Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fr Pipahhh the Sequel, State of the Union,..

Once again, I, Fr Jason Piper will use Cybertronian ears, eyes and speech, to say what I got to say,..Optimusmastro will return a little later,..

Yesterday (January 20th) marked my one year anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. I have been reflecting on the past year, and the following is one of many points about the priesthood that have been in mind:
Back in September, eight months since I had been ordained, I was told something to the effect of; "people are saying you've changed since you became a priest... its like you think you have a license to do whatever you want." My response was basically... yes, I have changed. No, I don't think I can do whatever I want.
Regarding "you've changed since you became a priest"
When someone is ordained, they do in fact change. There is an ontological change, in which there is a change in one's very being; priesthood isn't something you do, it is who you are... I am priest (through Jesus the one Priest). When I was ordained, I changed, my very being changed by the very ordination (Sacrament of Holy Orders).
Also, when one is ordained, they receive a new office, or charge. They are now a priest (ontological change), and are therefore are to act within that role, fulfill that role, function within that role. After I was ordained, I changed my mode of action to conform with my new reality.
Regarding "a license to do whatever you want."
When one is ordained, he is responsible for what he does, within the role he is to fulfill, based on his new reality "I am priest." Now, lets say there are liturgical abuses going on, for example; on Sundays the psalm is replaced by a poem (contemporary writings speak to our current reality), and the Old Testament reading is removed (it makes mass too long). Before ordination the seminarian may express his dislike for such practices, and really that is all he can do. It is the priest who has been entrusted with the sacred duty of transmitting what the Church has put forth. The seminarian is placed with the priest to learn from him, not tell the priest what to do. If the priest wants to persist in error, there is nothing a seminarian can do about it. That priest will answer to Jesus on the day of his judgment.
However, once that seminarian becomes a priest, and he himself has been entrusted the sacred responsibility of faithfully transmitting what the Church puts forth; he can, and therefore should refuse to allow the liturgical abuse to go on when he is the presider. Far from thinking 'now that I'm a priest I'll do whatever I want' (or have the license to do whatever one wants), the attitude should be; now that I'm a priest I will do what I should do, what I was entrusted to do. He will also answer to Jesus on the day of his judgment.
On Authority:
If someone does not change when they become a priest, there is something seriously wrong. I'm not talking about a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of change. Or like He-Man “I’VE GOT THE POWER!!!” Rather, a change in which one assumes the serious responsibilities they were entrusted with; by God through their bishop who represents the Church.
Lastly, priests are trained to be leaders. He is like a young buck raring to go... it is only normal that a newly ordained takes charge and leads. Naturally, within the role he has been given. If he is under a direct superior who is the pastor of a community he is named to; the newly ordained is to assist the pastor who leads. The newly ordained leads under the leadership of the pastor. Just as the pastor leads under the leadership of his bishop. And the bishop leads in union with his brother bishops with the pope as their head. The pope, surrounded by the bishops, leads under the authority of Jesus Christ. We, all the baptized, make up Jesus' Church, and are subject to His supreme authority. The chain of command begins and ends with Jesus. Anything that is not of Jesus, and what He has given under His authority expressed through the Magisterium, is not binding on one's promise of obedience and respect.
Final Thoughts:
Any authority I have, is based on Jesus' authority. If I refuse to do something, like grant general absolution to those who come for monthly parish penitential services, or enforce something like only using unleavened bread for the Eucharist; it is not because I think I have the license to do whatever I want... it is because I know I do not have the license to do whatever I want.

1 comment:

Béta-Rhéteur said...

I so agree with you ! Great article !