Tuesday, February 18, 2014

FR. ROLHEISER'S REFLECTIONS ON THE PRIESTHOOD



I've long been a fan of Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

The Holy Longing and The Restless Heart helped show me that our longing is the essence of our humanity and what draws us to Christ.

A reader recently sent on this column from October 15, 2006. It's called SOME REFLECTIONS ON THE PRIESTHOOD.

Excerpt:

The issue is one of accepting a priest's full humanity, including his sexuality and the necessary complexity that follows from that. The priest need not a be handed a license to be irresponsible, but he needs to be handed the feeling that he is understood and accepted fully as he is, including his complexities and sexuality.

Unfortunately, that is rarely afforded us and, consequently, we must pretend, pretend that we are eunuchs...

I suspect it's because, deep down, we're all a little afraid our own complexity and somehow if Father goes through life pretending that he has no shadow, we can also more easily pretend that we haven't got one either.

We tend to leave no room for our priests to be weak. I am not speaking here of weak in the moral sense, but weak in the way Jesus was weak and in the way that any truly sensitive person is: vulnerable, not always together, emotionally over-wrought, chronically over-extended, and prone to cry very needy tears at times. We demand instead someone who projects that all is well all the time and who bleeds only ichor.

Please don't, consciously or unconsciously, ask your priest to dress in medieval clothes, to stay in the sanctuary, and to be so timid as to be unable to dare the perilous task of living. Let him be himself: complex, weak, sexed, masculine, involved, needy, and free not to pretend. Priests are tired of being cast in the clothing of senility while everyone is crying to be young, tired of being cast as eunuchs without real blood, sinew and passion.

Small wonder hardly anyone wants to join us!

We need, priests and community together, to risk some new directions. There are risks in this of course, but, as Goethe once put it; ‘The dangers of life are infinite and safety is among them’."


TREE SPOTTED WHILE WANDERING THE UCLA CAMPUS,
ON VALENTINE'S DAY.
VERY MUCH ENJOYED THE DOCUMENTARY THE MINERS' HYMNS.
THANK YOUR MAKER YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORK IN A COLLIERY.

1 comment:

  1. I thought of Graham Greene's priests and JF Powers's, too. I think of all the priests I've met in my life and the ones I admired were the ones that cared. A very mixed bag, indeed.

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