year-old in a an Oldsmobile is inappropriate. There is no excuse for becoming irate and making inflamatory comments like that.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 26, 2005 1:06 AM ET USA

    This was quite a surprise. Fr. Presta was at our parish last week, St. Albert the Great in Kettering Ohio. He comes each year for a couple of weeks while he studies at the Marian Institute. He follows the rubrics at Mass.(unlike our Pastor) and even once gave us a homily warning us of hell. (also unlike our pastor) Another time I think he spoke of the evil of abortion without watering it down with Bernardin's seamless garment consisent ethic lingo. ( again unlike our pastor)

  • Posted by: - Apr. 25, 2005 10:12 PM ET USA

    What is so ridiculous about all this liberal mooing is that it is perfectly obvious that Pope Benedict was elected in breathtaking speed and with a huge margin precisely to clean the stables. So, a word of wisdom to all you Augean types out there: put away your lavender shirts and look out. Here comes the man.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Apr. 25, 2005 5:36 PM ET USA

    And where is the archbishop who permits the Rev. Presta to remain as rector of a seminary? Don't blame the seminarians, at least not entirely. Presta is the problem. And his boss.

  • Posted by: Meg Q - Apr. 25, 2005 4:49 PM ET USA

    Pity, GM finally abandoned the Oldsmobile marque. I've thought that there is a doctoral thesis in sociology waiting to be written about the parallel between the decline of the American priesthood from the old collar-wearing, Olds-driving, maiden-sister-as-rectory-housekeeper man of the fifties to the middle-aged, sport-shirt-wearing, Toyota-driving fellow of today, and the decline of American cars in general, and Oldsmobile in particular. There's one thing for Cdl George's to-do list, anyway.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Apr. 25, 2005 3:48 PM ET USA

    Father Presta needs to reconsider his relationship with Holy Mother Church, the Holy Father & the Magisterium. How could he actually be rector/prez of a Roman Catholic College Seminary & spew such dissenting/traitorous comments? As a Catholic priest, I love the Holy Father, obey the Holy Father & am willing to die for him, for he is Christ's Vicar on earth. No guage needed for feelings/resonating/comfort-levels. He is our Pope, our Shepherd, & we follow him because we love Jesus & His Church.

  • Posted by: coach1 - Apr. 25, 2005 3:17 PM ET USA

    What is even crazier to me is that the old Quigley No.-So. High school sytem hasn't changed since my son graduated from South in 1984. They effectively killed all his interest in the priesthood by the time he was a Jr. One encounter weekend at Mundelein shook him up so bad that his focus was just getting out. Fr. Kicanas, now Bishop Kicanas was rector. Cdl. Bernardin was running the diocese. I had hoped that Cdl. George would at least get rid of the p.c. clergy. They just got rid of South!!

  • Posted by: benedictusoblatus - Apr. 25, 2005 2:00 PM ET USA

    Permissive relativistic sentimentalists are concerned that the Vicar of Christ might just make some definitive judgments about issues they hold dear! We can hope to see the ranks of the priesthood filled with virile young men who are in love with Christ and His bride, the Church, men who find the idea of sharing their lives with a wife (shall we say) less than fulfilling! Truth may again reign over feeling. The winter may end and spring (finally) take hold! All this, if God wills it so.

  • Posted by: Franko - Apr. 25, 2005 1:51 PM ET USA

    It would be great if the seminarians were honest about their ability to follow and preach the teachings of the church. If they honestly cannot, it would be better to "jump ship". The real worry is the seminarian Hieu Nguyen and others like him who become priests but keep hoping the church will change.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 25, 2005 1:47 PM ET USA

    TRANSLATION: "They'll need to learn more about the Lord Jesus to see if their own feelings and thoughts resonate with His Gospel," said the Rev. James Presta. "Will they want to embrace how the Lord approaches things? They must learn who He is and become comfortable with His leadership to know whether that is something they want to be part of."

  • Posted by: frjimc - Apr. 25, 2005 1:37 PM ET USA

    Would that more of those who feel that any pope's leadership leaves them in the lurch act upon this internal dissonance by leaving the priesthood. If more dissenters acted thus, authentic to (at least) their own inner feelings, we would have a significantly smaller problem to deal with. The real problem is that they WON'T leave, instead opting to stay in their cushy sinecures and provoke confusion and dissent from within. How can we miss you if you won't go away?

  • Posted by: - Apr. 25, 2005 12:23 PM ET USA

    What seems crazy to me is how many people say "I am concerned about Benny 16's hard-line views, but am consoled that he seems willing to dialogue and is caring." HELLO, he is caring (namely solicitious about the state of your relationship to God in Christ). He, in fact, cares so much about you that he will not lie to you and tell you that something is ok when it is not. Oremus pro pontifice nostro Benedicto!

  • Posted by: - Apr. 25, 2005 12:01 PM ET USA

    You forgot the Jesuit option: You embark on the priesthood, persue your own thing and wait for a Vicar who resonates with your feelings.

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