Daily Archives: November 4, 2021
We are informed that priestly vocation in Italy are decreasing sharply (almost 30% in a decade). What a surprise, eh? I think I know why.
Now let us imagine you are a young boy with a strong faith and some vague inkling that the best use of your life is actually giving it to Christ. You would, first, be discouraged by the fact that, let us speak frankly here, the figure of the priest is not very manly anymore. When the priest was seen as a man’s man, and a person of authority in his local community, vocation and manliness went hand in hand. But if the priest is seen as a loser of dubious virility, many will just not be put in that box. Similarly, such a boy is unlikely to have a manly priest near him. I must say I see shockingly few around me. Even with a strong vocation, it must be cool and manly to be a priest.
Our young man is, however, stronger than that, and applies for the seminary anyway. He will likely be rejected if he is found to be “rigid”, that is, Catholic. There go a number of vocations, straight off the bat.
But let us say our guy makes it. Once inside, he is not unlikely to discover that many of his colleagues are on the high-pitched side, others are rumoured to be homosexual, and a couple or more are actually known sodomites. He’ll soon learn that it is very “rigid” to touch the topic, and he should trust that his superiors have everything in hand. He will also be exposed to heretical teaching. Doubting will be cool. Questioning will be cool. Being Catholic will not be cool at all.
But hey, our guy is very smart and has decided he will get through the Valley of Death because he wants to be a good priest. That’s where the real problems begin.
Father Guy will soon discover that he has to do with a number of lay committees, filled with sanctimonious busybodies who did not smoke enough forbidden substances in the Sixties and Sixties to die. Being, at this point, highly trained in these matters, he will soon realise that a couple of progressive harridans have already targeted him for a complaint to the Bishop. Father Guy is rigid, they will say. Not inclusive. Insensitive. Pelagian! He is just the contrary of what the Future Saint Francis Of the Blessed Wheelchair wants from a priest! One wrong homily, one “upset” parishioner, one “rigid” remark, and the circus will start.
The Bishop will have a chat a first time, then a second and then a third. He will explain to him that “insensitive” topics should be avoided, and Mrs Thornycroft should not have to “cry” just because her son, who is oh so loving, is “gay”. Father Guy will learn that he is supposed to “accompany” the faithful, not upset them. Upsetting people is not very pastoral, you know… He will be told that he should smell a bit more, like his sheep…
I don’t blame the young guy for not wanting to become Father Guy, vocation and all.
Not everybody wants to become the martyr of Mrs Thornycroft, who did not want to be upset and cry.