praying with-- or against-- the Church
How do you plan to live out this Year for Priests?
By praying for the sanctification of all priests? Good. By praying for priests who are facing particular difficulties? Fine. By praying for young men who may hear a call to priestly ministry? Excellent.
How about praying for those people who want to be priests-- whether the Church likes it or not?
If you visited St. Louis parish in Pittsford, New York this past weekend, and picked up a copy of the parish bulletin, you'd find this suggestion from the pastor:
I pray that wherever priests come from that we as God's family would be open to allow people to serve... if you feel only male celibates should be ordained, fine, encourage and pray for that... if you feel women or married men should be considered, encourage and pray for that...
Why stop there? If you think that non-Catholics should be considered for the priesthood, encourage and pray for that. Non-believers too? Why not! Encourage them all!
"I am sure that these ideas are not a part of Pope Benedict's plan for this year," the pastor concedes later in his note. No big deal what the Vicar of Christ thinks. The important thing is what you think-- or rather, to use the proper verb, how you "feel" about things.
So go ahead: Pray however you want, for whatever you want. But as you do, ask yourself whether it's likely that God will answer these self-indulgent prayers by raising up priests who will sacrifice their own personal ambitions and offer up their lives-- yes, even their feelings-- to serve the Church.
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