Monday, October 31, 2005

Good Priests, Bad Priests, Fewer Priests

No priest at the Saturday evening mass at Holy Spirit... The very late communion service, performed by the deacon, was an understandable disaster! Seems our pastor failed to tell anyone he was not going to be there or who he had asked to take over his duties. Where our pastor was is anybody's guess!

Same situation at Our Lady of Sorrows for the 9:30 mass. Deacon Schurtz had to get up out of his sickbed to perform the communion service, which he did very amicably, after about a 30 minute delay.

Which brings us to the very timely letter in today's Monitor by Ana Hallman.

To the editor:
The Monitor Newspaper
October 31, 2005

Shortage of priests hurting Catholicism

Good priests, bad priests, fewer priests.
Certainly there are good and bad priests. Performance, compassion, humility and dedication may be in the eye of the beholder. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own truth. An objective judgment of someone’s behavior is very difficult to achieve when friendship, quid pro quo, or strong loyalty are present. At Holy Spirit Parish, facts speak for themselves for anyone who really cares to know the truth.

Confronting authority and speaking truth to power are not popular, but God is the ultimate judge. At the end, he will be the one deciding who was good or bad, regardless of whom we liked or disliked.

These are crucial times for the Catholic Church, still immersed in a devastating abuse scandal and with a priest shortage approaching catastrophic proportions in our county and around the world.

According to Vatican statistics, nearly half of the world’s parishes do not have a resident priest, so many Catholics are deprived of the Eucharist. In many places, people celebrate Eucharist once a month, once a year, or never, and many dioceses are closing parishes.

From Oct 2-29, the International Synod on the Eucharist in Rome gathered bishops from all over the world to address concerns and find solutions to the crisis affecting the Eucharist, a cornerstone of the life and faith of Roman Catholicism.

Let’s pray that, at this synod, the Church found real solutions to the shortages threatening the very fabric of our sacramental life.

The Church needs to consider returning to the early Church custom of having both celibate and married priest (not until the 12th century did celibacy became mandatory); the custom of having women deacons (there were both male and female deacons in the first century Church); and the fact that lay vocations to Church ministry are increasing and should be respected and utilized.

Ana L. Hallman,

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