priests too poor to be principled

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 07, 2006

Father Eric Hodgens, a priest of the Melbourne, Australia archdiocese, has come to our attention before. He's a man on a mission, determined to prove that the Vatican is obsess about sex, by writing obsessively about sex.

Well he's at it again, and you'll never guess what he sees as the cause of declining Mass attendance in Australia.

It's not just lay Catholics-- well, at least the "strong and reflective" ones-- who are discontent with Church teaching, Father Hodgens tells us. Priests are equally unhappy, and equally disaffected.

So why do they continue to represent an institution they detest? Why not just quit? Two reasons.

Firstly, they love their parishes, are protective of their parishioners and want to keep their parish true to Vatican II.

Ah. They're motivated by pure principle and charity, then. Any other factors?

But, secondly, they cannot afford to go anywhere else. They have worked for 30 to 50 years at a payment level that made it very difficult to save. If they leave the priesthood they have to fund themselves without any significant financial backing and nothing like superannuation.

In other words, if they left the priesthood they'd have to get real jobs. Heart-rending, isn't it?

Below Leila refers to St. Peter's memorable response, when Jesus asked whether the apostles planned to leave Him: "Lord, to whom shall we go?" (Jn 6:68) St. Peter was not thinking about the tight labor market in Galilee. In fact St. Peter continued: "You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed..." Which suggests an attitude toward the teaching magisterium rather different from the one Father Hodgens espouses.

Come to think of it, maybe St. Peter was thinking about retirement benefits-- but not for retirement in this life.

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 10, 2006 3:51 PM ET USA

    I doubt that financial gain was a consideration in pursuing a priestly vocation. Not belonging to an order places more of a burden on a priest when reirement comes. It does seem that bishops and cardinals somehow avoid poverty. Financial disclosure of one's assets might be a desired requirement for those men - just to clear the air. Some organizational restructuring of priesty retirement is in order.

  • Posted by: Venerable Aussie - Jun. 08, 2006 6:02 AM ET USA

    I get the feeling that these priests who profess such undying love for their parishes and their parishioners (that is, right up until the moment Fr's dear departed Aunt Agnes' inheritance check clears) are the same types who really love being priests... in a Rochesterian sort of way of course. Must be comforting for their parishioners.

  • Posted by: Eleazar - Jun. 08, 2006 5:57 AM ET USA

    Spot on, Major! Talk about things to detest; I absolutely abhor the notion that Catholicism only dates back to Vatican II.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Jun. 07, 2006 11:20 PM ET USA

    Fr. Hodgens seems very focused on his bellybutton. By God's grace, a priest is to be used well by the Lord Jesus Christ, doing His will, keeping the people true to Jesus & His Church. He is to give his life for Christ & His Church, sanctifying, teaching & governing with the mind/heart of Jesus. He is to be in persona Christi 24/7. The priest is not to look to go anywhere else. As did the Apostles Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration, the priest looks up and sees no one but Jesus.

  • Posted by: sacerdos australis - Jun. 07, 2006 8:01 PM ET USA

    Fr Hodgens speaks for a very small group of older priests who were formerly powerful in their diocese. Their policies and approach are the very reason that the Archdiocese of Melbourne suffered a dearth in priestly vocations. They are bitter that other more traditional approaches are not being pursued are already showing promise.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 07, 2006 4:24 PM ET USA

    Silly me, I thought we were supposed to help our people be true to Jesus Christ. not Vatican II .

  • Posted by: - Jun. 07, 2006 4:15 PM ET USA

    In Peter's day there were no retirement benefits. When one got old (which probably was not that common), one was taken care of by an extended family. Extended family implies lots of kids. But we today have done a good job of eliminating kids, and therefore extended families, through contraception. It is time for these guys to throw caution to the winds and start preaching the Gospel --- the same one preached by SS. Peter & Paul, not the new "lite" version.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 07, 2006 3:24 PM ET USA

    The Vatican shares its blame by giving a forum for Judas priests such as Eric Hodgens to spew their venom. Not to condemn heresy is to embrace it.