The above poem / prayer was sent to me by blog reader BD. Thank you.
This poem was in my prayer book all through my childhood, youth and seminary years.
It is a highly romanticised view of the specialness, holiness and purity of the priest.
When I went out to sweep the streets in Belfast in the early 1980s, parishioners were shocked that I was using my anointed hands for such lovely purposes. I always reminded them that we priests are Anointed as servants and not superiors.
Even though I saw of of my seminary priest professors showing very human traits – Tom March and his hundreds of Dunhills and whiskey , I did leave the seminary with a genuinely exalted notion of the priest.
I was a reader of St John Vianney, the patron Saint of priests, who said:
“If I met a priest and an angel on the road I would genuflect firstly to the priest”.
Out in the priesthood and in Wales:
My first parish priest was a total bully and an Irish hating bastard.
My second parish priest was an alcoholic with a female sexual partner.
My third parish priest was a sadistic bully.
And this was in the middle and late 1970s and long before we knew about the sexual abuses and all the other scandals.
And when I went back to say Mass for my former seminarian colleagues in Waterford – and before Mass began – Monsignor Shine whispered in my ear: “Don’t tell them what it’s really like out there – it will frighten them and put them off”.
AND THEM DOWN AND CONNOR
For my first year in D&C things were good and peaceful.
But then I was faced with a horrible dilemma.
D&C was obviously as clerical as all Irish diocese.
I literally had to decide to be friends with the clergy elite or be friends with the people.
I did not make a firm intellectual decision.
But by my words and action I was on the side of the people.
That led to vicious clergy anger and resentment.
I became a persona non grata.
The 4 other priests I Iived with at the time ( with one Tridentine exception) were either gamblers or womanisers or both; everyday golfers, work drones etc.
Eventually the clerical club dumped me permanently in 1986 – 36 years ago.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was a great blessing and freeing.
But did I still want to genuflect to priests before angers ?
I don’t think so 😀
THE MYTH OF THE PURE PRIESTHOOD.
The priesthood is made up of human men.
Some of those men try and do their best for a while but then get disillusioned and tired and overcome by all caca floating around them.
Others are cynical from the beginning and live the priesthood to their own advantage and profit.
And then there are the thoroughly evil bastards.
I have met more evil men in the priesthood than I’ve met anywhere else.
THE BEAUTIFUL HANDS OF A PRIEST is a myth.
The whole notion of ontological change is a cynical myth drawn up by clerics who try to fool all of the people all of the time.
The whole notion of priesthood has to be totally reviewed if it is to be maintained at all.
Jesus call rough fishermen and tax collectors to spread his simple message.
Then along came a movement of socio politico schemers who saw a whole new opportunity to form a new THEM / US institution that would give them prestige, profit and power.
And hey presto we get The Church of Rome Incorporated.
And then the priests hands were no longer on the altar. They were in children’s underwear, the groins of women and men, the corsets of nuns and in the various swollen coffers
And, as they say, the rest is history……..