Monday, September 21, 2009

The duty of fostering vocations...

Vatican II's Decree on Priestly Training (Optatam Totius) says that, "The duty of fostering vocations pertains to the whole Christian community, which should exercise it above all by a fully Christian life...All priests especially are to manifest an apostolic zeal in fostering vocations and are to attract the interest of youths to the priesthood by their own life lived in a humble and industrious manner and in a happy spirit as well as by mutual priestly charity and fraternal sharing of labor. Bishops...are to encourage their flock to promote vocations and should be concerned with coordinating all forces in a united effort to this end. As fathers, moreover, they must assist without stint those whom they have judged to be called to the Lord's work." (No. 2).

Unfortunately, this duty is not taken seriously by many within the Church. In fact, many vocations have been sabotaged by dissident priests and religious anxious to exclude those who are deemed "too rigid" or too "pre-Vatican II." Recall Michael S. Rose's book "Goodbye, Good Men." Such was my experience with the La Salette Missionaries. Because of my orthodoxy, I was never even seriously considered as a candidate. In fact, when I expressed concerns over La Salette priests promoting the ordination of women to the ministerial priesthood during a vocation retreat, a La Salette Provincial accused me of "evil." I still have all my correspondence with several La Salette priests, one of whom actually had the grace and kindness to apologize to me for the way the La Salette community treated me.

Because I accept everything which is taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and because I defend the teaching authority of the Church's Magisterium, I am treated with nothing but contempt in my own diocese. I am not even permitted to participate in the life of my parish. And I am not alone. As Archbishop Elden Curtis explained in an article entitled "Crisis in Vocations? What Crisis?":

"There is much media hype these days about the present and projected shortage of priests and its effect on the sacramental life of the Church. It is time to pay close attention to the dioceses and religious communities reporting increasing numbers of candidates. There have to be reasons for these increases that bear objective analysis from which some conclusions can be drawn.
I personally think the vocation "crisis" in this country is more artificial and contrived than many people realize. When dioceses and religious communities are unambiguous about ordained priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines these calls; when there is strong support for vocations, and a minimum of dissent about the male celibate priesthood and religious life loyal to the magisterium; when bishop, priests, Religious and lay people are united in vocation ministry—then there are documented increases in the numbers of candidates who respond to the call.

It seems to me that the vocation "crisis" is precipitated and continued by people who want to change the Church's agenda, by people who do not support orthodox candidates loyal to the magisterial teaching of the Pope and bishops, and by people who actually discourage viable candidates from seeking priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines the ministries.

I am personally aware of certain vocation directors, vocation teams and evaluation boards who turn away candidates who do not support the possibility of ordaining women or who defend the Church's teaching about artificial birth control, or who exhibit a strong piety toward certain devotions, such as the Rosary.

When there is a determined effort to discourage orthodox candidates from priesthood and religious life, then the vocation shortage which results is caused not by a lack of vocations but by deliberate attitudes and policies that deter certain viable candidates.

And the same people who precipitate a decline in vocations by their negative actions call for the ordination of married men and women to replace the vocations they have discouraged. They have a death wish for ordained priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines them. They undermine the vocation ministry they are supposed to champion." (Full article here).

It is incredible to me that while Senator Edward Kennedy's life was celebrated during a very public funeral - even though he publically dissented from the Church's teaching regarding the sanctity of life - I am treated with nothing but contempt by those who would exclude me because of my fidelity to the Church's teaching. The Senator was referred to as "Our brother and friend." I cannot even participate in the life of my parish. I am held in so much contempt that when I contacted my Diocese to inquire about the priesthood, I received no response whatsoever.

Maybe if I promoted the killing of the unborn or women's ordination, I too would be welcomed as "brother and friend." That's not going to happen though. For what does it profit a know the rest.


Michelle said...

Paul that is just sad. You are in my prayers. The Church in the Northeast is in bad shape. I know what you mean. Lord have mercy on us.

Ashley Pelletier said...

2303 of the Catechism says that: "Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."

The La Salette Missionaries and others have committed spiritual violence against you Paul. Deliberate hatred is a grave sin. So too is discrimination.

I will pray for these people.

Michael Cole said...

Worcester priest Father James Aquino was accepted as "brother and friend." Remember him? He was the priest arrested in Las Vegas for lewd conduct:

Sad. Tragic and sad. Faithful vocations are thrown into the trash while men such as James Aquino are welcomed.

Betty said...

Pope Benedict XVI: " God, from whom it comes, wisdom does not need to impose itself by force, because it has the invincible vigor of truth and love, that affirms itself.

That is why it is peaceful, meek and docile; it does not need to be partial, nor does it need to lie; it is indulgent and generous, it is recognized by the good fruits that it bears in abundance."

I think the La Salettes need to reflect very carefully on that. It doesn't seem that they have embraced indulgence and generosity but rather partiality.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

The real tragedy is that a religious community which SHOULD BE committed toward promoting reconciliation and peace has instead opted for hatred and falsehood. In other words, as Ashley put it, spiritual violence.

The greater tragedy is that while Ted Kennedy was being celebrated and honored as "our brother and friend," numerous unborn babies were being put to death. Not only were they denied a place at the table, they were denied even life itself.

Were they not our brothers and sisters as well? They were poor and silent. But did they not still have value?

A "gospel" which embraces such partiality is a gospel from Hell.

ACatholicinClinton said...

Liberals in the Church have long entertained sheer hatred toward those Catholics who are loyal to the Holy Father and the Bishops and who want no part in dissent. The Church is polarizing more and more as the prophecy of Akita is fulfilled. Cardinals will be against Cardinals, Bishops against Bishops as the Church approaches its chastisement.

Samantha said...

Archbishop Burke says there should be no funeral rites for pro-abort politicians.

B flat said...

You see the death throes of Catholic Christianity in your diocese and in the LaSalette Missionaries. You see what the Second Vatican Council said about vocations, how the next generation of clergy and religious is to be fostered, nurtured and grown. You love the Church, and you love the Truth, Who is Christ. Look at Abram who was called and became Abraham, the father of many. Look at his descendants, the Israelites in Egypt, and then in the Promised land. Look at the apostles and there initial faithfulness to the daily worship of the Temple, but later expulsion from the synagogue by the Jews. Ecclesia means the ones who are called out of the environment (the World) by God. What you have experienced is that "your diocese" and the religious, like most others, has regressed, returned to the World from which it was called, and is living a lie. In its ranks, it barely tolerates those who are quietly faithful to Christ, but it hates them. It is a parasitic cancer that has invaded and controls the body. You either accept a slow and inevitable death by trying to go along, or you move to a faithful diocese or religious house and revive your life within the Church which is Christ. God will not fail you, if you do not abandon Him. But you cannot do good by supporting this travesty of Catholic Christianity which is so prevalent today. This is so near to schism mentality, it is very dangerous. Even Mohammed is believed by millions to have followed God's revelation, but he followed a demon. But you are not innovating, nor seeking a new religion. You know where the truth was sixty years ago, and He is no longer served or taught, or worshipped, by these corrupt men who control what is left of the life of the Church. Go where the Sacraments are, where they always have been, where Christ and the eternal Truth is not mocked, and there Christ is found in His Church.

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