Sunday, 24 June 2012

Do ye manfully

O love the Lord, all ye saints:
for the Lord will require truth,
and will repay them abundantly that act proudly.
Do ye manfully,
and let your heart be strengthened,
all ye that hope in the Lord

Ps 30:24-25
A few weeks back I attended the First Holy Communion of the daughter of a good friend on mine. I had never been in that parish before and I had never see the priest in action.  It was the feast of Corpus Christi and the priest gave a very hard hitting, very orthodox homily about how the Real Presence is scriptural and how those that don't believe in the Real Presence have got it terribly wrong.  I'm quite used to hard hitting preaching but this was in a league of its own.  I knew there were many non-Catholics in the congregation and I was beginning to cringe thinking how uncomfortable they must be feeling.

Something quite remarkable happened after the Mass.  One of the attendant non-Catholics went up to my friend and asked her to thank the priest for being so inclusive and welcoming.  I couldn't believe my ears, the sentiment was warm and the words were genuine.  Nor was he alone in feeling like that.

Then the Psalm I've quoted above came into my head.  It is all there.  Speak the Truth and be proud of it and the Lord will do the rest.  It is proper manful behaviour.  Are we so hung up on the sin of pride that we forget to be proud of Our Saviour?

There is a sub-text here about priests behaving like men (masculine men), and being proud of the Incarnate Word indwelling within them, whose representatives they are.  Am I criticising certain priests?  Well yes I am.  It is not big, it is not a clever thing to do, but it is born of deep frustration when I know how convincing they could be if they could all just man-up a bit in a Godly way.  I'm also praying like crazy for them and  if you felt so inclined, you could join my prayers for a genuine masculinisation of the priesthood.


Robert said...

My Pastor frequently emphasizes the scriptural basis for the Real Presence, and makes the point that "so-called Bible-based Christians" say they believe in Christ, but, at least on this point, do not Believe Him.

He also likes to point out, at weddings and funerals, that WE believe that the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ are really present under the appearance of the Bread and Wine, and that to receive communion when you do not share that belief, is to compromise your OWN faith. I like that he does that, because then the point is not that we Catholics are not excluding others from communion, but that they must exclude themselves because of what they do and do not believe, if they wish to be sincere and consistent.

As to Priestly manliness, I could not agree more, and I am seeing signs, and am hoping, that the newer priests coming are of a more masculine type. I do hope, as well, that with that manliness, they will also be gentlemen, of the traditional sort, and sincere about it, with true humility and without condescension.

My diocese, (here in the US) small as it is, seems to be overflowing with priestly vocations in the last few years, thanks in large part to our very good vocation director.

God Bless You, Rita.

Ttony said...

I went to a Church on the (anticipated)(transferred) feast of Corpus Christi where the sermon was an exposition of who could receive the Blessed Sacrament and who couldn't, and why. Catholics don't usually form a queue to tell the priest how well he preached, but did.

Clear, unambiguous, yet pastorally sensitive catachesis addressed to people who need to hear it: sounds like part of a priest's Mission statement.

I hadn't thought of the masculinisation part of it at all, but is it something about the priest as Leader of his community that needs to be better or more clearly expressed? Maybe not "Leader" but "Lawgiver". Or maybe something else.

Rita sets me thinking again.

I've been positing elsewhere that priests were the losers when the Bishops set up the Bishops' Conference and empowered a small subset of lay people to arrogate to themselves parish roles which radically changed the previous relationship of priest and layman. I've been thinking of it as a process thing, and haven't really given the psychological part of it a thought.

Deep waters, these.

Irim said...

I see less masculinisation coming, not more. All one had to do was watch the programme 'Priests' and cringe at the life in Allen Hall, where prancing about getting excited over the waistcoat you were wearing was considered an indication of your fitness for priestly life and a sign of your 'vocation'.

A huge part of the problem is the 'no gurlz allowd' rule in some parishes - I don't mean on the sanctuary by any means, but in the intellectual, nuts-and-bolts, real life of the parish. To have men, you need women, and frankly, contrary to popular belief gay men are NOT women - they are *gay men*.

Since women are getting shut out more and more, to create a balance, the priests have to take on that feminine role. And it AIN'T working.

Also, there is too little rigorous examination of candidates. If you are male and wave a Peter Kreeft/I love rubrics flag, you're seen as 'sound' and are in. Contrary to popular belief, it is the supposedly sound candidates who are most often the unmasculine ones.