The Problem Of Modern Priesthood
This blog post addresses some of the causes of the diminished authority of the priest in the Western world.
I for myself would add my two pence: what makes most of the credibility problem of priests nowadays is that very many of them are as fake as a six pound note, clearly ashamed of their own profession and – generally speaking and forgetting for a moment that they can consecrate the host – a waste of space.
A priest who is not afraid of being a Catholic priest can be criticised, berated or even insulted. But everyone, even his own enemies, will know he is authentic.
On the other hand, no one has any use for a priest who speaks like a snake oil salesman, never disagrees with anyone if it costs even a shade of conflict, and limits himself to the most useless, trite banalities about social justice (for which we already have bad politicians galore), or “the joy of Christ” which strangely seems to exclude the fear of the Lord, or to the flattery of his own parishioners in the most sugary, cheesy, stupid way (“thank you for being you!” is one I will never forget).
Then of course the one or other is suspected of being a homo, or does not give any sign of testosterone ownership at all. They have suspiciously high-pitched voices, and an affected gentleness of ways unbecoming a man. When people are left wondering whether everything is in order with him, Father has already lost.
In order to be respected, a Catholic priest must be, in this order, a) a man and b) a Catholic. If the one or other component is lacking, the public (not only the Pewsitter) will see the guy for what he is: a fake, a pretense, an excuse of a priest. As a result, no one will respect him. Not the real Catholics, and not those outside the Church. Fake vocations have a way of stinking from very far away and in the same way as true revolutionaries can easily spot the fake revolutionary, true Catholics can easily spot the modern priest as a fraud.
No, I don’t think it has to do with education, as priests used to be respected by illiterate peasants and extremely well educated people alike. It has to do with the fact that Church has become almost unable to produce respectable priests, and produces instead unmanly social justice whinos no one would want to be identified with and whom no youth would take as a model.
Priests are often despised because they are often despicable. When the average quality improves the respect and reputation will grow, too.