Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

the ministry of presence

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 29, 2007

Promoter of up-to-date spirituality Ronald Rolheiser reports on the strange reluctance of younger priests to accept the eager ministrations of their elders:

At a workshop recently, as we were discussing the tension that often exists today between younger and older clergy, a middle-aged priest said: "I'd like to bless the younger priests, but they don't want my blessing! They see me as a burnt-out middle-aged ideologue and everything in their attitude and body-language tells me that they simply want me to disappear and give them space!"

Odd. Blessing is traditionally not viewed as a contact sport -- in fact it's a parade example of 'action at a distance' -- and ordinarily ought to be accepted with equanimity even when offered by a burnt-out middle-aged ideologue. One wonders what would give rise to the young men's wish for "space."

After a couple paragraphs of diffuse, somewhat New Agey reflection on blessings, Rolheiser concludes:

We need to give that blessing. When we bless the young, especially when it seems that they do not want our blessing, we help lift a congenital constriction off of their hearts, like a mother cow that has just given birth to a calf turning around and licking the glue-like constricting after-birth off of her young.

Like a mother cow. Right. I think I understand those young men better now, their desire to back slowly out of the room and then make a run for it.

Bless me, Father. Without the tongue.

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  • Posted by: bugbyte1243319 - Dec. 19, 2009 7:01 PM ET USA

    Oh,to be in Emgland now that rationality is here!