The Ordained Priesthood – Opening a New Conversation

By | August 31, 2019

[music playing]>>DEAN THOMAS STEGMAN,
S.J.: Thank you, Jane, and welcome to everyone. This past December,
Boston College scholars released a document entitled
“To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation
on Priesthood and Ministry”, which was published in Origins. The study was the fruit
of a two-year study on the renewal of the
priesthood and ministry for a contemporary Church. Together with Richard
Gaillardetz of the Theology Department,
tonight’s presenters, Thomas Groome and Richard
Lennan, co-chaired this study. And Jacqueline Regan was a
participant in the study, along with eight others. And some of those eight
others are in the audience. Perhaps we can just raise hands. I see Father Baldovin. Am I missing any
other participants? So other participants,
we have a whole crew. So I just want to
give a shout-out that this was the product
of a great collaboration. It’s my pleasure to introduce
our presenters in the order in which they will speak. Thomas Groome, born and raised
in County Kildare, Ireland, holds a degree in divinity
from St. Patrick’s Seminary in Carlow, Ireland, and
masters and doctoral degrees in religious education
from Fordham University and Union Theological
Seminary, Columbia University, respectively. He has been teaching at Boston
College since 1976, which he will tell you
is shortly after he made his First Communion. I actually heard that Jesus
assigned him, but that’s– [laughter] Tom is professor of theology
and religious education in the School of
Theology and Ministry and served as Director of
the Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral
Ministry, and as chair of the STM Department
of Religious Education and Pastoral
Ministry for many years. Last year Tom completed
an appointment as director of The Church
in the 21st Century Center, and initiated this
study on the priesthood. Tom has several
books to his credit, including Will There Be Faith:
A New Vision for Educating and Growing Disciples,
published by HarperOne in 2011 and available for sale at the
bookstore table in the back. Tom is renowned for having
developed the Shared Christian Praxis pedagogy, one that
is rooted in experience and reflection, aligned with
Scripture and Tradition, and designed for action. As the primary author of
religion curricula for parishes and schools, Tom had an
impact on the faith formation of generations of Catholics. Our second presenter,
Jacqueline Regan, is a native of
Salem, Massachusetts. She holds a bachelor’s degree
in history and religious studies from the College
of the Holy Cross. That’s that other Jesuit
school in Massachusetts. Jackie’s professional career
began in the corporate world before she discerned a vocation
to educational ministry in the Church. While working as
a parish minister, Jackie earned a Master’s of
Divinity degree and an M.A. in Spiritual Direction
from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology. For four years, she
served as the dean of students at Weston Jesuit
until her appointment in 2008 as associate dean
of student affairs at the Boston College School
of Theology and Ministry, a position she
continues to hold. As part of a team of
four associate deans, Jackie works in spiritual and
human formation, overseas STM liturgy and community life, and
assists our students and alumni with career placement. Jackie is the mother
of two adult children, and in her free time enjoys
running and singing, often at the same time. She is a member of St.
Ignatius Parish, where she is involved
in music ministry and serves as the director
of the RCIA program. Thirdly, Richard
Lennan, a priest of the diocese of
Maitland-Newcastle in Australia, holds a
master of philosophy degree from the University of Oxford
and a doctorate in theology from the University of
Innsbruck in Austria. Richard is professor
of systematic theology and professor ordinarius
in the School of Theology and Ministry, where
he also served as chair of the Ecclesiastical
Faculty for three years. Prior to coming to Boston
in 2007, for 15 years Richard taught theology at the
Catholic Institute of Sydney and had wide involvement
in ecumenical activities and pastoral planning in
Australia and New Zealand. He is also a past president
of the Australian Theological Association. His principal fields of study
are ecclesiology, ecumenism, and the theology of ministry,
with a particular interest in the theology and
spirituality of Karl Rahner. Richard serves on
the editorial board of the journal,
Theological Studies, and chairs the steering
committee of the Karl Rahner Society. Richard is the
author of two books and editor of five
others, including two that feature
contributions by STM faculty and are also offered for sale
this evening in the back, Hope: Promise, Possibility, and
Fulfillment, published by Paulist Press in 2013, and
more recently The Holy Spirit: Setting the World on Fire
published by Paulist in 2017. On weekends, Richard
assists with the liturgy at Sacred Heart Parish in
North Quincy, Massachusetts. So please join me in welcoming
Thomas Groome, Jackie Regan, and Richard Lennan,
who will continue their work in opening
a new conversation on the ordained priesthood. [applause]>>DR. THOMAS H.
GROOME: Thank you. Thank you, Tom, and
thank you especially for mentioning my book
being on sale at the back. Teddy always needs new
shoes for the winter, and this winter has
been unduly harsh. So if you want to contribute
to Teddy’s shoe fund, the book is for sale. Thank you. My happy task is to introduce
this wonderful document, “To Serve the People of God:
Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry”. I’m going to summarize
what we set out to do, why we set out to do it,
and how we went about it. And then my beloved
colleagues, Jackie and Richard, will elaborate and review
the outcome of our work and then some of
the implications. So what did we set out to do? In many ways, it can
be stated very briefly. We wanted to articulate
a contemporary theology of ministry in general,
and then of the priesthood in particular, not, indeed, as
the final word on the subject, but rather to renew or perhaps
catalyze a fresh conversation. Why did we think
this was needed? Well, first, and to
state the obvious, any fair-minded
person would agree that there’s a devastating
scandal surrounding our Catholic priesthood and
episcopacy at this time, caused by horrendous sexual crimes
against children, youth, and dependents, and
doing dreadful damage, first to victims
and their families, and then to the whole Church,
and this increasingly being recognized now as worldwide. Just this morning
the Boston Globe has another headline and a major
essay on the depressing figures that almost another
one-third of Catholics are considering leaving our
beloved Church, prompted largely by this scandal. The figures already
estimate that something like 35 million people
in the United States now identify themselves
as former Catholics. And now another
third threatening to leave us, and primarily
around this scandal. I always think that I’m so sad
to see people leave our Church. But my greatest fear, when
they leave our Church, is they also may
lose their faith. And I think that would
be the ultimate tragedy. But even before
the current round of scandals, The
Pennsylvania Report, that McCarrick stories, The
Church in the 21st Century here at Boston College
recognized the need for a new understanding
and practice of priesthood, and that the C21
Center could indeed make a significant contribution
in sponsoring such a study, especially it being
totally in keeping with the purpose of
that fine C21 Center to be a source of
reform and renewal for the Catholic Church. So here I want to recognize,
before we go any further, and express great appreciation
for the sponsorship of C21 and its generous administrative
and financial support of the project. Though the document
is now owned, quote unquote, by the School
of Theology and Ministry and the Boston College
Theology Department, C21 deserves great credit as
it being its original sponsor and helped to finance it. I want to particularly recognize
Karen Kiefer, who at the time was my associate
director, but in fact was the one in charge
of the purse strings and made the money
readily available. She’s now the director
of the C21 Center, and also the signator
of the document. She participated
actively for two years in the seminar itself. So I would invite
Karen, wherever she is, to stand and take a
well-deserved bow. Karen? I think she’s still here. There she is. [applause] Unlike her predecessor
in that role, she’s quite humble and quite– but C21 provided the money,
to be crass about it, to bring in leading
scholars for the breakfasts that we had, even provided a
small stipend for the seminar members to make them feel
guilty if they didn’t come. And it worked– it
was very effective. I’ve been a part
of faculty seminars that started off
wonderfully in September and did well in October,
but by November things were getting busy. By December they
were into finals and nobody, or only
two people, showed. So we had a wonderful attendance
throughout the two years. And it wasn’t because of
the small stipend we paid, but I think it may have helped. Since the beginning
of his pontificate, and apart altogether
from the clergy sex abuse scandal and
problem, Pope Francis has been decrying what he calls
the “curse of clericalism.” Pretty strong language. A clericalism that
exalts and pedestalizes priests with power
over people’s lives, whereas in fact they should
be located as servant leaders within the community
of all the baptized, empowering us to be held
responsible for the Church’s mission as a field
hospital that helps to heal the wounds of the world. Instead of reciting rules and
regulations as if from on high, Pope Francis urges priests
to encourage people in their own discernment of how
best to live out the Gospel, and often repeating that the
Gospel’s ultimate name is mercy. Now this clericalism
that pedestalizes priests and that Pope Francis so often
laments, has a historical, and more importantly, a
theological background. And while it may be stepping
back a bit from the Church’s immediate problems like
the sex abuse scandal, yet we’re convinced that
this clericalist theology of priesthood needs,
desperately needs to be recast and reformulated,
and that that hopefully, with God’s help, will
be part of the solution of our present crisis. At least some of the
sources of the clericalism can be found, I believe,
in the Council of Trent, and especially in the Catechism
of the Council of Trent. Now the Council of
Trent, as you know, was that great Catholic council
of reform in the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation. But the decrees of Trent
weren’t even translated into English for 260 years. So the document that
really implemented the Council of Trent was
the Catechism of Trent– which my students are
reading in their class for this coming Tuesday, or at
least reading a part of it– because the Catechism
became the text that priests preached
on a three-year cycle, repeating the Catechism over
and over, year after year, and this is what
they were to preach. Now when it came to the
Sacrament of Holy Orders, I just want to
read the sacrament. This is often called the Roman
Catechism, or the Catechism of the Council of Trent. I just want to read
it on Holy Orders. It says, the “The thing for the
faithful to be instructed in is the dignity and
greatness of this sacrament, especially in its
highest degree, which is the priesthood. Priests and bishops are, as
it were, the interpreters and messengers of God,
commissioned in his name to teach men the divine law. They act in this world as
the very person of God. It is evident that no
office greater than theirs can possibly be imagined. Rightly have they been called
angels, and even gods.” Now it’s a small
g, but nonetheless. “Holding as they do among us
the very name and the power of the living God.” Now that’s why Miss
Garrity in second grade told us that if we’re
passing through the village and we meet Father Murphy
and our guardian angel, that we should salute
Father Murphy first because he’s closer to God
than our guardian angel. Now that type of clericalism,
that adulation, pedestalizing, exaggeration, it’s
understandable in the historical
context of the time. The more the reformers
emphasize the priesthood of all believers, the
more the Catholic Church downplayed the priesthood
of all believers and up-played the
ordained priesthood. How? So that’s why we
thought there was a need for a contemporary
theology of priesthood, of ministry and priesthood. How do we go about it? We assembled a scholarly
seminar for study and research, intend to draw upon
the best of the broader tradition of priesthood
before Trent, going back into those early
centuries of the Church, which indeed, Vatican II began to do. But then, as our colleague,
Richard Gaillardetz and a co-chair of the
seminar, Rick often says, “Vatican II
left priesthood as unfinished business.” It began the work– and I’ll
say more about that in a moment, and my colleagues
will elaborate– but left it unfinished. We assembled 12 working members,
six notable theologians, with the exception of myself,
but all with relative expertise on the particular topic. We had two Boston College
officers of the University who work in
spiritual formation– Jackie being one of
them, Karen the other– two Ph.D. students,
one in theology, one in theology and
education, two priests from the Archdiocese
of Boston, one the dean of our local
deanery, and then a Master’s student from the
STM as our scribe. Five women and seven men in all. And the names of the
signators are on the back, but let me just– Tom had started to do this. Let me just recognize the
ones who I think are here. John Baldovin. John, would you maybe stand? I know you waved the last time,
but maybe you give a stand. John? Liam Bergin is not with us. Boyd Taylor Coolman, Jim
Flavin, Rick Gaillardetz. I don’t think he’s here. Myself. Megan Hopkins is here. Oh, Rick is here. Please. Rick, could you stand, please? Don’t wave. Just stand. Thank you, Rick. Thank you, Richard. Rick Gaillardetz. Megan Hopkins. Megan is here, I know. Megan. Thank you, Megan. Emily Jendzejec. Is Emily here? There’s Emily. Thank you, Emily. Karen, I said already. Richard is beside me here. Elyse Raby. Elyse, the theology
doctoral student. Elyse. Here’s Elyse. Then Jackie. Thank you to all of them. We began in September of 2016. We met four times each
semester for two years, and then we had the final
meeting this past May. So we had 17 formal
gatherings in all, and even thereafter
we had many revisions. The revisions continued
through the summer and on even as late as November. We read widely, theological
texts and essays, and then all of the relevant Church
documents regarding priesthood. I won’t, in the interest of
time, won’t list them all. But for example,
Pastores Dabo Vobis, the great major statement
by Pope John Paul II, “The Program of
Priestly Formation;” “The Coworkers in the Vineyard
and Disciples in Mission;” the “Pastoral Plan of the
Archdiocese of Boston.” We read widely. We realized early on that we
would need to limit ourselves to diocesan priesthood,
and to the American context in particular. Now we hope that what we
say is relevant universally in the life of the
Church, and indeed for order priests as
well, and indeed there’s an essay coming in America soon
which picks up the conversation and finds great resonance. And yet we thought
it wisest to limit ourselves to diocesan priesthood
in the American context. Methodologically, we chose the
approach of practical theology. This means to begin with the
present state of the question, and then to theologize
from that data with an eye to making
recommendations for renewed pastoral practices. So our first task was to study
the present state of priesthood and of seminary education
in the United States. And to this end, we
brought in leading experts like Mary Gautier, a
research associate at CARA. Her book Priestly Ministry
in the 21st Century is a definitive work. We brought in Professor
Katarina Schuth from the University of St.
Thomas, who is probably the best expert on the present
state of seminary education in the United States. Father Eamonn Conway from
the University of Limerick. His collection of essays
entitled Priesthood Today is considered to be the
most recent best scholarship on priesthood. Professor David
Hunter, the Chair of Catholic Studies at the
University of Kentucky, world-renowned expert
in the early Church history, especially its forms
and functions of ministry. And by the way, David is
about to join our faculty here at the Theology Department
beginning next September. Father Walter Woods,
a former professor at St. John’s Seminary,
who at that time was a much loved
pastor of a parish collaborative out in
Acton, Massachusetts. Walter has since retired– to talk about his experience
of clustering parishes, and the whole experiment
of international priests to help meet the clergy
shortage, and so on. So lots of people, both
from the academic world and from the trenches
of the Church’s life who could, indeed,
well inform us on the present state of affairs. We spent three semesters
in concerted research and deep conversation, and
then all of Spring 2018, we focused on writing
and editing the drafts. And again I want to recognize
John Baldovin and Jackie Regan and Richard Lennan were
our writing committee. But as you know, I
think, Jackie and John unanimously decided that Richard
should be the primary scribe. And as you know, no committee
ever writes a document. It’s always some person
puts their rear on the chair and writes out the document. Then it got severely edited,
as I think they remember well. We went through
six, seven drafts before we finally
went public with it. Very early on, we realized that
we couldn’t take on everything in a brief, readable document. We needed a precise focus. In addition to this,
our group spanned the ideological
spectrum, from people who would favor
opening priesthood to women and to married people,
to members who would favor continuing with celibate males. As our study and
conversation unfolded, we discerned that the best
service we could render and the conversation we
might effectively encourage would be to step back from
the controversies surrounding admission to ordination
and to ask the more fundamental question: What
does it mean to be ordained in the first place? What is the nature, the
purpose of priesthood? What are its necessary charisms? How should we prepare
people for it? How do we encourage the
ongoing education and formation of our priests? To quote the document
itself, we said “Irrespective of who is to be
ordained, the Church must be clear in its
understanding and expectation of priestly ministry.” We picked up those seeds
from Vatican II, especially its relocating of
preordained ministry within the priesthood
of all the baptized, and also its reclaiming
of the broader functions of priestly ministry
beyond presiding, to pastoring and
preaching as well. I say retrieving– I’m conscious of times– I say retrieving Vatican
II’s theology of priesthood because in many ways,
the incipient seeds that were sown or retrieved at
Vatican II were set aside. And I can say more about
that in the conversation. But in the aftermath
of the Council, it was set aside for
a variety of reasons, especially with Pope
Benedict XVI, it seemed, where the Church
began to re-emphasize the purely cultic function, the
sacred power of the priesthood, and neglecting those broader
functions of preaching and pastoring as well. Let me skip over
the rest of this and go straight
to the conclusion, and then hand over to Jackie– or to my conclusion. Yeah, Jackie and Richard
will do the conclusion. Having completed the final
edits last November– and having cleared
permissions with Father Leahy as our president, Dean
Stegman, because it was going to be sponsored by the
School of Theology Ministry as well as the Theology
Department– having cleared all of the
bases, et cetera, we said, wouldn’t it be
wonderful if we could get Origins to publish it? Origins, as you know,
is the publishing arm of the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops. So I called Edmond
Brosnan, the editor there. His people are all from Kerry,
and that helped a little, I think. And I asked him, would he
be interested in publishing the document? He said, “Well, send it to me.” He called me two days later. He said, “Tom, we’re
going to publish it.” I said, “Oh my goodness,
that’s marvelous. When?” Fully expecting him
to say next May. And he said, “Next week.” And indeed, they published
it the following week. It’s gone out now
to over 600 bishops. It has gone to Pope Francis. We’re assured that he
is pleased with it, that he has read in it, or
has at at least somebody read it for him, I
suppose, more likely. We were recently assured that
it will most likely become a key resource for the
upcoming Synod of Bishops, the Pan-Amazon Synod next
October, that it will certainly influence the Instrumentum
Laboris, or opening document, of that council. We’re thrilled, of course. It’s helpful to have
friends in high places, and our beloved
colleague Rafael Luciani has delivered a lot of
it personally for us. It also has been
translated into Spanish, and we’re now
beginning to disperse the Spanish translation,
thanks to Hoffsman Ospino. So just to wind down,
we say at the end of “To Serve the People of
God,” that we can certainly expect, quote, “further
changes regarding priesthood as the future unfolds.” We also include,
in concluding, we cite Elizabeth Johnson,
who says “There can be no future
priesthood in the Church that women do not have a pivotal
hand in shaping,” end of quote. So there’s lots more
to come, shall we say. Meanwhile, we’re hopeful that
“To Serve the People of God” offers a contemporary
theology, a priesthood that can foster a new
conversation regarding the future of ministry
and a priesthood in our beloved Church. Thank you very much. [applause]>>ASSOCIATE DEAN JACQUELINE
REGAN: Thank you, Tom. Our decision to focus on
a contemporary theology of priesthood and the formation
of ordained ministers, emerged from our own
work at Boston College at the School of
Theology and Ministry and the Archdiocese of Boston. This is what we know and do. And as mentioned, the process
and composition of the group itself, lay women and
men, diocesan and Jesuit priests, theologians
and pastoral ministers, embodied in a very powerful
way the model of collaboration and the way of proceeding
that we promote at BC and at the
STM, and that we propose for other
programs of formation. Indeed, we hope this becomes
an even more common way of proceeding for our Church. We realize, as Tom
mentioned, that many people might be disappointed
that this new conversation on ordained priesthood
doesn’t take up the issue of the ordination
of women and married men. I am no stranger to
this disappointment. I want to add, as one of
the five women in the group, that in each of
our conversations over the two-year period,
the voices of women, the reality of the growing
number of Catholics who have either disengaged
or count themselves among the “dones,” and the
sentiments of those who are losing any real hope
that change will come, were very much with
us as we discerned what we could offer the Church
on contemporary priesthood. In my presentation, I will
focus on Parts 1 and 2 of our paper, the theological
underpinnings of “Ministry in the Life of the
Church,” and “The Profile of a Well-Formed Priest.” The first part of the text
“To Serve the People of God” provides the theological
context for ministry, locating all of the
Church’s ministries as a reflection of God’s
life with us as Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity, far
from some abstract principle, provides a relational framework
for the life of faith, and in a particular way, for the
lives of ministers and priests. Ministry is
profoundly relational because it is rooted in the
Triune love and grace of God, who has reached into human
history to be one with us. This is a God who redeems
us in Jesus Christ and who continues to
draw us into deeper communion with God’s own
self and with one another through the ongoing and
ever-present activity of the Holy Spirit. This Trinitarian starting
point for ministry, rather than an historical or
institutional starting point, lends sharper focus to the way
in which we, as God’s Pilgrim People, as baptized
disciples of Jesus Christ, discern, respond to, and embody
the life-giving Spirit of God. Our Catholic faith provides a
rich spiritual, social justice, intellectual, and
liturgical tradition which supports discernment
of our place in the world. For many of us, this
discernment takes shape and is given meaning through
engagement with the one mission of the Church. Through baptism, we are
all conformed to Christ and called to
participate in the life and communion of the
Church and its ministries, to live and proclaim the Gospel,
to serve those most in need, to engage with,
not withdraw from, the cultures and communities
of which we are a part, and in all of this,
to be a sacrament, an instrument of God’s
love in and for the world. It is from baptism
and discipleship that we begin to
look at ministry. Although all people are called
by baptism to be disciples, to be Christ’s body in the
world through the Spirit-filled mission of the Church,
not all men and women are called to be or
want to be ministers who provide leadership
for enacting the mission. And this ministry, which is
broader than ordained ministry and narrower than discipleship,
is always for service. We state that ministers
are disciples first and remain disciples even
as they engage in ministry. This is an important point for
both lay and ordained ministers in the Church. Clerical culture develops
when any subset of ministers view themselves or
assent to others’ perception of themselves
as spiritual elites and somehow special to God. What is unique to ministers is
the relationship to the Church. Ministry repositions
a person for service in realizing the
Church’s ministry, and all ministers are called to
deeper and continual conversion as part of their
own discipleship. Sister Veronica
Openibo, an STM alumna who spoke at the Synod of
Bishops last month in Rome, addressed the Pope and
bishops in these words: “It worries me
when I see in Rome an elsewhere, the youngest
seminarians being treated as though they are more
special than everyone else, thus encouraging them to
assume, from the beginning of their training, exalted
ideas about their status.” Although Sister Veronica made
a statement about candidates for ordination,
the same admonition applies to all ministers
and all people preparing for ministry in the Church. Having laid the
foundation of the theology of the Trinity and
its relationship to ministry as it applies
to all the baptized, now let’s turn to what’s
particular to priesthood. We’ll continue to use the
relational model that we just outlined so that we’re not
talking only about functions and what priests
can do in isolation from the community of faith. In fact, from the outset,
a priority of the seminar was to develop greater clarity
around the relationship between the
ministerial priesthood and the priesthood
of the baptized. The first point
is that ordination to ministerial priesthood
emerges from and builds on the Sacraments of Initiation. It isn’t a ritual that magically
and mechanically turns a priest into something he is not and
sets him above other Catholics. It builds on the
special relationship and the special character
of baptism and confirmation, and also on the humanity,
faith, and capacity for service that seminary formation seeks
to cultivate and enhance. Sister Katarina Schuth
writes in her 2016 book, Seminary Formation, that leaders
are not born of ordination. So the charisms,
human qualities, and perhaps above all,
capacity for relationships should be manifest
in priest candidates before they are ordained. Ordination can no
longer be regarded as the conferral
of ecclesial power that lacks accountability
and is marked by insularity. Through ordination and
the grace of Spirit, the Church appoints priests for
service to the People of God. As stated in our document,
the Sacrament of Orders conforms and reconfigures
the priest relationship to Christ, to the Church,
and to all of the baptized, so that he acts in the
person of Christ the Head. And as the leadership
roundtable stated clearly in a report published last month
in response to the twin crises of abuse and leadership
failures in the Church, this leadership must be
transparent, accountable, competent, just, and
co-responsible with the laity so that it models the clergy
and lay collaboration that is the future of our Church. From the documents of
Vatican II and from the work of our colleague,
Father John Baldovin, we identified five central
aspects of priestly ministry which are foundations of their
ministry in relationship to God and the community of faith. These are the
priest as preacher, as leader of worship and
prayer, as collaborative leader, public representative,
and practitioner of pastoral charity. First, the priest as preacher. Although a 2018 Pew
survey on why Americans go to religious services
reports that Catholics are significantly less likely
than other churchgoers, Christian churchgoers, to
say that the sermons are what keeps them coming back– 71% to 36%–
preaching the Gospel is at the heart of
priestly ministry. Most of us would be
able to identify people who have left a
parish or the Church itself because of
poor preaching. Anyone ordained to
presbyteral ministry must have the capacity
and communication skills to preach the Gospel
with faith, courage, creativity, knowledge of the Scriptures
and theology, engagement with people, and the
complexities of the world. As stated in March 6th
US Catholic article on best practices
of worship, quote, “Homilies must connect
with people in the pews. They have to be relevant
to people’s real time circumstances, even as they may
deeply challenge them and mess with the status quo. For many people, this
is the one and only Christ-inspired message people
hear all week,” close quote. Second, priest as leader
of worship and prayer. The Pew study also mentioned
that the primary reason people across all faith
traditions attend religious services is their
desire to grow closer to God. This highlights the
need for priests to be confident as leaders
of prayer and worship at the Eucharist and in
other sacramental liturgies. Last August I
appreciated the way the parish priest
of St. Ignatius, here in Chestnut Hill, served
as both people and leaders of prayer at Sunday
Eucharist when new and egregious disclosures
appeared in the press detailing the extent of the
sexual abuse crisis and the failure of
bishops to respond. As horrible as the news
was, and confounding the cynicism of
our wider society, Catholics continued to go
to church in large numbers. We needed leaders of prayer
who could name the sadness and anger without getting
stuck in it, presiders who could lift the assembly
in prayer to our merciful God. Third, the priest as
collaborative leader. When Sister Katarina
Schuth visited with us in November of 2016,
as Tom mentioned, we were beginning
our work together, and she presented
highlights from her research on her recently published
book, Seminary Formation. Sister Katarina reported
that while there has been a significant reduction
in the pedestalizing of priests because of the sex abuse
crisis, priests ordained in the first decade
of the 21st century have moved away from the servant
leader model of priesthood that was common among priests in the
post-Vatican II era, priests who inspired and empowered many
of us to serve in the Church. She also reported
that younger priests tend to resist managerial
responsibilities, which they don’t see as a function
of spiritual leadership, nor as an opportunity
to draw out the gifts and talents of
members of their communities. As a result, relationship with
veteran pastoral ministers, most of whom are women, are
often marked by tension. Finally, Sister Katarina
spoke to the reality we know well at the STM. For many years in the
aftermath of Vatican II, most seminaries had lay and
ordination track students studying together as
a way of preparing both groups for collaboration
in the ministries of the Church. This is the model we remain
committed to at the STM. However, there are very few
seminaries and religious order houses of formation that
still follow this model, in large part as a result
of the episcopal visitation of seminaries, which started
in 2005 and ended in 2008. These trends are particularly
troubling in view of the importance
of collaboration for effective ministry in
the Church on every level, from synods of bishops to
diocesan and university boards, to parish councils. Parishes and parish clusters
are increasingly complex multicultural
organizations that depend upon a variety of
ministers to serve the needs of the community. Collaboration and lay
ecclesial ministry, more than just a stopgap
for the priest shortage, better reflects the
Trinitarian model, the Trinitarian
framework of relationship within which we locate the
renewal of the priesthood. Therefore, on both a
spiritual and practical level, priests are not meant
to be lone rangers, and lay ministers are not meant
to be Santa’s little helpers. In order to foster communion,
priests need to not only act collaboratively, but to
think collaboratively, to know what their role
is and what it isn’t. This involves more
than delegation. It’s a matter of identifying
the gifts of the community and calling upon members of the
parish, staff, or parishioners to lead in areas where they can. According to a 2015 report
from the Center for the Applied Research in the Apostolate,
better known as CARA, there are 37,000
priests in the U.S. and 39,000 lay ecclesial
ministers working in parishes. 80% of these ecclesial
ministers are women. This does not include
the number of lay women who are teachers and
theologians, high school and college campus ministers,
and hospital chaplains. In light of this
reality, we want to underscore the
importance of mutuality in ministerial relationships,
and that a well-formed priest must be able to work well
and equitably with women. This cannot happen when
mutual respect and learning is lacking, when women aren’t
looked at or spoken to, when they’re not acknowledged,
heard, or appreciated, when their intelligence
and opinions aren’t taken seriously, when they’re
not included at every level of decision making, when they’re
not present in sanctuary, mentioned in homilies, or
viewed as partners in ministry. Women, like priests,
should not be pedestalized for any type of
particular genius, but should be
valued, rather than viewed as a threat, for all
that they offer the Church. Fourth, the priest as
public representative. The priest must be
able to represent the Church to the People of God
and also to the wider public. Where do we see priests
representing the Church publicly? Do we see them among
those most in need, with the weak of
the world, to quote First Corinthians, or only with
those whose lives are secure? Fifth and finally,
priest as practitioner of pastoral charity. Do the demands of priesthood
and current structures prevent the priest
from witnessing to the joy of the Gospel, from
being available to people, let alone find time
for prayer, retreats, and ongoing formation? This portrait of the priesthood
is not something new. What we present in
this essay is rooted in the documents of Vatican
II and has developed in Church teaching since then. But it needs to be
translated into action. A step towards this is the way
in which priests are educated and formed for ordination. And so now I’ll turn
it over to Richard, who will summarize Part
3 of the document that speaks specifically to
programs of formation. [applause]>>DR. GROOME: Wonderful. Well done.>>REV. RICHARD LENNAN: At the
very beginning of our text, we have a quote
from Pope Francis. It’s this. “The Church and the world
need mature and well-balanced priests, fearless and generous
pastors capable of closeness, listening, and mercy.” The question, of course, is
where do we get such priests? We might wait for them
to drop from the sky or hope they turn
up on the next bus. But more likely, if we
are to have those priests, we will have them because of
the way that they’re formed. And it’s formation on which
I would like to concentrate in my part of the presentation. And formation is really the
final section of our text. It’s important to understand
that even the word formation is a recent word. It’s more a post-Vatican II word
than even a Vatican II word. Prior to our use of
this word, the only way to describe preparation for
priesthood was training. And the implication
of the word training was that it was a set of
skills that was being imprinted on a blank page. The goal of seminary
formation, seminary training certainly always was to
produce holy priests. But that outcome
was associated most with discipline and with
certain styles of education. What Vatican II does for the
first time in the Church’s history is to produce a
document on the preparation for priesthood. Prior to that, the dominant
model of seminary formation had still been
that which emerged from the Council of Trent. And if you look at
Trent on seminaries, it says quite
explicitly that the goal is to take young
men before they’ve had a chance to be
corrupted by the world and then to form them
in the style of priests that Trent has in mind. And that was often
facilitated, of course, by building seminaries
in remote locations so that they could be cut off
from all sorts of corrupting influences. It’s interesting to reflect that
until the document on formation that Tom referenced,
Pastores dabo vobis, which came out of the Synod
of Formation in 1990 and was published by
John Paul II in 1992, there’d been no mention in
documents about preparation for priesthood of
the human person. The human person, prior
to Pastores dabo vobis, was a subset of
spiritual formation. That was true even
for Vatican II. What you have in
Pastores dabo vobis, and what has become the norm
for all styles of formation, both for ordained
ministry but also for lay ecclesial
ministry, is what’s usually referred to as the
four pillars of formation– human, spiritual,
intellectual, and pastoral. In other words, the
minister you want to form has to be able to combine
those four qualities. There has to be a human being. That may sound like a
statement of the obvious, and yet it’s that
most important thing that’s often been neglected. Often our history
of formation has been that the emphasis has
been on eliminating the human and replacing the
human with the priest. The priest we want has
to be a human being, and so Pastores dabo
vobis says unequivocally that human formation is the
foundation of all formation. In our text we identify
five areas of formation. And what I’d like to
do for my presentation is simply go through what we say
about each of those five areas. First one is about vocation,
namely, who’s the product? Who’s the raw
material, if you like, for the process of formation? In times of declining
numbers, the concern can be simply to get
as many as possible. It’s interesting. Pope Pius XII–
well, Pope Pius XI– wrote a document on priesthood
decrying the decline in numbers and worrying about how desperate
the numbers had become in 1935. Pius XII echoed that
same principle in 1950, and then Vatican II takes it
up, quoting Pius XI message from 1935. Probably for most
of us, looking back at what the situation
looked like in 1935, it was, as Monty Python
would say, luxury. The danger, when the focus
is on the decline in numbers, is that the more you
get, the better it is. So let me quote
Pope Francis talking about that in
addressing bishops, particularly those who are
not careful about who they admit to certain seminaries. So this is Francis. “Please!!!”– and it’s printed
with a few exclamation marks– “We must consider the good
of the People of God.” Francis goes on to talk
about, and we elaborate on in our text, that
the stress has to be on a capacity for self-giving. And that’s also how
Vatican II describes it in Optatam totius, the
document on formation, that this capacity
for self-giving is the basis for
priestly holiness, and that it’s not a choice
between a commitment to prayer and a commitment to service. So Francis speaks of
the fact that there is no disembodied perfection. In other words, it’s
the human being who’s going to be the holy priest. And that means, as
Jackie emphasized, a capacity for relationship,
for relationship with women and men. Underpinning that is the
fundamental Christian insight that grace is incarnational. Karl Rahner says
that “God operates with an incarnational logic. God doesn’t operate with
disembodied people.” Francis speaks of
the defining feature of the saints as a capacity
to be happy and hopeful. Often we’ve associated holiness
with being as separated from life as possible. I think Francis is putting
the opposite emphasis, and that, then, has
implications for who is admitted to seminaries. What’s the raw material? Second point about formation has
to do with the seminary itself, that there needs to be a balance
between an openness to growth– in other words, a recognition
that entry into the seminary isn’t the same thing as
being ready for ordination– a balance between that
openness and the fact that those who enter
seminaries are not tabula rasa. In other words, that they’re
not blank sheets on which everything needs to be written. So the challenge
for seminaries is, how do you stimulate
that openness to growth– be it in education,
theological studies, in personal development,
in pastoral formation– but also encourage students
in the use of the gifts that they have? And getting those
two things in balance for good of the serving
the People of God is the task of
seminary education. Pastores dabo vobis,
in article number 77, says that effective ministry is
connected to personal maturity, and that the personality
of the priesthood is to be a bridge,
not an obstacle, for people to meet Christ. It’s really the same principle
about the human being being the raw
material of formation. And that means that one of
the priorities of formation has to be to addressing
issues of sexuality, as sexuality is part of how
we relate to one another. We know that the crisis the
Church has lived through for the last few decades
has been about sexuality. And so it makes more
urgent finding ways to address that,
that are healthy, that are aligned to
being fully human, and to understanding holiness
as also being fully human. One of the things we
emphasize in our text is the need for both men and
women to work in formation. Formation has usually been
the province of priests forming people to be priests. But if priests are
to serve the Church, then their formation
is best done when it echoes what the
Church actually looks like, and the Church is a
combination of men and women. So to have men and women
serving in formation increases the chances that the
priest who emerges as the product of that formation
process is more fully human, as well as having a deeper
capacity for service and holiness. One other topic that aligns
with that echoes something that Jackie also
mentioned, is that who teaches people who are
preparing for priesthood, and who do they study with? Seminaries traditionally
have been about candidates for priesthood, full stop. And while at different
times since the Council, we’ve moved more in the
direction of candidates for priesthood studying
with our people, pursuing theology and also
pursuing ministerial life, the pendulum in
the last 25 years has swung back in the
opposite direction so that lay formational programs
and priestly formational programs have become totally
separate and divided entities. So a challenge is, how do
we overcome that division? The third category of
formation that we address is the issue of
ongoing formation. This is something that emerges
both out of Optatam totius and then even more strongly
out of Pastores dabo vobis. In multiple spheres
of life today, we’ve become accustomed to talk
about lifelong learning, that graduation is not
the end of learning; it’s the beginning of a
different phase of learning. Traditionally seminaries
were about ending of learning, about
filling the tank and sending you out
with that full tank. One of the texts we read
or as part of our study spoke of an intergenerational
reluctance of priests to undertake ongoing formation. And some of that is
ascribable to reaction against seminary training and
what that has looked like. But to be a pastoral associate
in the Archdiocese of Boston, you actually have
to be committed to ongoing forms of formation. That is not something
that’s required of priests, and in most places,
any form of supervision has yet to become the norm. Part of the challenge
of ongoing formation is for bishops, priests, and
for the whole community of faith to support it. Part of that, as I said,
the resistance to it is the legacy of
seminary training. It’s also about contemporary
busyness and the fact that ongoing formation
will make priests less available at
certain times, and that means there has to be
a generous response from the whole community
of faith to support that. So if priests are
regarded as workhorses who are supposed to
be there all the time, there’s not going to
be an environment that encourages them to
undertake ongoing formation. Point number four is
about collaboration. Collaboration is
more than a necessity for the contemporary
ministerial environment. It’s a way to
reflect the Church. If we are a community
of the baptized, if we are a community of
priests who are ordained and the priesthood
of the baptized, then priests of all of those
shades working together is necessary for
the full realization of the life of the Church. Collaboration is challenging. It brings us into contact
with the only people we can work with, namely
people who are not me. And that means they have
different attitudes, different approaches, and often
that brings us into conflict. So learning how to
deal with conflict, learning how to not make my
priorities the only priorities, is all part of collaboration. And again, it reinforces the
importance of human formation. Collaboration also
involves learning to live with cultural
diversity, which is becoming more
and more a feature of the life of our Church. The fifth point, the final
one, is about openness to the future. Priesthood has a history because
it hasn’t always been the same. And the expectation, then,
is that its future will also involve difference,
difference that none of us can foresee or predict
with any certainty. And that means that what becomes
most important is discernment. What are appropriate changes
in the life of priesthood? What are appropriate
forms of formation for the needs of our present? We quote Pope Francis
towards the end of our document of the need
to recognize and to overcome the challenge of complacency. And complacency means trying
to get by the way we’ve always done things, trying to
do business as usual long after the usual has
become impossible. And that finally, then,
reinforces the quality that we name towards the end of
our document, and that’s hope. Hope is what allows you to keep
dealing with the challenges that you face
knowing that you’re grounded in something bigger
than your own capacities. Hope allows us to accept
the good-enough priest rather than the expectation
of the perfect priest. At the end of the document,
or just towards the end, we quote this section from
Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, his document on hope. “Only the great
certitude of hope, that my own life and history in
general, despite all failures, are held firm by the
indestructible power of love, and that this gives them
their meaning and importance. Only this kind of hope can
then give us the courage to act and persevere.” Our text is a text of hope. It’s grounded in the
action of God in our world. It’s grounded in
the ongoing life of the Spirit in our Church. And it’s grounded in
recognition of the need to face questions
that must be faced if we are to be people of
faith, of hope, and of love. Thank you. [applause]>>PARTICIPANT: I
have one question. As I read, and as you presented
the five aspects of ministry, an emphasis that
I didn’t see there was mission to the
broader community, to the world in general, and
social justice in particular. So that I found
somewhat of a lack and I’m wondering
if you even thought of integrating the concept of
Missio Dei into those things to make that more real.>>MS. REGAN: I
think in the way I outlined the five aspects
of priestly ministry, those were the facets
that really define a part of priestly
ministry, the Missio Dei, and the participation
and mission of the Church belongs to all of us. And so it’s the body of the
Church, the Body of Christ, that is acting and
enacting the mission to be Christ in the
world and and to serve the promotion of justice.>>FR. LENNAN: I think you’re right. I mean, we didn’t
deal with that. Part of the reason
why was that we chose to focus on those things
that traditionally have been either the points of
emphasis about priesthood, so we’ve been trying
to broaden those. One way, if we ever write
a longer text than this, would be to link
it to preaching, that preaching is
meant to be not just about spiritual growth, but how
you live your life in the world so that those two things
are absolutely connected, that each of our five
aspects can extend into how the priest serves
the mission of the Church in the world, and how
it’s actually embodied in the priest’s own life. So that is a lacuna in the
present state of our text. But as I said, I
think it’s something that, if you’re going to write
a larger thing about priesthood, then absolutely you
need to do this.>>DR. GROOME: I agree
with the critique as well, that we
use the language of pastoral charity, which is
the language of Vatican II. But it’s hardly enough. We should have, I
think, used– and will, whatever the next
step might be– use the language of justice,
compassion, outreach into the world. But I think we implied it,
or we intended it, at least, with the Vatican II language
of pastoral charity. You had a question? [inaudible] Maybe let the woman. Maybe we have a woman
ask a question now.>>PARTICIPANT: Oh, I’m sorry. Sure.>>PARTICIPANT: Mine also has
to do with the five aspects. I think it was St.
Francis who said that one should preach
the Gospel always, and when necessary use words. And when I saw
your five aspects, I was rather disappointed to
see that preaching was primary. And all the way down,
five, and the last one was pastoral charity. And I was wondering if that
was an unbalanced priority.>>FR. LENNAN: Well, I
can take that one. It reflects the
emphasis of Vatican II. So Vatican II– those in
my class this morning, I apologize, you’re
going to hear this again. Vatican II describes preaching
as the primum officium the first task of the priest. Now to understand that,
you have to understand it against its background, which
is the neglect of preaching. And you also have
to understand it against Vatican II’s retrieval
of the life of Scripture for the Christian community,
which had been underplayed significantly for Catholics. So there is a historical
context for thinking about the importance
of preaching. It is also, though, important
to emphasize that preaching is connected to all of
those other aspects, so to see those five
aspects as integrated rather than simply five things
that you get to choose from, that effective
preaching ultimately leads to pastoral
charity, just as seeking to live a life of
pastoral charity brings you back to the
need to be nurtured by the Word of God within
the worshipping community, and so on, and your
own life of prayer. So it’s not that
because one is five, it’s four times less
important, it’s actually starting with a model
that puts the Word of God at the heart of the
Christian community, and everything else
radiates out from that.>>DR. GROOME: If I could
just make a quick comment to follow on from
that, I think one of my favorite parts
of the document is toward the end,
when we call out the five characteristics, the
five charisms that we think are required, are sine qua non
for the vocation of priesthood. And just very
briefly, a capacity to preach well, an ability
to prayerfully lead the Christian community in
a shared worship of God, the presiding charism, the gift
of collaborative leadership, the commitment to an exemplary
life, the fourth one. And then a commitment to
pastoral charity, which would include compassion and justice. And I think the benefit for
me coming out of the document, is that after all of our reading
and conversation and back and forth and editing
and all the rest of it, we basically came down
to those five charisms, that that’s what
people need if they want to aspire to priesthood. And there’s no
other requirements that have theological
warrant at this point in time other than those five charisms. So if somebody has those
charisms, then to me at least, they are qualified to
aspire to priesthood.>>PARTICIPANT: Thank you. I think we thought it
was a great presentation. The content, the format,
the things you emphasized, with I guess the
parenthetical comment that we would like to
see the case for women being ordained and
becoming priests, not to keep kicking the
can down the road, I guess. But that’s probably
a long way off. Having said that–and I was
just thinking of those five charisms, you call them. It seems to me they’re so– to be able to do
those things, again, how many human beings
are capable of doing them at a high enough level? And one of the most encouraging
things that you spoke about that I think is a huge,
not just mind shift, but kind of heart
shift and soul shift, is you used the word
“servant leader,” and a couple of times
you used the word “collaborative leader.” To be that kind of person
requires such an enormous shift from the current
hierarchical model of specialness of clerical. I think that’s at the
heart of the issue. I can remember speaking
to a priest who worked for the Archbishop O’Malley. This was about 10 years ago. And he got his Ph.D. in
organizational development and human development. It just seems that to
get– the big question is how do you get from where
we are today to that place, and in the seminaries and in
the Archdiocese, to get the mind and heart shift to realize
how much of a stretch this is going to be, how
different this is going to be to have priests who
truly understand and believe what it means to
be a servant leader and a collaborative leader. How can that happen?>>FR. LENNAN: You go.>>MS. REGAN: Well,
I think it’s– as we were saying, it
should be part of formation, part of their ongoing learning. The leadership roundtable that
I referenced has a very detailed plan and and suggestions
for how priests can become more collaborative, more in
line with the servant leader model, which is, I think, a
model that is really encouraged in schools of
business management, that most of what is considered
best practices in business management now and in
the corporate world is what we would consider
servant leadership, which I think the Church was really
providing some leadership in in the early years after Vatican
II in terms of really taking the lead and forming
people in that. So I think it is possible. I think priests can be formed. I think they can learn. But it is going to take a
very intentional effort.>>FR. LENNAN: It’s also recognizing
that conversion for all of us– and this is important to
keep coming back to this– for all of us is an ongoing
reality, is an ongoing need. That’s why we have
Lent in the end, and that our expectation of
perfection is so damaging. You know, it’s like
when religious orders are electing new leaders
and say who do you want? And the answer is Jesus
on one of his better days. But Jesus must have had
the bad day as well. So it’s how do we learn to
provide an environment that encourages patience
with each other while we all recognize that
we all need to be converted in an ongoing way? Because otherwise
the expectation just becomes cruel that
the priest is somehow meant to be perfect.>>DR. GROOME: In response
here, one of the practical suggestions we make– and Jackie used this
in her introduction– is that even the model
that we are following here at Boston College, where you’ve
got laypeople and seminarians, 100 or so seminarians, about
300 or whatever laypeople studying for ecclesial ministry
all in the same classroom together. I had an experience
about two or three years ago now of a grandmother
who was in one of my classes who bonded with a young
Jesuit scholastic. And when I would put
them into groups of two to chat with their neighbor,
that these two would always get together. I would say that
that grandmother had more influence on his
formation for priesthood because she had grandchildren,
some of whom go to church, some of whom don’t, some of
whom are married, some of whom are living with their boyfriend
or girlfriend, some of whom are straight, some of whom are
gay, and she loves them all. And she prepared that
young man, in many ways, for priesthood in
a way that I think was probably most
significant to his life. That model of having laypeople
and seminarians studying together is a a
no-brainer, especially in a location like this. And even in
situations where there isn’t a great school of theology
or department of theology nearby, I think that admitting
laypeople to our seminaries, and then insisting
on lay faculty, men, women, laypeople as
faculty in our seminaries, is simply imperative
at this point in time. But again, Jackie
mentioned that visitation of 2000, that began
in 2005, in many ways set us back because
the seminaries were beginning to hire women
and beginning to hire lay people on their faculty. And they were all banned and
barred after that visitation. So in a sense, we have
to reclaim that impetus and especially look
to how we’re doing seminary education
in the context of it, or else our future will be
just the same as our past.>>PARTICIPANT: I
actually have a question that follows that aspect on
seminary formation, which is according to the
Catholic Bishops Conference in the United States. Seminary philosophy
and theology training is structured exclusively around
promoting the thought of one finger, St. Thomas Aquinas. This has been the case, by
and large, since the 1890s. How do you perceive
this approach to diocesan seminary
instruction changing in accordance with the
desires of the document?>>FR. LENNAN: Well, if you
look at Vatican II when it talks about
formation, it certainly mentions Thomas, but by
no means in the same way that Thomas had been used in
the centuries before that. So Thomistic philosophy
is part of our heritage. We live in a far more
pluralistic theological and philosophical environment. So to not be aware of
that and to not take that into account in our
formation would actually separate students for priesthood
from the world and the Church that they’re actually part of. So it’s not Thomas or no Thomas. It’s Thomas in relationship
to this whole extraordinary variety that is
characteristic of our time. And that, too, is where
discernment is so necessary. How do we use– this is Vatican II– recovering
the bigger tradition? How do we use the whole richness
of Christian heritage and not simply one aspect of it?>>PARTICIPANT: I would
like to underscore– I would like to underscore
what was said both in the talk and in this article that
seminary formation take place within the university setting. And I base that on
the fact that I’m a proud Golden Eagle graduate
of the School of Nursing here. And when I studied
here in the sixties, we looked at the
profession of nursing and felt that it
would be better served in the collegiate
setting with a broader emphasis on the field of study. So I really think
that will be how we will get from here to
there, or a big part of it. So I thank you very much for
including that in the article.>>FR. LENNAN: Thank you.>>PARTICIPANT: I think
it’s a great thing. And I remember 25 years ago,
I did talk about this issue that you raised today here. As a foreigner person
who came to this country to work with the
immigrants or refugees, and have friends who are priests
from different countries who are left out. I mean, I heard that you
invite a few people to come, but I didn’t hear nobody who’s
a foreigner who is a priest here in this country in this nation.>>FR. LENNAN: Excuse me. Sorry.>>PARTICIPANT: Well,
I’m sorry, you are. That’s true. Tom, too. Well–>>DR. GROOME: Saint
Patrick’s Day is [inaudible]..>>PARTICIPANT: I guess my point
is the minority, minority. That’s minority. Because one thing I’ve felt
since I came to this country, I felt out of the
culture of being Catholic in this country as
minority, as a Black person. And all these 25 years, I
have so many friends, priests, who are gone because sexual
abuse and other issues, racism and so forth. Even today there are
priests who are there who are unhappy, alone, lonely. And this young lady who said,
how do you live by yourself? What do you do, and so forth? And I told her,
“I’m not by myself because I have so
many people around me. The only time I’m by myself
is when I’m in my bed alone.” Praise the Lord. But I like to hear some of that,
how the aspect of foreigners, I mean, the minorities,
especially now talk a lot of Africans
come to America, Brazilians and so forth. And I have know people have get
into trouble already and run away. In your study, had you talk
about these, the influence of culture and so forth? Thank you.>>MS. REGAN: Yes, we did. We spent the better part
of the first four months really listening to different
guests that we had come in, reading through documents. We had a document on the reality
of international priests, multicultural parishes. So I think it was
really a matter of we have so many
things that we really could do within priesthood,
and really trying to narrow it down.>>FR. LENNAN: And we do state very
clearly at the beginning that it’s one of the features
of the contemporary atmosphere that’s affecting priesthood. So we didn’t propose
solution to it, but we did recognize
that this question about the Internationality
and the need to be sensitive to an
intercultural response, and so on, is one issue
that’s going to shape the future of the Church. So it’s definitely there.>>: DR. JANE REGAN: One
last question, please.>>PARTICIPANT: Mine goes mainly
to the third presentation. A few weeks ago, in
a parish context, we were speaking about what is
happening around our priests. And the conclusion we ended
with was we need holy priests. With that in mind,
my question is– and it goes to the
third presentation, which was presented
within the context of the supernatural existential. Now with that in
mind, what can one suggest to parishioners
to do in their parishes for their priests?>>FR. LENNAN: Thank you.>>DR. GROOME: Thank you,
Professor [inaudible],, one of our senior
professors, retired. And lovely to see you. I think the priest has
to be totally located in the community. To be apart from
it, to be over it, to be under it, to be ahead of
it, to be behind it, all work. I think of that stranger
on the Road to Emmaus– Luke 24– who joins a company
and walks along with them. Now he’s the Risen
Christ, but he never tells them what to see. Instead he says, “What
are you talking about?” Enters into their
life, asks them their question, “What’s
going on in your life? What are you talking about?” And they said,
“What do you mean, what are we talking about?” “All the things that happened in
Jerusalem these past few days.” And he says, “What things?” Now let’s agree. Nobody knew better than he
what happened in Jerusalem these past few days. And yet he wants
them to tell him, so that joining their company,
walking along with them, eliciting their story, hearing
their shattered vision, “We were hoping he was the one
who would set Israel free,” and then turning and
sharing the Word of God, beginning with Moses
and all the prophets. He interprets for them
every passage of Scripture that referred to
himself as the Messiah to suffer so as to
enter into his glory. And yet doesn’t tell
them, but spends the time with them, joins
them at the table, and at the breaking
of the bread, which is the bread of
Eucharist, but it’s also the Bread of Presence,
the Bread of Friendship, the Bread of Life, the
Bread of Companionship. That’s when they come
to see for themselves, and then turn around and go
back and rejoin the faith community in Jerusalem. That’s the model I
think of priesthood that has to be operative, that
accompaniment, that drawing out of people’s lives,
that listening to them, indeed, sharing
God’s Word, breaking it open for their lives,
but then empowering them to see for
themselves, and then to take agency for their
faith, and to return and rejoin the faith community.>>DR. REGAN: Thank
you very much. It’s been an honor being
part of the conversation as it continues. Thank you. Thank you. [applause] [music playing]

One thought on “The Ordained Priesthood – Opening a New Conversation

  1. Chaudhry Rajinder Nijjhar Jatt Post author

    This man is ordained by men for he had studied the Scriptures and his praises lie with such academics. Whilst the Royal Priests are ordained by the grace of our Supernatural Father for his fitness to sing the praises of Elohim, Allah, Parbrahm, etc. To get rid of these hireling Dog-Collared Priests, Jesus died on the Cross and they fulfil Matt 12v43-45 making the situation worse than before the arrival of Jesus. Much more in my Videos.


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