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: - Oct. 31, 2007 7:50 AM ET USA

    Clorox, Rolheiser dressed like a cow? Now THAT's "udder nonsense"!(Sorry, happy Feast of All Saints)

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2007 8:37 PM ET USA

    What's a restraining order between good friends?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2007 6:24 PM ET USA

    I know of a diaconate program in my state the REQUIRES all diaconal candidates to read Rollheiser. They are then judged on how "open-minded" to this and other hooey. It's really heartbreaking to see what these fellows, who wish to devote themselves to service, are put through. It's easy to say, "Just leave," but it's really painful to leave, especially when you're leaving the field to the enemy.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2007 3:26 PM ET USA

    Rolheiser wrote a play about Luther's revolt against the Church. He had this to say about his view of Luther an Pope Leo X: “You can kind of draw a line from Paul to Augustine to Luther, James to Pelagius to the pope [Leo X].” Very nice. One might think he was a Lutheran but, sadly, this is from the President of a major Catholic seminary!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2007 12:53 PM ET USA

    One man's blessing is another man's unwanted sexual advance, I guess.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2007 10:53 AM ET USA

    The tongue thing is just plain creepy. Flee if Rolheiser dresses as a cow for Halloween.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 29, 2007 9:16 PM ET USA

    And I thought it was Holy Baptism that lifted the congenital constriction from our hearts.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 29, 2007 9:01 PM ET USA

    Speaking of tongue, I went to Fr Rolheiser's website, and noticed that he's a product of the University of Louvain, Belgium and the University of San Francisco. Rice A Roni, the San Francisco treat.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 29, 2007 8:52 PM ET USA

    I will pay a handsome reward to the person who can produce a statement by Father Rolheiser that even mildly makes sense. This has been an open offer for years now and I still have the reward money.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 29, 2007 8:32 PM ET USA

    I suppose Di's comment is "tongue in cheek".

  • Posted by: - Oct. 29, 2007 5:08 PM ET USA

    Hmmm, just got me to thinking of a very good Polish recipe for beef tongue in a horseradish-sour-cream sauce. I wonder if Father Rolheiser would help distribute it to those young priests who need variety in their diet? I'd even be happy even to send the traditional blessings for food in either the Catholic or Protestant versions for the sake of diversity.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 29, 2007 3:28 PM ET USA

    That was an image I could do without.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 29, 2007 3:05 PM ET USA

    On second thought, do not bother, Father. I am a child of Original Blessing, and I will bless you by extending both my hands over you, just as the rest of the congregation did on Priesthood Sunday (tagline: What a nice bunch of guys!).