“He went out to do good – and he did well” 😀
The RCC teaches that you do not have a vocation to priesthood unless the “church” calls you via the bishop.
It also teaches that if you do not have a vocation and get ordained, then, by the grace of the sacrament, you immediately receive a vocation !
I think there are two types of men who seek priesthood:
1. Those who have a genuine vocation.
2. Those with a “fantasy vocation,” the fantasy being that the priesthood will solve all their problems and complete all their inadequacies.
Most bishops, including myself, have had the experience of ordaining unsuitable candidates, and when that happens, you feel hurt, disappointed, and betrayed.
But I always remind myself that Jesus, who was God, chose and “ordained” twelve, and one betrayed him completely, ten abandoned him when the going got tough, and only one was totally loyal.
So, it’s hardly surprising that human bishops make wrong decisions, too.
Nowadays, I am much more careful and expect anyone seeking ordination to attend The Oratory on a very regular basis, seek the approval of The Oratory congregation for each step on the way to priesthood, engage in study and discernment over a number of years.
A priest with a true vocation will do much good.
A person with a fantasy vocation will wreak havoc on themselves and others.
Every day on this blog, we see examples of unsuitable candidates for priesthood creating havoc.
– Priests destroying the lives of vulnerable women by using and abusing them.
– Priests who have not come to terms with their sexuality causing consternation on internet Apps. Priests acting crazily in gay saunas, in monastery kitchens, and in women’s toilets in shopping centres.
– Priests like JPL – the subject of recent blogs.
– Priests descreating altars.
– Priests embezzling large sums of church money.
– Bishops covering up all kinds of abuse and corruption.
– Priests acting like Little Hitlers in parishes.
A GOOD PRIEST OR BISHOP
There is no such thing as a perfect priest or bishop.
We are all flawed. We all suffer from inadequacies, defects of character, and multiple types of weaknesses.
But there must be a bottom line below which we do not allow to drop.
A good priest:
1. Has a real and authentic faith in God and is not just acting as if they have faith.
2. Makes a determined effort to pray every day.
3. He reflects on his weaknesses and sins every day and makes a determined effort to improve.
4. Is as available to people as Jesus was – and is like that every day.
5. Is not driven by ambition, cynicism, the gathering of wealth, the exercise of power, the need to be complimented and fawned over, and the temptation to be always right.
And, of course, every priest, like every person, is a “work in progress”