priests as father-figures

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jun 26, 2006

Yes, I'm jealous. Over on Touchstone's Mere Comments blog, the always incisive Anthony Esolen outdoes himself with some thoughts on the priest as father-figure.

You need to read the whole thing to appreciate it, but just to whet your appetite:

In other words, when we sever the idea of ordained ministry in quantum imago Christi from its foundation in human nature, we revert to the barbaric idea of the minister as magician or ritual functionary. He is a father no more, but the sacerdotal equivalent of a sperm donor.
“Just consecrate them hosts, fella,” says the pious Madame, crushing her Marlboro into the thurible, “and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 28, 2006 5:35 PM ET USA

    Pittsburgh is losing priests rapidly and replacing them with parish "collaborators," generally laywomen or nuns, to run the day-to-day affairs. Ann Rodgers of the Pitt Post-Gazette talked with Green Bay's Bishop David Zubik about his experience there. "'The people are grateful that their parish church continues to remain open and for the sacramental minister who comes to say Mass every weekend,' he said." "He is a father no more, but the sacerdotal equivalent of a sperm donor."

  • Posted by: - Jun. 27, 2006 2:32 PM ET USA

    This whole thing strikes me the way same sex marriage first did...initially my instinct says no, then after more thought I realize just how diabolical it is and how subtle and direct an attack it is on a institution established by God. Great line to sum it up: "...similarly incoherent wish to have a minister as a presentable officiator at service, but not a teacher; a fellow that would look like a pillar of the community, but no leader." What's going on in Pittsburgh?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 27, 2006 9:26 AM ET USA

    I may be off my meds, but if you combine Di's header "Dinner with the Dead" and then follow it with the sub-heading "Just consecrate them hosts, fella" I think you have a lead in to another OTR masterpiece.

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Jun. 27, 2006 9:12 AM ET USA

    The snippet you quote sounds like Diogenes, which is high praise, indeed. Did anyone read the comments after Dr. Esolen's remarks? Interesting stuff about JPII's writings on women, especially Dr. Esolen's response. Was it Weigel who said the Church will spend the next century unpacking JPII's teachings? While She's unpacking, I hope she has the prudence to junk what doesn't belong in the house.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 26, 2006 10:07 PM ET USA

    I'm jealous, too, Phil. I've been writing on this subject for a little while on my blog, especially concerning the move in Pittsburgh toward more lay women and nuns doing their thing in parishes, and I only wish I had come up with, "Just consecrate them hosts, fella...."

  • Posted by: Te_Deum - Jun. 26, 2006 6:53 PM ET USA

    Good Lord! that is a disgusting example. Then he talks about vocations not growing in a brand new order. In 15 years, that order will probably produce more priests than Mahony has in a lifetime.