Tuesday, 21 June 2016

As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying priests...

This is an ideal place from which to work 
for Justice and Peace.

I came across this below on the Liturgy Guy site and thought it worth sharing, as it has often been my own experience over the years. The sign of the cassock somehow indicates that you are hardly a Christian and any exhibition of things traditionally Catholic puts you "living in the past" - never mind that the "past" was the Church that nourished a thousand saints, many of whom seemed to have been able to combine the wearing of a cassock and  bit of Latin with defending the poor, founding hospitals and schools etc etc.

I recall some years ago when campaigning in the parish with parishioners to keep an asylum seeking family in the county looking for help from the powers that be in the Church and getting none. Our school children marched from the parish to the town centre with placards and banners and got us into the local media; I was threatened with being thrown out of the town hall (in cassock) for interrupting the a council meeting from the public gallery, when the case came under discussion(even the two  Catholic Labour councillors from the parish towed the party line). Sadly, (under Mr Blair's kindly government) the family were whisked away from their home in the parish in the dead of the night and eventually deported via a holding centre (back to the African country where their father had been murdered) even though we had got wind of it several times and though bombardment with phone calls and e-mails, they were three times taken off the plane. The parish set up a fund to put the children through school, once they had been sent back.

It sounds like a social justice issue, doesn't it? But it really couldn't have been, after all, the children sang Latin at Mass and Fr was wearing a biretta.

Father Kyle Doustou finds that the same attitude is still alive and well but good for him in making a hearty response.


This past week Sulpician Fr. Phillip J. Brown, rector of the Theological College, the national diocesan seminary of the Catholic University of America, thought it a good idea to grant an interview to the dissident media outlet the National Catholic Reporter. The topic? Is there a “Francis effect” noticeable to Fr. Brown among the current crop of seminarians, and if so, what does it look like?

In the article, Fr. Brown and the NCR present the all too common false narrative of the Catholic Left: namely, that those already ordained to the priesthood in recent years are not really interested in works of mercy and pastoral care, but rather only about traditionalism, and matters such as wearing the cassock and Communion on the tongue.

The following response is courtesy of Father Kyle Doustou, a priest of the Diocese of Portland, Maine. It is presented here with his permission.

A Young Priest Sets the Record Straight for the Catholic Left

The National Catholic Reporter article, written from an interview given by the out-going Rector of my former seminary, is very hurtful. The men who were formed in and ordained from Theological College over the past 10 years are some of the best and most pastoral men and priests that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Inventing a false dichotomy between a love for the Church’s traditions and a love for the people of God is a manipulative, ideological tool used to push forth one’s personal agenda.

I have known Father Brown for many years, and have a great deal of respect and admiration for him personally, but this public interview he gave with an openly dissenting “Catholic” publication warrants an alumnus response.

As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests that have passed through the halls of Theological College, allow me to say plainly to anyone who would agree with the tone and sentiment of this article that you have deliberately and painfully pigeon-holed men who love the Church and cast us to be pompous little monsters simply because we have a different theological/liturgical outlook than you.

You condescend towards us as if we were not thinking, opining, and sincere men.

You gossip about us, ensuring that we are “put in our places” and “taught a thing or two” by your confreres.

You confuse our strong convictions with arrogance and accuse us of being staunch when we are trying more than anything else to be faithful, helpful, and loving.

But let’s be quite honest…you don’t really know us because you never took the time to get to know us. You saw us when we were in the seminary chapel or over breakfast…but that’s about it.

Have you seen us at 2:00 AM in the hospital?

Have you seen us working late into the night on a funeral homily?

Have you seen us giving up our one day off a week to visit with a lonely elderly parishioner?

Have you seen us on our knees at night before the tabernacle weeping because we just buried a child earlier that day?

Have you seen us celebrate four Masses on a weekend, hear hours of confessions, and still show up to Sunday evening Youth Ministry?

Have you seen us wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because we simply ran out of time to do laundry?

Have you seen us muster a smile even when we’re exhausted, or miss Christmas with our families because we’re assigned 300 miles away, or forget to eat dinner because there’s another meeting to go to?

The answer is no. What you see are the cassocks and birettas and fiddleback chasubles and accuse us of being “out of touch.” Well the reality is, you are guilty of the very thing you accuse us of. You ignore our humanity, our struggle, our sincerity, and you fixate on external things to make your judgments.

As difficult as it is at times, I love being a priest with my whole heart. Not because it offers me an exalted status or any privileges, but because it offers me, and the people I serve, the means by which to attain salvation. I love the people I serve to death, and I would do anything within my means to help them. If you look at my cassock and presume otherwise, I can only feel sorry for you.

Myself and the other men who were indirectly insulted in this interview are the ones on the battlefield. As parish priests, we work hard, sacrifice hard, and try daily to live solely for God in Jesus Christ. Instead of insinuating that Theological College had to somehow put up with a decade or more of rigid, overly-conservative, and ideological seminarians, why not offer us a word of encouragement and perhaps even a prayer or two?


Fr Ray Blake said...

One of my parishioners has a great admiration for James Mawdsley, who was imprisoned in Burma, she was a little taken aback when I suggested she could attend his first Mass as a FSSP priest next month in Warrington.

Fr Simon Henry said...

Indeed, fr. If imprisonment in a Burmese prison isn't enough to burnish the social justice credentials when you are orthodox / traditionally minded, then the rest of us are on rather a sticky wicket!

David O'Neill said...

Here in Gateshead we are to be honoured with one of Fr Mawdesley's First Masses after ordination. With family in the area Deacon James was a regular visitor to our EF Masses at St Joseph's in Gateshead. I could well imagine him giving an almost identical response to that young American priest which 'dotted the i's & crossed the t's' in responding to the newspaper report.