Dispensing the sacraments—holy rites, mysteries, in which Orthodox Christians experience the reality of God through the enacting of His Grace—are the exclusive responsibility and prerogative of the priesthood. Nonetheless, the effectiveness and fullness of the sacraments are not dependent on the personal virtue or character of the administering priest. Instead, Orthodox teaching explains that the priest is an icon of Christ.
The priesthood is a calling, meaning a dedication to a way of life, not merely a chosen profession. The priest assumes throughout his life the responsibility of uniting all the people of God together in Christ and sacramentally manifesting the presence of Christ in the Church. Furthermore, he has to accomplish all this in the midst of answering the day-to-day needs and demands and challenges of a parish community.
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Truly, only a genuine calling can lead to the making of a priest capable of facing and fulfilling such imposing, yet stirring, responsibilities. I have known many extraordinary priests. Few among us have not had our lives blessed or have not been inspired by a great priest. In that sense, and in that sphere of life in the Church, we most often encounter the benefit and grace of a good priest.
The priest in whom I confided my recent story of pressure, anger, and regret is an extraordinary priest and a good man.
Vigil to Save Church Is Imperiled - WSJ
He responded to me with this liberating Christian perspective:. Aleko, I understand. Just know that there is so much love in the world, that no matter what others say to us it can never diminish God's love for us. Conscientiously accepting our human imperfections and limitations can become an act of praise for Gods generosity and patience. Simultaneously, this acceptance can be a remedy against the temptation to take ourselves too seriously.
In the vision of the German bishops, the present situation is both an invitation and a timely opportunity for priests, in solidarity with each other, to get on the road and place themselves in the midst of human need and affliction. In my opinion, this new tone and spirit is poignantly revealed in their compassionate and timely directive: "At this point, we remind ourselves of our solidarity with those of our peers who, frequently under tragic circumstances, have left the ministry.
In no way may we abandon them" p. Indeed the entire letter glows with the spirit of the Gospel and strengthens our hope for the future of the church and the future of her priesthood.
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The same pastoral tone of frankness and openness shines forth in the pastoral letter of Bishops Lehman of Mainz, Saier of Freiburg, and Kasper of Rottenburg-Stuttgart on pastoral care for divorced and remarried Catholics--including the admission of these Catholics to the Eucharist in accordance with wise principles of discernment.
Even after the disappointing response from the Vatican congregation on doctrine, these three bishops, in a spirit of nonviolence, maintain their spirit of candor and sincerity. Only in mutual solidarity and trust between bishops and priests can the present and undeniable crisis be overcome, for what unites them is their shared love and pastoral care.
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Priesthood imperiled : a critical examination of ministry in the Catholic Church
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Can advocates convince a skeptical public? Meet the 13 New Cardinals. Once Upon a Different Time. We work with churches. Retreat Houses , Retreats. Love, Laughter and Living Saints. See all Classifieds. The latest from america. In his sensational new play, Jeremy O. Harris posits that racism may poison our most intimate relationships. Rob Weinert-Kendt October 07, Pearce, an English-born Catholic critic, talks about the latest developments in research on Shakespeare's faith life. Sean Salai, S. October 07, Andrew in Delavan under the leadership of Fr. Jim Schuerman. While some parishioners might have struggled to understand his Indian dialect, Thomas was equally challenged to understand and learn sign language, as the parish serves the Delavan School of the Deaf.
I have known English for seven years, but it can be difficult to understand me at first, so I slow down and once people get used to it, they understand me perfectly. Working closely with Fr. Schuerman has offered Thomas glimpses of parish life, he said, describing Fr. Following his ordination, Thomas looks forward to serving St. Patrick and Cristo Rey parishes in Racine, and hopes that his good listening skills will be an asset to the community. He is using me through his love to change himself. He admitted to reading several books at once and is currently devouring three: one on Archbishop Fulton J.