Messing Up Important Words

A social media friend posted somewhat negatively on this article from last week’s OSV. Another friend, a lay colleague in liturgy, commented:

It really is important that the priest gets the minimum words right! God’s mercy is not bound by the sacraments, but the guarantee of the Church’s ministry is. We take care to get the matter the Eucharist correct, why not also the words?

If I were a confessor, it would be a ministry to honor by taking great care. Not out of a sense of personal scrupulosity, but because of the gravity of the situation, even when the sins presented are venial. The words are important. There is no reason to vary from them.

I also wonder if Our Sunday Visitor was the wrong place for this essay. Maybe it belongs in this publication instead. Father VanBerkum acknowledges care might be needed in correcting a priest:

However, as with any time we correct one of our brothers in Christ, we must be sure to speak truly out of charity for the priest, which includes stopping to consider whether he is in an emotional and mental state to receive the correction in love.

I noticed from his byline he is a parochial vicar. I wonder about the reception of older priests when corrected by a younger colleague.

Anyway, a good thing to remind people about. Will it cause more good than harm?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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