Saturday, September 04, 2010

Cardinal Sean O'Malley on why the priesthood is so important...

In his Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores gregis, No. 28, Pope John Paul II, recalling the Rite of Ordination of a Bishop and most especially the imposition of the Book of the Gospels on the head of the Bishop-elect during the Prayer of Consecration, has this to say, "This gesture indicates, on the one hand, that the Word embraces and watches over the Bishop's ministry and, on the other, that the Bishop's life is to be completely submitted to the Word of God in his daily commitment of preaching the Gospel in all patience and sound doctrine (cf. 2 Timothy 4)."

Being "completely submitted" to the Word of God, whether Sacred Scripture or Tradition, the Bishop must be firmly committed to sound preaching and to the right of the faithful to Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity.

When a Bishop fails to uphold this right of the faithful to sound doctrine, he is responsible for what amounts to an act of violence against the faithful. Which is what we are witnessing in the Boston Archdiocese.

At his Blog, His Eminence Sean Cardinal O'Malley writes, "I am so grateful for priestly vocation. It is not something we deserve or merit, it is something that God in His goodness calls us to do. It calls us to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It is not our priesthood, it is the ministry of Jesus Christ. In the Church, the priesthood is so important because we are a Eucharistic people. It is through the priesthood that Christ has chosen to give us the sacraments."

A word of congratulation is in order. As well as a word of thanks to His Eminence for responding to God's call to serve the Church. Indeed, His Eminence is correct in saying that the priesthood calls men to be part of "something bigger" than themselves. That something is the Word of God, which the priest is called to proclaim with fidelity to those who are entrusted with its true interpretation (Dei Verbum, No. 10). In other words, the Church's Magisterium. "The task of priests," as Vatican II teaches in Presbyterorum Ordinis, No. 4, "is not to teach their own wisdom but God's Word."

This task belongs to the priest no less than his task of offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It is significant, for me, that Cardinal O'Malley neglects this point in his summary of why the priesthood is important. Because both tasks are inseparably linked. Origen wrote, "You know, you who are accustomed to assist at the divine mysteries, with what religious care, when you receive the Lord's body, you watch to see that not the smallest particle may fall...You would feel guilty, and rightly so, if that were to happen by your neglect. Then, should it be a less grave fault to neglect the word of God than to neglect his body?" (In Exod., hom. 13.3).
The task of safeguarding the Word of God is very important. And when dissent arises in the Church, "the Church's Pastors have the duty to act in conformity with their apostolic mission" and to insist "that the right of the faithful to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected." (Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, No. 113). Knowing this, one must ask: Your Eminence, why have you not addressed dissent within the Archdiocese of Boston?

No comments:

Site Meter