Monday, 13 June 2016

CLERICAL CAREERISM AND UNBRIDLED AMBITION

CLERICAL CAREERISM AND UNBRIDLED AMBITION

The ideal of the Catholic priesthood was ( is? )  that men put themselves forward to serve Jesus Christ and his people. Traditionally that meant trying your best to address all their needs in this life as well as pointing them to good things in the next. 

Therefore we had a long tradition, of the church establishing schools, colleges, hospitals, universities etc. However, sadly, as recent decades have shown, there were wicked priests, brothers and nuns in these institutions who used their powers to abuse - physically, mentally, sexually and so forth.

Of course this should not lead us to forget all the good work that was done by all the good people involved. Sadly those people have been overshadowed by the Brendan Smyths et al.

But something has changed in recent decades. Either that or the modern media has just exposed the dark underbelly of the church that always existed.

Personally I feel that there is a deep deterioration in the faith and spirituality of seminarians offering themselves for the priesthood. 

In my day in the seminary if you masturbated during the night you were filled with a deep sorrow and simply had to go to confession before Mass and communion. 

In Clonliffe seminary the spiritual director, Fr Flynn, heard confessions before Mass. We called it "Wankers Corner".

Nowadays it seems that the seminarians are "at it" all night - mainly with each other and then walk up to communion without a thought.

Don't get me wrong. I am not recommending a return to sexual repression. But surely there must be a via media - a middle way.

How can we have Christianity and priesthood without morals?

All of this, and much more, leads to seeing priesthood as a career. If it is a career there is promotion. If there is promotion there is competion and dog fight, 

Have we moved then from the Cure of Ars to the Cure of Ards and to careerists priests whose whole ambition is to rise up the clerical ladder rather than SERVE Jesus and others?

The "He went out to do good - and he did well" syndrome?

If so, we have lost something aboriginal and we are the worst for it. 

In fact we have become the ecclesiastical Titanic heading for the iceberg of worldliness. 

I find that thought deeply sad!

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29 comments:

  1. Sadly Roman Catholicism and Sexuality have become so intertwined the concepts are interchangeable-in Ireland anyway! 1st communion/confirmation are rights of passage rather than spiritual stepping stones. The attitude that a Mass will fix everything for the living and dead has also been instilled. Renewal and education are called for

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  2. We are pre-occupied with sin rather than love: with the avoidance of moral law-breaking rather than with the aspiration to love well.

    This skewing of spiritual purpose puts self centre-stage rather than God and others...hence that neurotic (or near-neurotic) compulsion to get to confession before holy communion. It is characteristic of a morally legalistic mindset, the kind shown by the Pharisees.

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    1. I agree. But what is the opposite position?

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    2. The opposite position is the aspiration to love well, for when this is in place true contrition and then reconciliation (with God and others) can follow. Otherwise, 'repentance', and ritualistic confession (Sacrament of
      Reconciliation) become merely a matter of spiritual self-preservation. Self-preservation is not at the heart of love; in fact it is the antithesis of that heart, which is self-sacrifice, for God and others.

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    3. I am 100% happy with this - as long as love is fleshed out relationships. Where does that leave priests who are ambitious careerists and priests who use people for their own gratification? Just very interested in your view.

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    4. Those priests, to use an Old Testament analogy for sin, have 'missed the mark'. They've missed (and keep missing) the point of Jesus' teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven, to which they are continually invited, lies not in
      some far-off eschatological future, but in the accessible and realisable
      here- and- now: within every human heart. They suffer themselves as a
      result, and make others suffer with them.

      'Missing the mark' was Oscar Wilde's understanding of sin. As you know, Oscar was a latecomer to Catholicism. Isn't it strange that such people sometimes show an uncanny grasp of what is pretty basic spirituality over and above those who profess to understand and preach it?

      It is strange that

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    5. I like that answer. The need then seems to for all of us to return to aiming for the mark rather than becoming settled into the missing of the mark mode. That would seem to call for an ongoing conversion of heart. But it seems that this call has been abandoned......

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  3. Whoever eats and drinks the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily eats and drinks a judgement to himself .......?????
    Carter

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    1. No one can eat and drink such worthily, for no one is morally worthy of it. To proclaim oneself worthy in this way is to proclaim himself righteous, like the Pharisees.

      This is why the Eucharist should always be received with gratitude, not with a sense of personal or moral worthiness. Humility is not shown by the latter. (By the way, the clue to how we should receive the Eucharist is the word itself, which is from the Greek for 'thanksgiving'.

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    2. Wilhelm,
      It is elementary to realise one's unworthiness to receive the Eucharist - I never said otherwise!
      However, it is clearly necessary to be in such a condition as to be as worthy as possible!
      Should this necessitate Absolution - I see no problem!!!
      Carter

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    3. Anonymous at 13:00, don't you yet realise that becoming 'as worthy as possible' means, practically speaking, realising more and more one's unworthyness to receive this most valuable of gifts? It is only in this way
      that we can experience the depth of gratitude that a human is capable of expressing.

      This growing awareness of spiritual self-poverty is true humility. It is in this that absolution lies, not in some sacramental ritual alone.

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    4. Did I say otherwise?
      Carter.

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    5. Yes, Carter, I believe you did say otherwise, at 13:00: 'However, I think it necessary to be in such a condition to be as worthy as possible!' This suggests to me that we can, at such time, consider ourselves at least
      somewhat worthy of receiving the Eucharist.

      When we think in this way, are we not a little like the Pharisee who made a
      pretence of praying in the Temple while looking upon the nearby tax
      collector with self-righteous disdain? The Pharisee alone considered himself worthy of God's approval. Jesus made it clear, however, that it was the tax collector, not the Pharisee, whose prayers had been heard.

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    6. You have jumped to an unjustified conclusion, Wilhelm!
      Did you not comprehend the first paragraph at 13.00 .,,, it is elementary to realise one's unworthiness to receive the Eucharist?
      Do you not believe that we must be at our most feeble best to receive the Eucharist?
      I am perfectly well aware of my unworthiness - and in fact - very often in my thanksgiving after the Eucharist I do say - like the Pharisee - "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner."
      Carter.

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    7. Sorry -Pharisee 19.13 should have bee Publican.
      Old age catching up!
      Carter

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    8. Carter, with respect, you appear to have contradicted yourself. On the one hand, you say that 'it is elemantary to realise one's unworthiness to receive the Eucharist' ; on the other, you declare that 'I think it necessary to be in
      such a condition to be as worthy as possible'. A communicant cannot be both unworthy, and a little worthy, at the same time.

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    9. Do you not notice that before communion we all say -
      Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, buly say the word and my soul shall be healed!
      So what is your problem - it seems to me that you just like arguments - and I see no point in continuing in this vein. We are all unworthy!
      Carter

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    10. Carter, you are the one that made an argument out of a non-argument...THROUGH YOUR CARELESSNESS WITH LANGUAGE. Blame yourself for this, not me. Show at least a little self-honesty, as well as humility.

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    11. Carter,
      I believe that you are dealing here with form of megalomania - and that you are quite right in
      That you can see no point in continuing in this vein. I am sure that you have better things to do

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  4. The whole issue of Timmy Barlett reminds me of that episode of Father Ted wherein Ted wins the Golden Cleric Award.

    I think the latest crisis in Drumbo will give the Bishop ammunition he dearly wants to do something with the PP who has been engaged on other behaviour that gave rise to a stand up row between the two!

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    1. Father Ted episodes are so relevant to D&C it is uncanny.....I must lift out my Box Set and have a D&C rundown
      Molly Malone

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  5. Many of these young clerics have no faith and no vocation to the priesthood whatsoever.

    They are drawn to the dressing up, the "bells and smells". The Liturgy is "pure theatre" to them.

    God is NOT calling these walking contradictions - they are inviting themselves.

    They don't believe. They don't pray; but they love the melodrama of feeling they have some control over others (albeit less and less, thank God, in the modern schema).

    They are precise on their clerical dress, vestments, etc., when to bow, how many genuflections.... They are rigid when it comes to how "lay folk" should be regulated and behaved; and yet, they will think nothing of having gay sex with whoever takes their fancy and is willing!!

    Of course, they go to Holy Communion afterwards because they don't really believe! It is all a charade!

    It's a spiritual, moral and pastoral DISASTER for the Catholic Church. The formation teams who are overseeing this fiasco will roast in Hell.

    Some of them, of course, are also behaving immorally themselves. It's appalling.

    The spineless bishops too - incapable of leadership. Wasn't that great big lummox, Timothy Dolan, supposed to sorted out the morass in Irish seminaries???

    A great big NOTHING there then!!

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    1. Sadly, I must agree with your dismal summary :-(

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  6. Bishop Pat, I am at a loss to understand the reason why those who availed of the Catholic-ethos education system (including Catholic Boarding Schools) do not always reflect the Christian lifestyle (like Christian Marriage) and Sunday Mass. The "people-pleasing" traits of attending Funerals / Anniversaries (and cohabitaion with someone else's spouse) hardly reflects the fruits of Catholic Education?
    Jarlath Vaughan

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    1. Because the Catholic faith is not practiced or taught, or where it is, it is in a watered down or twisted form. In my Catholic school the only thing I remember from four years of RE was that you must go to Sunday Mass on pain of mortal sin (never a word of why or what Sunday Mass means) and not to have an abortion. Otherwise remember that those who teach us the faith are frequently not believers themselves.

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    2. MourneManMichael14 June 2016 at 00:29

      Jarlath, your use of the word 'avail' appears to imply that those you refer to have made, of their own volition, a conscious choice of the catholic ethos education system.
      Given the church dominated Irish education system, and thus the absence of little free alternative choice, one is obliged to wonder to what degree those inveigled into religious observance traditions as children, subsequently in adult life, as a result of conscious reasoning, abandon such force fed beliefs as rejection of matters found to be irrational and without substance. Some may depart from external religious observances such as the Sunday Mass etc you refer to, yet still live a good life and follow the essence of Christianity of loving others and the Golden Rule of "Do as you would be done by."
      Others may simply drift away from religious beliefs and observances disillusioned by anaemic teaching and spirituality experienced in academic formative years, or as in the present era, by an increasingly materialistic world outlook, and the poor example set by so many clerics.
      MMM

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  7. Tim Bartlett has always reminded me of the actor Christopher Biggins - although Biggins is getting on a little now.

    However, if you google image CB, you will find an uncanny resemblance to TB (especially CB when he was a bit younger). Same shape of face, same jolly smile, same sense of fun.... CB and TB - separated at birth perhaps?

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  8. I dont believe there is such a thing as 100% unselfish motivation. That being said this should not prevent a person giving 100% to Christ. Giving that 100% will put all else in context

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    1. Sean Page
      I would appreciate your comments on the above confrontational exercise between Carter and Wilhelm!!!
      Sam

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