OT 9: Priests “Not Destined for Domination”

That’s a quote. Can you dig it?

Optatam Totius 9 speaks of seminarians possessing a “(saturation) with the mystery of the Church, especially as described by this sacred synod, that, bound to the Vicar of Christ in a humble and trusting charity and, once ordained priests, adhering to their own bishop as faithful helpers and engaging in a common effort with their fellow-priests, they bear witness to that unity that attracts men to Christ.

Two things I see:

First, that the council bishops fully intended that their council efforts would be a special part of the formation of clergy. So much so that every post-Vatican II priest would nearly ooze from his pores the teachings of the council, namely humility, charity, faithfulness, and collaboration. For what end?

That people are attracted to Christ by that particular unity of purpose.

They should learn to take part with a generous heart in the life of the whole Church in accord with what St. Augustine wrote: “to the extent that one loves the Church of Christ, to that extent does he possess the Holy Spirit.”

Does a person love the Church? Remember how this is defined in Lumen Gentium 9: the People of God. Love for the Church is not love for the externals, or accidents, if you will. I had an interesting episode at the parish recently when one chalice was left on the altar (one too few Eucharistic Ministers). A seminarian was in town to assist the priest at that Mass, but it was a parishioner who came forward to retrieve the chalice when she noticed a gap in the “formation” on her side. The young man in the sanctuary (who didn’t step in, and fill the need, it must be noted) rushed in to say, “Don’t touch the paten; nobody touches the paten!” He actually recognized the need (he was sensible enough to retrieve a purificator from the credence table) but seemed to have his priorities mixed up. People in love don’t favor reverence for objects over pastoral need.

The students should understand most clearly that they are not destined for domination or for honors but are given over totally to the service of God and to the pastoral ministry.

Is this really in print? Say it again, Vatican II:

The students should understand most clearly that they are not destined for domination or for honors but are given over totally to the service of God and to the pastoral ministry.

Keep it going:

With a particular concern should they be so formed in priestly obedience, in a simple way of life and in the spirit of self-denial that they are accustomed to giving up willingly even those things which are permitted but are not expedient, and to conform themselves to Christ crucified.

In other words, living simply, and living apart from the secular examples of 19th century aristocracy (rectories chock full of servants: maids, cooks, etc.) or 21st century indulgence (pick your poison).

The students are to be made clearly aware of the burdens they will be undertaking, and no problem of the priestly life is to be concealed from them. This is to be done, however, not that they should be almost solely concerned with the notion of danger in their future labors, but rather that they might be more readily conformed to a spiritual life that more than in any other way is actually strengthened by the very pastoral work they do.

It seems to me one way is to ensure seminarians have similar tasks as lay graduate students: fixing their own meals, laundering their own clothes, managing their tight budgets, maintaining what they did in the lay apostolate before entering seminary.

Comments are ultra light on this thread. Are you still with me?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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