Tag Archives: Priesthood

Letter to the Editor: Closing the Churches is killing priests!

Dear Editor,

I am on the phone with a very prayerful lay woman and she is truly a dear friend in Christ, like a grandmother to me. She has asked me to write you and anyone else I know (on her behalf) about the following, since she is still unfamiliar with email, typing and so forth. It is concerning a few points that nobody has really brought up in discussion anywhere in the so-called “Catholic” channels and websites that she frequents.

She says: “The priesthood is in trouble”. Her own pastor, this priest, is very, very troubled. He has shown a very deep sadness during his live streamed masses (which he has allowed lay people to attend despite the Diocese suspended all public masses). She says he is not the same priest that she knew prior to today’s morning mass. He looked very burdened with a tremendous heaviness to him that she had never seen before, all because the situation has deeply affected him especially by the fact that he cannot give holy communion to the faithful, even though they are present at the mass.

She says that the fact that the people or congregation have been taken away from priests, is “killing the priesthood” but the good priests, like her pastor, are not talking to anyone about this personal crisis. She says “We” the laity are letting it happen. And we need to do something about it.

And in her eyes, keeping people away from the priests is also a way of getting rid of the “good priests”, so, again, something really needs to be done.

She says “we” the laity have yielded to the State when we must demand our right to receive communion, so this cannot be! The laity need to be rallied somehow or we’re gonna lose “eternally” on this one -if we don’t take a stand.

She says we are not risking our lives for Jesus, and this is not the Catholic Faith by any means. This is our opportunity to fight, to stand up for Him, or we will lose Him forever. “We will lose these eternal goods forever”

Her suggested solution:

We the laity need to go and start knocking on rectories, Diocesan Pastoral Centers or wherever Bishops are staying these days, and need to start kindly demanding communion from them saying “Father” or “Dear Bishop, I want communion. This is my God given right”.

Signed,

A voice that cries out in the desert

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: the glory and vocation of the Celibate priesthood

By Joseph M. Hanneman

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen could not recall a time in his life when he did not want to be a priest. At his First Communion, he prayed that one day he would be ordained to the priesthood. That day came in September 1919, when the 24-year-old son of Newton and Delia Sheen was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, USA.

Sheen would become a towering figure in the Catholic Church in the 20th century, known to millions as a brilliant orator, a master teacher of the faith on television and radio, in many dozens of books, and from the pulpit. But for more than 60 years, Sheen was first, foremost and always a priest. His priesthood was more than a vocation, more than life’s work, and even beyond his identity. It was his essence, lifeblood; indeed his very nature. Or, as he often described it, Christ’s nature dwelling in him.

Sheen wrote and spoke often about the priesthood. He gave many retreats later in life to remind his brother priests who and what they truly are. Even more than 40 years after his death, Sheen’s teachings stand as a faithful sentinel against modernist wishes to “reform” the priesthood by dispatching with celibacy and even changing the all-male nature of the priesthood. It is easy to imagine him today before a podium and microphone, explaining in stirring tones and rich voice why Our Blessed Lord made the holy priesthood as He did. It’s easy because he gave those talks and wrote passionate words about his vocation and his life in persona Christi.

Celibacy and masculinity are the very defining characteristics of the Catholic priesthood, Sheen said.

756px-Bishop_Fulton_J._Sheen_1956

Alter Christus; Ambassadors of Christ

Sheen emphasized that priests were ambassadors of Jesus Christ and alter Christus, “other Christs,” who are “dispensers of the mysteries of God.” The role and essential characteristics of the priesthood come from Christ Himself, Sheen said; meaning to attempt to change or modify them would be to oppose God’s divine plan. Christ calls the priest, makes the priest and provides the grace for him to completely offer himself as priest and victim.

“This is the way he continues the priesthood of Our Blessed Lord,” Sheen said in his talk, “Holy Orders.”1 “Our Lord was not a priest because He was eternally begotten by the Father. Our Lord was a priest because He had a human nature, which He could offer up for our salvation. And so we too, continuing that priesthood, are something like Jacob’s Ladder — it reaches up to the heavens and yet at the same time it is placed on the earth. Therefore every priest is a kind of another Christ, having vertical relations to Christ and Heaven and horizontal relations to men on earth.”

What Sheen described across the many decades of his ministry is a beautiful, divinely appointed plan under which ordained men continue Christ’s saving work as his priests, and a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary, represents the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. “Mary at the foot of the Cross was the symbol of the Church,” he said. “Our Lord on the Cross was the New Adam. She was the New Eve.”2 Writing in his book The Priest Is Not His Own, Sheen continued: “The priest first gives up the earthly love of a woman, as Mary gave up the earthly love of a man. His ‘I have no knowledge of woman’ balances her ‘I have no knowledge of man’ ” (Luke 1:34).3

Total Gift of Self

In his many retreats for priests and bishops, Sheen often said that priestly celibacy is misunderstood as an undue burden; a cruel cross that is unfairly forced upon priests. Rather, celibacy is a gift from Christ to His priests. That gift comes with the supernatural grace to maintain and protect it. “For anyone to say that Christ was forced on us is just as false as to say that any gift such as celibacy is forced on us,” Sheen said. “It is not man’s gift to God, it is God’s gift to man.”4

Celibacy, Sheen said during one retreat, is a treasure the the Blessed Lord keeps in “pots of earthenware.” The earthenware pots “have received a gift. A gift: celibacy. That is the way Our Lord describes it, as a gift. That is the way the Vatican council describes it. Celibacy is a gift that is given to some men. He gave it to us. We did not offer celibacy, we received it. And as long as we remain close to Him, we will have it and keep it.”5  

Because it comes from God, celibacy is not an impossibility for priests, Sheen said. It is one of three so-called “impossibles” mentioned in the Gospels. One is the Virgin Birth. The second is poverty, shown by the rich man who went away sad because Christ called him to donate all of his possessions and follow Him. The third was celibacy, which Christ described when discussing the types of eunuchs.

In Sheen’s autobiography, Treasure in Clay, he quotes Christ: “ ‘There are eunuchs born that way from their mother’s womb. There are eunuchs made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way.’ Then He spoke of celibates who do not marry ‘for the sake of the Kingdom of God,’ finally giving away the secret of how men could be celibate. He called it a gift. He said that celibacy is not for everyone. It is only for those who receive from Him this gift. It is ‘only for those to whom it is granted. Let anyone accept this who can.’ ”6

In his magnum opus Life of Christ, Sheen wrote that when Jesus recommended celibacy, the disciples objected to the severity of the teaching because they feared it would dissuade men from entering marriage. “His answer shows that they understood His meaning. Their error was in failing to realize to what sacrificial heights He would summon men for the sake of His Kingdom.”7

In his priest retreat, “Restoring the Vineyard,” Sheen asked, “Why was the Lord, why was He a celibate? And why does he ask us? He asks in order that we might be able to make a totally committed love without division and without compromise. Just to be totally His.”8

The gift of self by priests is manifested in part through being in service at all times, day and night. “There is no such thing as saying at the end of a day, ‘Well I’ve done my duty for the day.’ Rather, Our Lord said we have to call ourselves unprofitable servants. …Labor union rules are not sufficient for us. We belong to a different union, where love, not hours, is the standard. When we think of all Our Lord has done for us, we really can never do enough. The word ‘enough’ does not exist in love’s vocabulary.”9

The limits demanded by celibacy are among the distinguishing characteristics by which the priesthood can be identified, Sheen said. “How do you know the identity of Honolulu? How do you know the identity of the Philippines? How do we know the identity of the state of New York? How do we know the identity of a football field? By its boundaries. By its limits.”10

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Fire or Diamonds?

Sheen said the key is for priests to be so closely conformed to Christ as to take on His nature and imitate Him. “Celibacy is hardest when we fall out of love with Christ,” Sheen wrote. “Then it becomes a great burden. Once we priests put celibacy in the context of the Church and discuss its history, its sociology and the like, there is a groaning under the burden. Once we see it in relation to Christ, then it is less a problem and more a matter of love. Celibacy as an ecclesiastical law is hard. Celibacy as a question of discipleship is hard too, but bearable and joyful.”11

Sheen always implored priests to make a daily Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, a practice he carried out every day of his priesthood (nearly 22,000 Holy Hours). Any priest who does this, he said, would not be lost. “I could draw a curve of my own life … my attitude toward celibacy would be seen always in direct relationship to my personal love of Christ. Once our passions cease to burn for Him, they begin to burn toward creatures. Celibacy is not the absence of passion; it is rather the intensity of a passion.”12

Sheen cited two men who gave up love of a woman for community ideals: Gandhi, who did so for the “untouchables” in India’s caste social system, and former United Nations Secretary Dag Hammarskjöld, who practiced celibacy for world peace. Unknowingly, Sheen wrote, these men were saying the same thing as St. Paul: “An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord’s affairs. All he need worry about is pleasing the Lord. But a married man has to bother about the world’s affairs and devote himself to pleasing his wife. He’s torn in two ways” (1 Cor 7:32-34).13  

“If a man gives up freedom for a woman he loves, then it is also possible for a man to give up a woman for Christ,” Sheen wrote. “Love in the service of celibacy rises and falls with the love of Him. Once Christ becomes less regnant in human hearts, something has to take over to fill the vacuum.”14

Christ on the Cross and in the Eucharist are the touchstones on the question of celibacy, he said, underscoring the need for the daily Holy Hour. “The more we fall away from response to that gift, the less we want to look at a crucifix, the less we want to visit the Lord in His Sacrament. We become like the man who crosses the street when he sees a bill collector on the other side. The Cross, therefore, is where Heaven and hell meet. It is a hell when we see the part we have played in His Crucifixion by our infidelity. It is Heaven when we remain faithful, or when we fly again to His feet for pardon.”15

The sex drive can be transformed, Sheen said, with a focus on Christ’s presence dwelling in His priests. “Carbon may either become fire or it may become a diamond. The libido may be spent or it may be harbored. It may seek unity with another person without, but it may also seek unity with another person within, namely God. …So celibacy is not just the renouncing of the person outside but a concentration on the person inside. God is not out there. He is in us: ‘I will abide in you and you will abide in Me.’ Celibacy is a transformer which multiplies an energy within to concentrate entirely on Christ Who lives in the soul.”16

Priests are imitating Christ, carrying a cross to prolong His redemption, Sheen said. The more closely they follow Christ, all the easier to be His. “If I belong to the new humanity which was born originally of a Virgin, why should I not live in exclusivity for the Master? I never felt? I gave up love in taking the vow of celibacy; I just chose a higher love.”17

Priestly celibacy and marriage are both honorable vocations, but should not be compared like some competing ideals, Sheen said. “…It is like arguing about the relative perfection of the right leg over the left. Both want God, and the degree of possession does not depend upon the state of life, but on the degree of response to the grace that God gives. The celibate is working for the Kingdom of God by ‘begetting children in Christ’ in baptism; the married by having children through the profound unity of two in one flesh. God has two kinds of lovers — those who go directly to the ultimate, such as the celibate, and those who go mediately through marriage.”18

The begetting of children in Christ, Sheen wrote, is a higher form of generation that uses the energy that would otherwise serve the flesh and transforms it into chaste generation of the Spirit. “What a blessed life is ours. What a beautiful role celibacy plays when it facilitates a higher kind of generation, when it inspires the priest to imitate the Father in begetting The Word, to imitate the Christ who begot us in the Spirit as alter Christus.19

Priests must so closely conform themselves to Christ, Sheen said, that they are not mere followers or servants, but douloi — slaves. The Greek word doulos (δοῦλος) is used nearly 50 times in the New Testament to refer to Christ. “How then do we really become true liberators?” Sheen asked in one retreat for priests. “When do we begin to be effective at liberating souls from evil, having power over nature? Now here comes the paradox of Christianity. By being slaves. Slaves of Christ. That’s what we are. The douloi of the Good Lord.”20

That work, Sheen said, is to liberate people from evil, not to liberate them from morality, family life, the Church or the Commandments. “ ‘Thanks be to God, who continually leads us about, captives in his triumphal procession.’ That’s what we are. Captives in Christ’s triumphant procession. ‘And everywhere uses us to reveal and spread abroad the fragrance of the knowledge of Himself’ ” (2 Cor 2:14-15).

“So that is what we are. The secret is out,” Sheen said. “Christ has won the battle; only the news has not yet leaked out. And we, we are slaves in Christ’s triumphal procession.”21

Priesthood and Nuptials

Sheen said the idea of women as priests comes from a fundamental misunderstanding not only of the priesthood, but God’s divine plan.

“Mary was not a priest. If her Divine Son wanted women to be priests, He would have made His own mother a priest. The woman is a symbol of the Church.”22  

The key to the all-male priesthood is found in Scripture’s many references to marriage nuptials, Sheen said. “Why in the divine, biblical order can they (women) not be priests? Is it because we want a monopoly on it? Certainly not. It is because the whole divine order is based on nuptials. Creation began with nuptials —the nuptials of man and woman in the Garden of Eden. Then there came the nuptials of Israel and God. In the prophet Hosea we read, ‘I, your Creator am your husband.’ See how the natural and the divine order are linked together?”23

In the Old Testament, God tells Hosea to marry a harlot. Despite her unfaithfulness to Hosea, God tells the husband to take her back. “She is the symbol of Israel,” Sheen said. “ ‘Israel is my bride.’ Unfaithful. Disloyal. Disobedient. But I will always love Israel.”

In the new order, Sheen said, we have not just the nuptials of man and woman, “but the nuptials of divinity and humanity in the Incarnation of Our Blessed Lord. Then on the Cross we have the nuptials of God-man and the New Israel, which is the Church. And out of this marriage, a bridegroom and bride on the Cross, the New Adam and the New Eve, there begins the new progeny. John the firstborn. Then it multiplies at Pentecost and it has been multiplying ever since. So nuptials becomes the foundation of the covenant order. God continues it.”24

Christ referred to the woman who touched the hem of his cloak and was healed “my daughter” (Matt 9:20). He called the apostles “my children.”

“There are other ways of begetting,” Sheen said in his talk, “Pots of Earthenware.” “The Word is the seed. The seed is The Word. And The Word gives the seed to the earth, The Word gives the seed to the Church. Every time we mount the pulpit, The Word is the seed. Man gives the seed. The woman receives the seed. She fecundates it, nourishes it, brings it to life, educates it, caresses it, loves it, so that in the new order we have Christ and His Bride, the Church.

“Now those who want women to become priests no longer want the bridegroom Christ to have a bride. Should not they be proud of the fact that they symbolize the bride, which is the Church? As we have to be proud of symbolizing Christ Himself, and the Church is the ecclesial Body of Christ.”25

After 60 years and nearly three months of priesthood, Sheen died while making his Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, just one day after the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in December 1979.

“We cannot live without love,” Sheen once said, “and if we’re in love with Him, oh he provides the means. We have all the joys of another kind of love, that love that leaves all other love a pain; the unpossessed that makes possession vain.”26

FOOTNOTES

1 Sheen, Fulton J., 12:24 mark, “Lesson 35: Holy Orders,” The Sheen Catechism: Fulton Sheen Audio Library, FultonSheen.com and CatholicVault.com. Sheen’s audio talks are available in various other places on the internet.

2 Sheen, Fulton J., “Mary and the Mass,” Various Topics: Fulton Sheen Audio Library, FultonSheen.com and CatholicVault.com. Sheen’s audio talks are available in various other places on the internet.

3 Sheen, Fulton J., The Priest is Not His Own, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), location 3885 of 3996, Kindle version, Amazon.com.

4 Sheen, Fulton J., Treasure in Clay: the Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen, (New York: Image Books/Doubleday, 1980); Page 211, Kindle version at Amazon.com.

5 Sheen, Fulton J., “Pots of Earthenware,” Prayer, Suffering and the Spiritual Life: Fulton Sheen Audio Library, FultonSheen.com and CatholicVault.com. Sheen’s audio talks are available in various other places on the internet.

6 Sheen, Treasure in Clay, Page 212.

7 Sheen, Most. Rev. Fulton J., Ph.D., D.D., Life of Christ, (New York: Image Books/Doubleday, 2008); Page 194, Kindle edition at Amazon.com.

8 Sheen, Fulton J., “Restoring the Vineyard,” What a Priest Should Be: Fulton Sheen Audio Library, FultonSheen.com and CatholicVault.com. Sheen’s audio talks are available in various other places on the internet.

9 Sheen, “Lesson 35: Holy Orders.”

10 Sheen, Fulton J., “Holy Ambassadors — Other Jesuses,” Venerable Fulton J. Sheen: Priesthood, KeeptheFaith.org Saddle River, N.J.

11 Sheen, Treasure in Clay: the Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen, Page 214.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid., Page 217.

14 Ibid.

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid.

17 Ibid., Page 222.

18 Ibid., Page 210.

19 Sheen, The Priest is Not His Own, Location 792 of 3996.

20 Sheen, Archbishop Fulton J., Called and Chosen: the Never Changing Face of the Priesthood, audio CD collection, St. Joseph Communications, 2002.

21 Ibid.

22 Sheen, “Mary and the Mass,” 08:52 mark.

23 Sheen, “Pots of Earthenware.”

24 Ibid.

25 Ibid.

26 Sheen, “Restoring the Vineyard.”

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CREDITS:  The image of Sheen at his desk is a photo from October, 1956 and in the public domain. — Sheen in front of the bookshelf, is a photo from 1952, in the public domain, being now the property of the U.S. Library of Congress.

Dear Priests, be disciples not Pastors of the truth!

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

There are two things, which in my youth, greatly attracted me to attend mass: that at Church you could receive Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and that at Church you could hear the Truth preached.

I did not yet recognize how important and great those 2 gifts were, for I just assumed everyone in the world was a Catholic, and did not know even of the existence of Anglicans until I was about 12 years old.

But with the passing of years, I have grown to appreciate those 2 gifts more an more, even though one of them is disappearing and rarely found anymore.

I speak here of the preaching of the truth.

The vocation to be a priest, is a call from God to be an Ambassador of Jesus Christ, first and foremost. I like this analogy because it makes it clear why a priest should open his mouth and what the purpose of his preaching and teaching should have. It also indicates clearly Whom he represents and the authority of his august office.

I read in a book in my youth, somewhere, that when the priest enters the Church at the start of Mass, one should recognize that Jesus Christ has entered the Church just behind His Ambassador and that He has come to offer His Sacrifice for us and with us.

And when a priest ascends the pulpit he preaches in the Name of Jesus.

Things were not so bad in the Church when I was young, you often heard homilies which touched your heart, and pricked your conscience. But with the passing of the years we faithful have been subject more and more to blather. And it is not only in the English speaking world, it is just as common even in Italy.

All this does not have to do with the priesthood. And not even with the abilities of the priests, all of whom, as far as I know, are quite cogent and precise outside of Mass, when they speak. It has to do with the growing persecution and ideological control of priests by their superiors. More and more is declared intolerable or insufferable. There is simply a long list of do’s and don’ts for each priest when he speaks.

And the problem comes from fellow priests, because you can see that the best priests preach most clearly and fervently when there are no other priests present.

We have to pray for priests and offer the acceptance of personal sacrifices to obtain graces for them, because they are in an awful battle.

This is why, though many priests recognize that Bergoglio is a heretic and that Benedict did not resign according to the norm of law, that they do not speak about the matter, and flee any discussion of it.

And part of the reason they do this, is because we the faithful are not strong backers of good priests. Priests know that no one or very few will remember them or help them if their superior transfers them to another parish, overnight. They know that the level of punishment and persecution they will receive will increase 100 fold if they even admit the kind of abuse they are receiving from their Bishop or fellow priests.

For these reasons, a good priest today has before his eyes Christ in His Passion whether he meditates on that during prayer or not, because as soon as he leaves the privacy of his own room, he knows that whatever he says or does can and will be used against him by wicked clergy.

I know a lot of good priest who for things far less than naming Pope Benedict XVI in the canon of the Mass were punished with loss of faculties or removal from the ministry. This is why so many priests are trying as hard as they can in public to pretend there is nothing substantially wrong with the Vatican.

A priest, however, has to be a disciple of the truth, not a pastor of the truth. That is, he has to follow Jesus, the Truth, and not try to shepherd truth to where he wants it to go.

As the Saints say, a priest is never alone. He goes to heaven with thousands of souls, or he goes to hell with thousands of souls. He cannot escape that reality.

As a Franciscan brother who lives by divine providence, and who decided more than 20 years ago to trust in God, I can assure priests that if they make the heroic decisions, God and His holy Angels and His Blessed Mother will be there for them, even if many laity are not. It is just impossible, that God would help a Franciscan brother more than a priest. Therefore, if He has helped me, he will help you.

Because, that is the one thing that only a good priest has, which a bad priest does not have. Heroism for priests consists in acting on that belief.

___________

CREDITS: The Featured Image is a photo by Br. Bugnolo of the Chapel Crypt of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, where the Cardinals and Bishops who served there up until c. 1930 are buried. It is found in the Cemetery of the Verano, here at Rome.

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What I think a Priest should really be like

FromRome.Info is beginning today a series of personal testimonies from laymen and laywomen on the priesthood, which lies at the core of their faith in Jesus Christ. Each testimony is written to remind us of all of the high ideal of the priesthood, to restore that ideal in the mind of each of us, and to inspire a future generation of vocations to take up that call. This first testimony is:

by Andrew J. Baalman

Today’s Priest is not how the Church Fathers, especially Saint John Chrysostom with Saint Basil writing in the book On The Priesthood and by Saint Ambrose, On The Duties Of The Clergy, has taught.

These two books, plus the book by Blessed Columba Marmion, Christ The Ideal Of The Priest, and the Great Dominican Thomist Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The Priest In Union With Christ.

Teach something totally different to how priests are today, today from what I see on Twitter of Priests, worrying about vacations, breaks, time off, being social workers. This is not who a Priest is.

When re-discerning the call to Holy Orders I know I received when I was very young, after hearing different testimonial videos that Mother Angelica did for EWTN of priests when they heard the call, and it was mostly when they were young.  When I did play Masses, the entire Mass was memorized, each part done with care, reverence and proper, after it was over; our wonderful now retired parish priest, came by as he always did to all his flock and checking up on them; and he saw me, and these words “Do you want to be a Priest?”  As a kid, I answered, “I don’t know.”

After my first year of college, nearly lost the faith, but thanks to my mom, it caught fire and bam! I heard those words again, and knew the answer was “Yes!” I contacted the Chancery Office of the Salina Diocese in Salina Kansas, the bishop responded, now Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City; “to study the faith even more deeply.”  What books did I go after? The Church Fathers, first book I bought, The City of God by Saint Augustine of Hippo. The first book I read, On The Priesthood by Saint John Chrysostom and then On The Duties Of The Clergy by Saint Ambrose, then those other two books.

These books taught me what a Priest is to be, not what the Priesthood is today and it got me shunned and rejected by religious orders and our diocese.

Today, the Priest is about comfort, taking it easy, not rocking the boat and causing problems by telling the truth and exposing evil.  But a Priest is to imitate Christ in all things, his heart is to be so transformed into the heart of Jesus, that when he is seen by someone, they are to not recognize him, but Christ; as a visitor to Ars mentioned when he saw Saint John Vianney.

The priest is to be a servant, to not please people, to not say things to be accepted, to be shunned, rejected as Christ was, always telling the Truth, no matter the cost to his reputation, and getting souls to Heaven.  Now, a Priest as I mentioned in the beginning, he worries and wonders when his vacation will be, but if he is to imitate Christ from his very ordination, he has no breaks, he never sleeps, always at prayer, always doing his job in saving souls, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments, teaching and instructing the faithful in the Authentic Faith, calling out heretics, defending souls from error!

If a Priest today would do this, the Church would be in a better position than it is now, all these open heretics professing apostate doctrines would be rejected, renounced, and silenced, but the Priest today has no spine, no courage, because they are afraid and are no longer servants to Christ and no longer imitate the Real Christ, but a Christ they have formed through heretical study they were taught in seminary.

There are a small handful of Priests who still are good, true servants of Christ, but mostly, their patron saint is not Saint John Vianney, but Judas and that is how far the Sacrament of Holy Orders has fallen.

Saint John Vianney shows the way

Who should a Priest really be like?  Saint John Vianney and imitate him in all things that he did as a priest and use his sermons.

Easy, the books on his life.

The first book, ‘The Cure Of Ars: Patron Saint Of Parish Priests: by Fr. Bartholomew J. O’ Brien.

In this book, you learn how he developed such a strict life of prayer and penance, how he prayed all night long, about how he converted Ars France, every little detail on how to imitate Saint John Vianney, is in this little book!

The second book, ‘The Little Catechism The Cure Of Ars: by Saint Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney

This is pretty much the Catechism he used and created to instruct the Faithful in the Catholic Faith!

The Autobiography: “The Cure D’Ars : St. Jean Marie-Baptiste Vianney by Francois Trochu

Then His Sermons: The Sermons Of The Cure Of Ars: By Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney

Then His Sermons For All Sundays and Feasts Of The Year: By Saint Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney

Just follow the books, imitate Saint John Vianney one hundred percent, get you and your flock to heaven, that is all you have to do!

This essay has been reprinted from A.J.’s Blog at Ordo Militaris Radio, here and here.

If you would like to submit your own essay on the Catholic Priesthood and what it means to you, please leave a comment, indicating your interest or the url of your blog post.

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A Generation unfit to be members of the Catholic Clergy

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

There are a lot of reasons to call an extraordinary Synod to put the Vatican back in order — where a Pope is a de facto prisoner in a Monastery at the center of Vatican gardens, and an Argentine Jesuit is ruling the roost from a Hotel on the southern border. — No I am not writing a novel!

But one thing no one is talking about is the global or radical solution for the crisis of pedophilia in the institutions of the Catholic Church during the last 70 years. The numbers of victims world wide may be over a hundred thousand. That is not clear. But it is clear what generation of clergy perpetrated these horrible abominations and betrayed the most sacred trust in all of creation: being a Catholic priest of God.

It was the generation which wanted, enacted, promoted, promulgated, implemented and enforced Vatican II.

Every problem in the Church right now was either directly or indirectly caused by that generation of clergy.

What needs to be said is this: they are not fit to be clergy; they are not fit to rule the Church of God; they are not fit to be entrusted with the formation of the faithful in anything. They are completely morally bankrupt, and in recent years are showing everyone that they are also completely spiritually and theologically bankrupt. Very, very few of them can even calla spade a spade, anymore.

Until the Church deposes that entire generation, the Crisis will not be over. We are in and headed for truly apocalyptic scenarios of institutionalized devil worship on the altars of every Catholic Church in the name of obedience to this corrupt and perverse generation. We are already in an apocalyptic scenario, inasmuch as 99.99% of clergy offer their masses in communion with the Apostate, Arch-Heretic, Arch-Blasphemer and Idolater, as if he were as valid a pope as Saint Pius X and more valid than Jesus Christ, while ignoring the true Vicar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI!

They are a generation of fakers. The Catholic Religion means nothing to them other than appearances. And they need to be told that by the faithful, to their faces.

Being a priest requires that you are honest. The egomaniac, the psychotic, the pyschopathic and the sociopathic should not be admitted, let alone rule. Those who would sacrifice the whole content of our Holy Faith to keep up appearances are no less unworthy. And those, who wont do anything about it, are even worse! because knowing that there is a problem and recognizing it as a problem, they do not react as if it were a problem. Theirs indeed shall be a more weighty punishment!

I love Jesus Christ and the Priesthood He has shared with men. But I cannot ignore it when I see men unworthy in the most radical and fundamental measure to that MOST sacred duty. It would be disrespect for Christ and the priesthood to remain silent about these things any longer.

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CREDITS: The Featured Image is a detail of a photo by Br. Bugnolo of the Altar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, here at Rome.

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The Doom of the Priesthood

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The schismatics who chose to jettison Canon Law and the entire tradition of legal jurisprudence, Latin and theology regarding the Papal Office, are headed to doom the Priesthood itself with the approval — with faint opposition — of the abolition of the institution of the celibate priesthood in the Roman Rite. And since the Diocesan clergy control the Church, that means married Bishops are on the horizon.

And since the clergy are corrupted like a sewer — not my words, the words of Our Lady of La Salette — just over the horizon is married gay clergy, and popes!

Most of the readers of this blog are laypeople and many of you are married. So, I consider it necessary, as a virgin and hermit, to tell you that I think such a move — which in no way can be legitimate, as it comes from schismatics led by a Antipope — It will destroy the last vestige of respect for purity and virginity among the laity and the youth. Because it will be tantamout to saying that sex is a necessity, and that lust is natural, and rules all, even the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

I think all the clergy who approve of such a change will be damned for all eternity, because this grace and institution of the celibate priesthood is not an accident of history or mere human custom, it is a work of the Holy Ghost in the Church of Rome to make Her fruitful more than all the other Churches combined in the preaching of the Gospel and the Salvation of souls, in the transformation of cultures and in the foundation and development of civilizations. Strike that institution, and that power is destroyed. That gift is corrupted.

And he who attacks the gifts of the Holy Spirit, can only hope for one recompense … and it ain’t Heaven.

I for one will never receive the Sacraments of a married priest in the Latin rite — the Church of Rome made only one exception in this regard — which I accept — in the case of clergy converted from schism or heresy. I can understand the desire to save souls of these formerly errant men, and I am glad in their conversion. But I would not want to condone the idea that it is just as holy or just as normal or just as good as the celibate priesthood. Nor do such converts have to demand that they be accepted as the norm, or the new norm. Nor does their acceptance by the Church mean anything other than a personal exception. So if anyone argue otherwise, they are merely being dishonest.

Even in the Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Rites, the ordination of married men, which was conceded by the Councils of the ancient world, to prevent clerical fornication, has not solved the problem. There is a massive amount of child abuse, marital abuse, fornication, sodomy and adultery in the clergy of the East. Worse, from reports I have heard, than among the celibate clergy of the West.

So what these men who are proposing or planning to applaud, is nothing short of the Doom of the Priesthood.

I will have nothing to do with it. And may God strike down anyone who does, for they are defilers of the House of God!

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CREDITS: The Featured Image is the Sacred Face of Lucca, by Antonio Pierozzi, the original of which is in the Los Angeles County of Art, Los Angeles, California.

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You have a right to question your priest

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

It is a principle of natural law, that anyone who presents himself as anything, has the duty to give reasons which justify his claims in public. This in past ages has never been much of an issue with regard to Catholic priests or Bishops. It was sufficient to know that he was a priest or a Bishop.

But with the planned and organized and generation-long effort by Masons in and outside the Church to corrupt the priesthood of Jesus Christ in the Church, it is no longer always and everywhere safe to presume the priest you know is Catholic, that is correct in doctrine, even when he is a Catholic priest.

So you should ask your local priest questions and not merely act as dumb sheep, if he appears to deviate from right doctrine or orthodox practice.

And no, I am not talking about him mistakenly leaving the cruets on the Altar rather than on the credence table. I am talking about issues which regard whether he has accepted the religion of Globalism or whether he is a Catholic.

If he says in a homily, that Greta Thurnburg is a Saint. Then you do not need to discuss anything with him, you need to denounce him as a heretic to your Bishop. I counseled one laymen on this matter recently, and after writing his bishop, the priest was removed as pastor from his parish.

No, I am speaking about ambiguous speech.  If a priest says we must be accepting to habitual sinners and goes on and on about this, then you should question him, because he may be a habitual sinner himself with intentions of corruption your sons and/or daughters.

If he says he hates honest politicians like Donald Trump or Matteo Salvini, you should question him about his politics. Because if he is a Marxist he is an apostate on account of this, that he rejects the entire soteriology of the Church.  Soteriology is the theology of salvation. Salvation consists in our supernatural conformity, body and soul, to the will of God, through the Sacraments, with the merit of eternal life in Heaven. It does not consist in fulfilling the political platform of the local left wing party.

In fact, if your priest admits he votes for the Left, you should question him, because with a few questions you will be able to reveal that he is either a heretic or an apostate, and then you can denounce him to your Bishop and leave the parish for another one.

If he preaches against the prolife movement, against those who want right doctrine or praxis, if he says that truth does not matter or says things which are confused, you should question him. I remember years ago, I was visiting a Church on Holy Trinity Sunday, and the priest said: At the baptism of Jesus a voice was heard, the voice of the Holy Spirit saying, “This is my beloved son, listen to him”.  In charity I assumed the priest was drunk on some physical liquid, and so I denounced him by letter to his bishop. In a week or two he was removed from the parish.

I know of a real case, in the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, where a priest spoke in favor of contraception and abortion during a homily. The whole parish rose up and physically ran him out of the parish. The Bishop graciously responded by removing the priest as pastor. They questioned him before the ran him out, but they did the right and Catholic thing. God bless both them and their Bishop.

So it is important to speak with your priest, when he starts acting strange. Because if you don’t, it will lead to more serious scandals and the lost of faith of your brother and sisters in Christ. And do not hesitate to denounce bad priests, because this is a blessing for all: for by denouncing bad priests, you make the life of every other good priest in the Diocese easier, by removing a stain, a cross and a plague on the local Church.

If you have a question about the strange behavior of a priest, and seek advice, publish your story in a comment, but remove all identifying information as to place and person, so as to protect the reputations of all involved.

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CREDITS: The featured image is of Fra Angelico’s,  The arrest of Christ, and is in the public domain, being a faithful reproduction of an original work of art which is mroe than 200 years old.

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Celibacy is essential to the Priesthood of the New Covenant

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

There has been, since the time of Vatican II, a lot of spilt ink on the possibility of opening the priesthood to married men, or even of allowing the ordained to marry. And in this regard there have been some notable defenses of the immemorial practice of celibacy in the Roman Rite for its priests.

It is not my point to review them or enter into the debate, but only to make some observations which are as necessary to be made as they are often forgotten, and this especially now when Bergoglio is about to attempt to destroy the celibate priesthood forever.

The first is that celibacy is not merely a question of discipline. This is one of the fundamental errors of the entire debate and often made on both sides.

As a Franciscan, whose spirituality directs us to contemplate the Lord Jesus and imitate Him up close, I have always found it rather incomprehensible that anyone can frame the discussion of celibacy as one of discipline.

  • Our Lord was perfectly chaste and never married. This is the soteriological fact that should be in the forefront of our minds at all times, when we think about this argument.
  • A priest by his ordination receives a sacramental character which conforms him to Jesus Christ, the High Priest.

It follows, then, that there is a fittingness (convenientia, in Latin) between chastity and the priesthood. And this fittingness is inherent in the essence of the priesthood.* For as Saint Paul says, priests are ordained to be Ambassadors of God and Dispensers of the Mysteries of God.  Being an ambassador means that one exists to represent God and His will. Being a Dispenser, means that one is responsible not only for what is given out but the cleanliness of how it is given out.

Second, since the Mysteries of God, the Sacraments, are all Holy, it follows that the man who Dispenses them should be all holy. “Holy” in Scripture means set apart, dedicated.

For those who understand the spiritual life, then, it is quickly recognized that the one vice which distracts from being holy, from the Holy and from the will of God and a unique dedication to That alone, is the vice of impurity. Which certainly can be fostered outside of marriage, but which is rather impossible to extract oneself from in marriage, where, thankfully, it does not produce mortal sin necessarily if kept within bounds of nature and the Sacrament, though it nevertheless is just as distracting.

So for a priest to have his mind on God at all times, it is essential that he be chaste, and thus, the discipline of celibacy is an essential requirement to fulfill that duty.

This does not mean that the clergy of the Byzantine Rites, who are married men and then ordained priests, are any less priests, but it is much more difficult for them. Which may be why God gave them such an inspiring Liturgy which is so powerful to attract the attention of the mind to heavenly things.

In the West, however, our Liturgies were always more simple. But the discipline of celibacy was more common and became obligatory, after the Church saw how awful was the consequence of omitting the practice.

A truly celibate priest, therefore, is truly chaste. There is no possibility that one who identifies as a sodomite or who consents to impure pleasure of any kind, is a holy priest, or can be a holy priest. It is an ontological impossibility in the order of things supernatural.

Defend and support chaste priests and defended always the practice of celibacy. These are from God and we cannot value them too little.

Third and finally, what the Church needs is not the end of celibacy but the spread of celibacy. I mean to say, the Church needs to revive the minor orders and invite men to accept them in a celibate life. By extending the concept of the clergy back to its traditional sources of porters, exorcists, lectors, acolytes, subdeacons, deacons, priests and bishops, the Church will evangelize the world more effectively by promoting the notion that with God’s grace and love of Christ, celibacy is a powerful witness to the supernatural and frees a man to work in Christ’s vineyard like no other discipline can do for him.

CREDITS: The Featured Image is Adriaen Ysenbrandt’s, The Mass of St. Gregory the Great, which depicts a miracle during the Mass said by the Saintly Pope. The image is in the public domain in the USA according to Wikipedia. The actually painting is now in the Getty Museum, which is worth visiting to see this Masterpiece alone!

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* For those students of scholastic philosophy and theology, I use here the term essential in its proper sense (essentiale as meaning essentiae), but in the title I used it in the referential sense (essentiale as meaning ad essentiam). The former is what belongs to the essence of the thing, the latter is what regards the essence of the thing, such as being helpful or fitting or defensive.

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