Today is Holy Thursday, a day when Our Lord instituted the Eucharist, the very gift of His Body and Blood in anticipation of His death on Good Friday. The Church also celebrates the institution of the Priesthood which is necessarily linked to the Eucharist. Before going into a short commentary, I would like to clearly state the Church's position,..NO PRIEST=NO EUCHARIST! Yup it is that simple!
Our fast paced society values money at an alarming rate, but beyond monetary gain, it would seem that our very being is attacked by every other sensual desire operating in the here and now making choices that much more difficult. What does this have to do with priesthood? Everything. Men are being called, they're just not hearing it. So keeping that in mind, let me establish a few key points with regards to how Catholics are to understand priesthood.
1. There is but one Priest, Jesus Christ. The ordained priest through the sacrament of Holy Orders, shares in Christ's ministeriel priesthood. Through apostolic succession he shares in the Bishop's power to act 'In persona Christi.' That is in the person of Christ. When the priest consecrates the Eucharist, the words of institution imply the effect. "Take this all of you and eat it. This is MY body which will be given up for you." The priest does not say, 'This is His Body' because at that moment it is Christ himself saying the words through the priest.
2. By our Baptism, we the Laity are considered priests in the universal sense. Does that mean we can consecrate the bread and wine? No,.because simply put we were not ordained by the laying on of hands by apostolic succession to offer sacrifice. We can however by our witness, testify to the kingdom of God. It is in this sense that we are priests. The martyr 'Stephen' was not a priest.(Although there is a school of thought that believes he might have been a deacon.
3. Only male Baptized Catholics can become priests. Why not women? Well the short answer is because that is what Christ intended. At the last Supper, Jesus ordained His apostles to the priesthood. ('Do this in memory of me.') He did not ordain His mother would would have been more than a fit for the role. Since then we have understood in our theology that the Church mirrors Mary and is therefore feminin. The priest, being an icon of Christ, therefore male, marries the Church, or the 'new' Jerusalem. As well, the man will sense a deep 'call' in the very heart of his soul attracting him to priesthood. It is not a job,.it is a very change of being,. an ontological change.
So what about all the scandals? How can we take priests seriously when there has been nothing but negetive press since 2003. Well, I and many other people belive the problem is two-fold. First, we need to look at the problem in context. I will take nothing away from the victims, because what they suffered was aan emotional and psychological rape. Their innocence was taken from them and consequently covered up. Those Bishops must be held accountable and should face charges. Contextually however, the facts reveal another story. It would seem that the 'pedophile' crisis is actually a homosexual one. The victims by and large being male and post pubescant. Numerically there are more protestant ministers who have molested kids, not to mention more teachers. So why this fascination only with the Catholic Church? The answer is simple. Satan. Go back to the beginning, no priest=no Eucharist. So combine the media with the liberal 'spirit of vatican II' agenda to 're-imagine' priesthood, and what we have is a flown blown crisis.
To conclude, things are getting better. Younger more orthodox priests are on the way, inspired by the witness of John Paul II. Traditional orders are seeing an increase in vocations, while those dioceses still perpetuating liturgical silliness and heterodoxy are going the way of the dinosaur.
St Jean Vianney,..Curee des Arts,..pray for us!