Fr John Zuhlsdorf blogs – At Crisis, there is a piece about the crisis in the Catholic priesthood.
No, this was not penned by a bishop. Nor by a priest. Nor even by a seminarian. by Constance T. Hull wrote it, wife, mother, homeschooler who has some philosophy and theology. She has written for several publications.
She nails this. My emphases:
For decades, priests have been formed in a manner that has reduced them to glorified social workers, social justice warriors, administrators, and fundraisers, and it shows. This same formation is what has led many priests and bishops to ignore health and safety protocols and laws for public demonstrations while at the same time cutting off the faithful from the Sacraments and the public celebration of the Mass— the “source and summit of the Christian life”—during the holiest season of the year. These priests have inverted the goods of this world and put them over and above spiritual goods. They have replaced the City of God with the City of Man.
What these well-meaning priests and bishops have failed to see in their desire to attend demonstrations is that they are actually aiding in the growing alienation of the Church from public life. They have accepted that the Mass and the Sacraments are non-essential, but that protests and demonstrations are worth defying social distancing requirements during this pandemic.
The crisis facing the priesthood is not a matter of human sexuality, as so many want to argue. This is not about priestly celibacy and pent-up sexual frustration. The clergy sex abuse scandal is a symptom of a much deeper problem. Clericalism is also only a symptom of a much deeper problem. The real issue is the priesthood has become separated from its Eucharistic identity and its calling to be crucified with Christ for the salvation of souls.
“A long long time ago”, February, PRE-COVID-1984 – remember before Coronavirus? – Card. Sarah and Pope Benedict issued a book about the crisis in the priesthood. Sarah and Benedict both wrote about the flawed formation priests are getting.
And it’s not just formation. It is also, has been for a while but now in an accelerating fashion, the trampling of priests from within the Church herself, and not just from without.
What to do?
FATHERS. LEARN THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS AND CELEBRATE IT.
A compelling reason to learn it, Fathers, is because, clerical and lay alike, we are our rites. Who is the Roman Catholic priest if he doesn’t know his own Rite? Who is he? If you don’t know your Traditional Roman Rite, then you don’t know the Roman Rite.
You don’t know who you are.
Fathers, you don’t need permission to learn the TLM. You don’t need permission or approval to learn it and to say it.
Time and again, priests have told me that learning the TLM changed them profoundly. They began to grasp aspects of their priesthood which they hadn’t gleaned before. In turn, that produces a knock on effect in other aspects of their work, in particular how they celebrate the Novus Ordo. Congregations note the differences. The knock on effect continues to knock.
For some of you priests out there, learning the TLM will be difficult. Things that are worth pursuing are usually hard.
One thing that will be hard to overcome is the lack of Latin.
Ohhhh how the Enemy our souls brilliantly maneuvered his agents when Latin was eradicated from schools and seminaries!
The Enemy doesn’t want you to learn the TLM. At all cost, the treasury door – nay rather, armory door! – must remain slammed and barred against you. The Enemy will not easily let you claim your armor and weapons. You must be denied your priestly patrimony! A thousand distractions will assail you. Doubts will pop up. The demonically oppressed, even your pastors or bishops and other clergy, will undermine you or persecute you or bully you into giving up.
This will happen to many of you. When it does, invoke your angels and Mary, Queen of the Clergy, to protect you.
You can do this. Latin isn’t a mystical Eldorado that only a few can attain. As my old mentor Fr. Foster, famous Latinist, used to quip facetiously but factually, “In ancient Rome even the dogs and prostitutes knew Latin.” Over the centuries, countless priests of room temperature IQ learned Latin for the Mass. They didn’t have to dissertate with the eloquence of Leo the Great. If St. John Vianney could do it, so can you. And most of you may wind up being good at it.
Remember: Latin is a language, not multivariable calculus.
No project which we undertake in the Church will succeed unless it flows from, is connected to, and returns to our sacred liturgical worship.
By the virtue of Religion, we have to order our acts rightly. This means pleasing worship of God. Benedict XVI’s gift to the Church in Summorum Pontificum, was precisely intended to bring about a healing and renewal of the whole Church through a renewal and healing of her worship, such that we can create a bulwark in the face of future tumult.
Fathers. You can do this. It will be hard. It has to be done.
One way to respond to what Card. Sarah and Benedict XVI wrote, and to respond to The Present Crisis in the Church, and to give something beautiful to God and his people is to…
… learn the Traditional Latin Mass.
Give it to yourselves.
When you give it to yourselves, you are really giving it to the whole Church. The knock on effect you will initiate will reap many good fruits.
The problems that were emerging more slowly before COVID-1984 are now manifesting with astonishing speed.
We don’t have a lot of time. Get to work!