Vocation Issue of Catholic Telegraph

This week’s Catholic Telegraph is the annual Vocations issue. Within, there are two ‘personal journey’ stories, one on Dan Hess, a First Year Seminarian for the Archdiocese, and the other on Sr. Rebecca Marie, who is with the Sisters of St. Joseph.

I also have an article included in respose to letters in last week’s Telegraph, which follows:

The question of who has a ‘right’ to the priesthood has been a hot topic of late. According to the theology of the Church, however, no one has a ‘right’ to be ordained; it is an individual’s response to an invitation by Christ to serve His Church. Therefore, the Church has the obligation to define who is eligible for this Sacrament, which must be done in a consistent manner with the Church’s Tradition. This teaching has been concretely defined, in a consistent manner with the Tradition, over the last thirty years.

In 1976, Paul VI published the official teaching in Inter Insigniores. He explains that female ordination only occurred with early Gnostic heretics and Church Fathers condemned it, that Christ didn’t call women to the Twelve, though He often broke traditions of the time regarding women, and that the Apostles reserved many Church roles to men. He acknowledges some traditions, like requiring women wear veils, have been lifted. But, just as the Church cannot change from using bread and wine at Mass, restricting priesthood to men has sacramental sign-value and is unchangeable: “This norm, based on Christ’s example, has been and is still observed because it is considered to conform to God’s plan.”

In 1994’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, John Paul II further clarifies “in order that all doubt may be removed, …I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful. (4)”

Finally, it is to be noted that Vatican II, in Lumen Gentium, calls for the faithful to submit to the teachings of the Church on faith and morals, which is spoken through the voice of the pope, in union with the College of Bishops. Pope John Paul II and (then) Cardinal Ratzinger were clear that this issue was in such a category.

If you are a man who feels called to the priesthood, I invite you to call me at 513-421-3131, or visit cincinnativocations.org. The documents cited in this article, as well as an extended discussion of this topic, can also be found at the same address.

Is it hard being a priest?

An email question to the Vocation Office:

Is it hard being a priest?

My response:

It is like any other vocation within the Church, there are days when itis amazingly simple to be a priest, everything falls in to place, theday, even if chaotic, is one of peace and a sense of community with God.However, there are also days when it is extremely difficult. I think oftimes when I have been called to the bedside of someone who was dyingand I have to offer some type of comfort to the family. It is not easy,but it is humbling to know that people look to you to lead them to God.

I think a better question to ask is: “Is it rewarding to be a priest?”To that, I can say firmly: ‘YES!’ Everyday you get to journey withpeople on their journey of faith. In confession, you free people fromtheir sins, you get to be with a couple as they prepare for marriage,and help youngsters prepare to receive Christ for the first time. It isa truly wonderful life.

Vocation Awareness Week

Nest week is National Vocation Awareness Week, which always follows after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. (This year, it starts with epiphany b/c the Baptism is on a Monday.) If you need some ideas about what to do either at home, school, or parish, the Vocation Office recently published a ton of great material and it is available here. I know it is a shameless plug, but I really think it is great stuff!