On the Priesthood: Classic and Contemporary Texts

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  1. Persistent Priority
  2. Category: Catholic - Priesthood
  3. Books by Faculty
  4. The Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests

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Persistent Priority

Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 29, J rated it it was amazing. I love these little books edited by Levering. Levering somehow combines immense erudition and 'theological humility' in Bonhoeffer's luminous expression in that his work is telically oriented toward the upbuilding of the church. This little book is no exception - ample yet not overwhelming selections, a combination of canonical and non-canonical authors, a lovely, short blurb of introduction for each figure excerpted, focused discussion questions for each entry, and a helpful general introduct I love these little books edited by Levering.

This little book is no exception - ample yet not overwhelming selections, a combination of canonical and non-canonical authors, a lovely, short blurb of introduction for each figure excerpted, focused discussion questions for each entry, and a helpful general introduction orienting the whole work. Several themes emerge in all the excerpts - the duty to flee temptations, which are both more palpable and more dangerous for priests, the tension between the holiness required of the alter Christus and the fact of lingering imperfection, and the requirement of ruling and reproof and the necessity of doing so with charity and without condescension.

In this era of massive moral failure among priests and pastors in our churches, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, this book helps articulate the two desiderata for melioration - the refusal of Donatism, and the very real requirement that our priests and pastors be better than they have been - as the excerpt from Ignatius reads - 'It is better to say nothing and be than to speak and not to be. It is good to teach, if one practices what he preaches' It is not for nothing that Roman Catholicism expanded globally in an unprecedented way during the Pontificate of JPII, a prelate renowned for ethical gravitas.

But the ascetic practices required of the priest and pastor are in short supply in the contemporary therapeutic cultures of the west. It is hard for priests and pastors to take seriously John Chyrsostom's warnings:'The priest must be armed with weapons of steel-intense earnestness and constant sobriety of life--and he must keep watch in every direction, in case anyone should find a naked and unguarded spot and strike him a mortal blow', though they may resonate with his justification of this watchfulness that 'everyone stands round him ready to wound him and strike him down, not only his enemies and foes, but many of those who pretend to love him' The priest and pastor are lightning rods, and if the shepherd is struck, the sheep will be scattered.

This little book is required reading for busy pastors who desperately need to heed the warnings of Christian priests and pastors who have gone before them. Notes: Chrysostom on temper: Ambrose against avarice: 39 'The church has god, not to store up, but to lay out, and to spend on those who need' 40 Gregory the Great - arrogance in the ruler is against the natural order Catherine of Sienna on the centrality of holiness for those who administer the sacraments Jean-Jacques Olier on resignation to providence 98 John Henry Newman - the gospel is preached by men, not angels John Paul II - the priesthood of the priest is vicariously Christ's priesthood Effective proclamation requires theological education.

Apr 18, Fr. Jedidiah Tritle rated it it was amazing. It's not so much a "book" as it is a collection of writings on the priesthood spanning the two millenia of the Catholic Church. The wisdom is timeless, and it gives one a very universal and historical understanding of the priesthood--something which is desperately needed amidst the culture and society of the 21st century.

From Pope St. Clement to the Second Vatican Council, the Saints and Fathers of the Church have great wisdom which should be accessed and taken to heart by those with the desire It's not so much a "book" as it is a collection of writings on the priesthood spanning the two millenia of the Catholic Church. Clement to the Second Vatican Council, the Saints and Fathers of the Church have great wisdom which should be accessed and taken to heart by those with the desire to learn and grow. Edward Looney rated it really liked it Oct 20, Such men are profoundly compromised. Gay or straight, many sexually active priests uphold a structure of secret unfaithfulness, a conspiracy of imperfection that inevitably undercuts their moral grit.

That such hubristic claptrap came from blatantly imperfect men did nothing to lighten the load of the admonition. I know from my own experience how priests are primed to feel secretly unworthy. Whatever its cause, a guilt-ridden clerical subculture of moral deficiency has made all priests party to a quiet dissembling about the deep disorder of their own condition. That subculture has licensed, protected, and enabled those malevolent men of the cloth who are prepared to exploit the young.

The very priesthood is toxic, and I see now that my own service was, too. The habit of looking away was general enough to have taken hold in me back then. When I was the chaplain at Boston University, my campus-ministry colleague, the chaplain at Boston State College, was a priest named Paul Shanley, whom most of us saw as a hero for his work as a rescuer of runaways. In fact, he was a rapacious abuser of runaways and others who, after being exposed by The Boston Globe , served 12 years in prison. It haunts me that I was blind to his predation, and therefore complicit in a culture of willed ignorance and denial.

Insidiously, willed ignorance encompasses not just clerics but a vast population of the faithful. Catholics in general have perfected the art of looking the other way. He denounces the clerical culture in which abuse has found its niche but does nothing to dismantle it. In his responses, he embodies that culture. In April he published, in a Bavarian periodical, a diatribe that was extraordinary as much for its vanity as for its ignorance. Benedict blamed sex abuse by priests on the moral laxity of the s, the godlessness of contemporary culture, the existence of homosexual cliques in seminaries—and the way his own writings have been ignored.

But alas, the pope emeritus and his allies may not have real cause for worry. That an otherwise revolutionary pope like Francis demonstrates personally the indestructibility of clericalism is the revelation. He has failed to bring laypeople into positions of real power. Equality for women as officeholders in the Church has been resisted precisely because it, like an end to priestly celibacy, would bring with it a broad transformation of the entire Catholic ethos: Yes to female sexual autonomy; yes to love and pleasure, not just reproduction, as a purpose of sex; yes to married clergy; yes to contraception; and, indeed, yes to full acceptance of homosexuals.

No to male dominance; no to the sovereign authority of clerics; no to double standards.

Category: Catholic - Priesthood

The model of potential transformation for this or any pope remains the radical post-Holocaust revision of Catholic teachings about Jews—the high point of Vatican II. The habit of Catholic or Christian anti-Judaism is not fully broken, but its theological justification has been expunged. Under the assertive leadership of a pope, profound change can occur, and it can occur quickly.

This is what must happen now. Francis will almost certainly come and go having never reckoned with the violent corruptions of the priesthood. Clerics on the right are determined to defeat him, no matter what he does. The Church conservatives know better than most that the opposite of the clericalism they aim to protect is not some vague elevation of laypeople to a global altar guild but democracy—a robust overthrow of power that would unseat them and their ilk.

But Catholic clericalism is ultimately doomed, no matter how relentlessly the reactionaries attempt to reinforce it. The Vatican, with its proconsul-like episcopate, is the pinnacle of a structure of governance that owes more to emperors than to apostles. The profound discrediting of that episcopate is now under way.

I want to be part of what brings about the liberation of the Catholic Church from the imperium that took it captive 1, years ago. I know that far more is at stake here than the anguish of a lone man on his knees. In North America and Europe, the falloff of Catholic laypeople from the normal practice of the faith has been dramatic in recent years, a phenomenon reflected in the diminishing ranks of clergy: Many parishes lack any priests at all. In the United States, Catholicism is losing members faster than any other religious denomination.

For every non-Catholic adult who joins the Church through conversion, there are six Catholics who lapse. Parts of the developing world are experiencing a growth in Catholicism, but those areas face their own issues of clericalism and scandal—and the challenge of evangelical Protestantism as well. But to simply leave the Church is to leave its worst impulses unchallenged and its best ones unsupported. When the disillusioned depart, Catholic reactionaries are overjoyed.

They look forward to a smaller, more rigidly orthodox institution. This shrinkage is the so-called Benedict option—named for the sixth-century founder of monasticism, not for Benedict XVI, although the pope emeritus probably approves.

His April intervention described an imagined modern dystopia—pedophilia legitimated, pornography displayed on airplanes—against which the infallible Church must stand in opposition. The renewal offered by Vatican II may have been thwarted, but a reformed, enlightened, and hopeful Catholic Church is essential in our world. On urgent problems ranging from climate change, to religious and ethnic conflict, to economic inequality, to catastrophic war, no nongovernmental organization has more power to promote change for the better, worldwide, than the Catholic Church.

So let me directly address Catholics, and make the case for another way to respond to the present crisis of faith than by walking away. The Church is the people of God. The Church is a community that transcends space and time. Catholics should not yield to clerical despots the final authority over our personal relationship to the Church.

Books by Faculty

I refuse to let a predator priest or a complicit bishop rip my faith from me. The Reformation, which erupted years ago, boiled down to a conflict over the power of the priest. Likewise, to introduce democratic structures into religious governance, elevating the role of the laity, was to overturn the hierarchy according to which every ordained person occupied a place of superiority.

That is the stance I choose to take. If there are like-minded, anticlerical priests, and even an anticlerical pope, then we will make common cause with them. Joyce was a self-described exile, and exile can characterize the position of many former Catholics, people who have sought refuge in another faith, or in no faith. But exile of this kind is not what I suggest.


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Rather, I propose a kind of internal exile. One imagines the inmates of internal exile as figures in the back of a church, where, in fact, some dissenting priests and many free-spirited nuns can be found as well. We are not deserters. Replacing the diseased model of the Church with something healthy may involve, for a time, intentional absence from services or life on the margins—less in the pews than in the rearmost shadows. But it will always involve deliberate performance of the works of mercy: feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, visiting the sick, striving for justice.

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It will involve, for many, unauthorized expressions of prayer and worship—egalitarian, authentic, ecumenical; having nothing to do with diocesan borders, parish boundaries, or the sacrament of holy orders. That may be especially true in so-called intentional communities that lift up the leadership of women. These already exist, everywhere. No matter who presides at whatever form the altar takes, such adaptations of Eucharistic observance return to the theological essence of the sacrament. Christ is experienced not through the officiant but through the faith of the whole community.

The Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests

In what way, one might ask, can such institutional detachment square with actual Catholic identity? Through devotions and prayers and rituals that perpetuate the Catholic tradition in diverse forms, undertaken by a wide range of commonsensical believers, all insisting on the Catholic character of what they are doing. Their ranks would include ad hoc organizers of priestless parishes; parents who band together for the sake of the religious instruction of youngsters; social activists who take on injustice in the name of Jesus; and even social-media wizards launching, say, ChurchResist.

The gradual ascendance of lay leaders in the Church is in any case becoming a fact of life, driven by shortages of personnel and expertise. Now is the time to make this ascendance intentional, and to accelerate it. The pillars of Catholicism—gatherings around the book and the bread; traditional prayers and songs; retreats centered on the wisdom of the saints; an understanding of life as a form of discipleship—will be unshaken.

The Vatican itself may take steps, belatedly, to catch up to where the Church goes without it. But in ways that cannot be predicted, have no central direction, and will unfold slowly over time, the exiles themselves will become the core, as exiles were the core at the time of Jesus. They will take on responsibility and ownership—and, as responsibility and ownership devolve into smaller units, the focus will shift from the earthbound institution to its transcendent meaning.

This is already happening, in front of our eyes. Tens of millions of moral decisions and personal actions are being informed by the choice to be Catholics on our own terms, untethered from a rotted ancient scaffolding.

see url The choice comes with no asterisk. We will be Catholics, full stop. As anticlerical Catholics, we will simply refuse to accept that the business-as-usual attitudes of most priests and bishops should extend to us, as the walls of their temple collapse around them. The future will come at us invisibly, frame by frame, as it always does—comprehensible only when run together and projected retrospectively at some distant moment.

But it is coming. One hundred years from now, there will be a Catholic Church. Count on it. This may not be inevitable, but it is more than possible. The Church I foresee will be governed by laypeople, although the verb govern may apply less than serve. There will be leaders who gather communities in worship, and because the tradition is rich, striking chords deep in human history, such sacramental enablers may well be known as priests. They will include women and married people. They will be ontologically equal to everyone else. They will not owe fealty to a feudal superior.

Catholic schools and universities will continue to submit faith to reason—and vice versa.

Catholic hospitals will be a crucial part of the global health-care infrastructure. Catholic religious orders of men and women, some voluntarily celibate, will continue to protect and enshrine the varieties of contemplative practice and the social Gospel. Jesuits and Dominicans, Benedictines and Franciscans, the Catholic Worker Movement and other communities of liberation theology—all of these will survive in as yet unimagined forms.

The Church will be fully alive at the local level, even if the faith is practiced more in living rooms than in basilicas. But that center will be protected from Catholic triumphalism by being openly engaged with other Christian denominations. This imagined Church of the future will have more in common with ancient tradition than the pope-idolizing Catholicism of modernity ever did. And as all of this implies, clericalism will be long dead. What remains of the connection to Jesus once the organizational apparatus disappears?

That is what I asked myself in the summer before I resigned from the priesthood all those years ago—a summer spent at a Benedictine monastery on a hill between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. I came to realize that the question answers itself. The Church, whatever else it may be, is not the organizational apparatus. These sketches first appeared in the American Ecclesiastical Review during the year They were found in the diaries of a deceased friend whom Loomis names only as Father Tom. Called "Pen Sketches of a Parish", Dr. Loomis, a country physician, remarks on "their unconscious revelation of a true and tender-hearted man of God.

The boards have some general wear and soiling, previous owner's name on the front free end paper, otherwise clean and tight. A clear By: Lucia, Rev. Vincent Martin and Rev. Josefino Ramirez. Full colour card stock covers. No date of publication is given though known to be in the late 's. Josefino S. Thomas Naval, a young priest friend.

By: Madden OCD. Publisher: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Gray cloth over boards with brown lettering on the spine. A description of Carmelite life Fr. The library markings, none of which are external, are a stamp on the title page and a pocket on the back free end paper.

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The externals show light shelf wear, otherwise the book is clean with a sound binding. The unclipped dust jacket has moderate wear to the edges and the spine folds and the jacket overall is By: Maestri, Rev. William F. Light wear to cover, former owner's name on the inside of the front cover, lightly soiled text block edges; binding tight, text pages clean. By: Mahoney, Canon E.

Publisher: London, UK. Red cloth over boards with gilt lettering on the spine. First published in , this is the second printing. Selected and edited by Rev. Three page code index and a 6 page subject index. Canon Mahoney was the resident expert with "Clergy Review" and Fr. McReavy has put together a selection of his columns and articles that deal with all those niggling points of faith, traditions, rubrics, practice, and custom that are guaranteed to try the patience of Job. The answers are in two parts with the appropriate section from the Code of Canon Law in By: Martelet SJ.

Green cloth over boards with gilt lettering on the spine. Forty pages of bibliographical notes and a 10 page index. Minor wear to the spine tips. The dust jacket has minor wear to the head edge and the spine is a tad faded. Publisher: St. Marys, Kansas. Red cloth over boards with gilt lettering on the spine and the front board.

Sullivant SJ. Footnotes throughout. The library markings, none of which are external, are stamps and attachments on the free end papers and tape stains on the paste down end papers. Publisher: Notre Dame, Indiana. Translated from the French, "Les pretres diocesains" of by Angeline Bouchard. Approbations are present. Includes the preface to the American edition and a reader's foreword. A look at the the nature of priesthood and the spirituality necessary for the vocation.

Includes 7 supporting documents. Mild shelf wear to the covers with soiling on the top of the front cover and general soiling to the back cover. Previous owner's name stamped discreetly on the first page.