A typical secular view of the issue

A typical secular view of the issue

The Boston Herald is usually the conservative newspaper in town, but not in this story from Friday about the Pope’s ad limina visit with some American bishops in which he called for an increased focus on priestly vocations.

The headline is the first clue: “Priest recruit plea pits pope against activists.” Funny that they should focus on the confrontational part of the story, the insignificant number of protesters for women’s ordination and the like, rather than the real issues involved in the vocations crisis, calling the Pope’s plea an “ironic example of his failure to understand the reasons for the decline.”

And surprise, surprise, there is Voice of the Faithful right there in the second paragraph to take their stand. Remember they claim to take no stand on the “hot-button” issues in the Church (neither orthodox nor heterodox), but everytime I hear them talking about the issues, they’re leaning toward the heterodox.

  • They got right to their point though.  Wrong and obnoxious though they be, Dom, I find the change in manner of expression a good thing.  For many years, dissent ran “stealth” and people were lied to about what intentions were among chancery employees, catholic educational organizations, even some bishops, etc.  Now at least this has crystallized into something that is truthful—wrong but truthful—anyway.  Don’t fool yourself—this has been there for better than 40 years but has been pushed by lying to people.  I think this is better. It puts people on notice that they are making a choice.

  • calling the Popegspot.com
    2004-11-28 21:52:01
    2004-11-29 01:52:01
    Whether Carrie would or whether I would is not the issue, Bryan. This is not an occasion for personal comments.  It’s what the great majority of Catholic mothers would do that counts. 

    Problems in the seminaries have been a problem according to many, many first hand accounts of seminarians and priests.  I’m sorry but I believe them.

  • Today at the chant-choir Mass at St. Patrick’s, Stoneham (6 pm), we’re singing:

    Introit: _Ad te levavi_

    “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”
    (This can be sung to any of several tunes.)

    “O Lord of light, who made the stars”
    (It should be “Creator of the stars of light”, but see michigan’s explanation about missalette publishers.)

    “The King Shall Come”

    At Communion: _Rorate coeli desuper_

  • 1. Arise, the Messiah is at Hand
    2. Thy Kingdom come, O God
    3.  Of the Parent’s Heart Begotten
    4. Creator of the Stars of Night
    5. In the Bleak Mid-Winter
    6. Christian children, Advent bids you
    7. Creator of the starry height

    8. Veni Creator Spiritus (my personal favorite)

    Just a few….want some more, just ask. 


    (P.S. I would provide the proper sourcing, however, they are all public domain, so it doesn’t require it.)

  • Dom,

    Like RC, we sing Rorate caeli de super and, if you’ve only a cantor, I think this one is right up your alley.

    For one thing, the cantor has the hardest part. He or she sings the bulk, and the congregation sings the refrain. The folk in the pew don’t even need music or words!

    We’ve been singing it in English, which is probably easier on both cantor and pewsters. The cantor can simply say something like: “Please join in our Communion refrain—Drop down dew from above ye heavens, ye clouds rain down the Just One.” That’s it! Cantor sings the refrain, the congregation repeats it. Cantor sings the stanzas, congregation joins in at the refrain. And it’s beautiful.

    Another hymn you might consider is “Rejoice, Rejoice Believers.”

  • Public domain is good, very good.  There are many settings and old hymns with words intact (original words) that can be used without incurring copyright obligations.  We need to return to the practice of having our liturgical music in the public domain, even if not all the hymns/songs that are really actually recently written. 

    The whole baloney about being able to copyright an old traditional hymn by changing the words slightly and then convincing parishes they need official periodical copies is bull. 

    We need to find the old public domain originals and get a copy machine for public domain materials.  And throw the missalettes in the local shopping mall parking lot where they belong.  Good for traction in the snow.

  • Itnot suggesting that the Church should stop calling those who are baptized but not practicing Catholics, but why do we pretend as if their numbers ought to be included when calculating whether there are enough priests?  Hope is one thing, but it’s misleading to suggest that we have a priest shortage if we are judging that on a Catholics per priest figure that includes a vast number of Catholics for which the Church has next to no role in their life.  (3)  Where is this priest shortage?  And I ask this honestly, because I have lived five States and have never seen it.  I have seen shortages of Catholics in an area to justify the existence of some parishes.  But I have never belonged to a parish that has no priests and in fact, most have had multiple priests in residence.  I’m not suggesting that there aren’t parishes without priests, but I would like to know what parts of the country they are in and whether they have actually seen a decrease in priests or if the area has always been a “mission” area, where the number of priests were smaller than other parts of the country.

    Second, I question the approach.  Frankly, I will be blunt:  Why should the laity care about vocations to the priesthood when so few priests care about the vocation of the laity?  That’s a bit rhetorical to emphasize a point.  If the clergy would start emphasizing and building up the faithful’s understanding of their genuine vocation as laity, then (and only then) will we see a reversal in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  This is the real vocations crisis in this country.  And, frankly, it is my guess that it is part of what the Holy Spirit is challenging us with.  If improvements are made on this front, the rest will take care of itself.


  • In our rush to peace and justice issues we have lost the ability to form a relationship with God.  Yet the need for that relationship doesn’t go away.

    Formerly Christian people seek out the lost relationship in the doctrines of other faiths, and in places like A Course in Miracles, Yoga, TM, and even worse in channeling and spiritualism itself.  The newest trends in mysticism scare the heck out of me!

    And what is even more frightening is to discover these trends inside the Church.  We no longer know what it means not to “have strange gods before Me.”  Most Catholics wouldn’t recognize a strange god if it shook their hand.  And that, I truly believe, is the result of our loss of relationship.

    I sometimes think that the little old ladies in the pews fingering their beads have done more to serve the Church than all of the peace and justice commissions combined!

    Bryan, my own diocese just recently had a rainbow symbol on the website.  May still be there for all I know.  Naturally the seminary is empty.  The logistics and technicalities of sending a son off to another diocesan seminary are more than the average mother or father in the pew is likely to undertake.

    Kelly, it has long been known that mothers’ cooperation is fundamental to a growth in the priesthood.  First of all they give birth to the future priest.  Then when the kid shows an interest in playing priest, mom smiles her approval.  She encourages the kid to become a server, and shows appreciation for religious interest expressed by the kid.  Somewhere along the way she plants the seed of ordination.  Never underestimate the power of mothers over the priesthood.  In fact it was so well recognized that a mother was given a special cloth (I’ve forgotten its name) on the day her son was ordained.  When she died, it was buried with her.  A kind of “get into heaven” card.  I don’t know if this is done any longer.  Dom, do you?

  • I don reversal in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  This is the real vocations crisis in this country.  And, frankly, it is my guess that it is part of what the Holy Spirit is challenging us with.  If improvements are made on this front, the rest will take care of itself.


  • I’ve been reading silently for ages, but this cries out for comment: since when has “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” turned in to “Parent’s Heart” ?!  Which hymnal is that in? (Good song, though.)  We ourselves had a good French hymn on Sunday: “O Come Divine Messiah,”  present, I think, in most of the hymnals.

  • Dom,
    I am a cantor and noticed that the new OP (I know most everybody hates it) issue has more Advent hymns than in past years.  I used “The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns”, “The Advent of Our King” and “Come, Divine Messiah” this past weekend.  So liberate a copy somewhere and check it out!


  • Jack, I live in the Cleveland, Ohio Diocese.

    Thirteen years ago, when I joined my present parish, we had three priests.  Today we still have the same number of Sunday Masses – 5.  The size of the parish is no smaller.  Sometimes there is SRO at some of the Masses.  While the earliest one is not as well attended, and on a football or summer Sunday the last one is more sparsely attended, none of them could reasonably be eliminated without overcrowding the others.

    In my diocese there are parishes which are priestless.  There are only a handful of the largest parishes that have more than one priest, and when one of them leaves, there is no priest to replace him. 

    My own pastor is in his 50s, in ill health that is getting worse rapidly due partly to the strain of managing the parish alone, I’m sure.

    We have a large well-attended grade school which increases the burden on the pastor.  In addition to that, he is the chaplain for the local hospital, which means that he is on call day and night.  No one should have to live under that kind of schedule.

    The priest shortage in Cleveland has reached the critical stage.  There is talk about priestless Sunday services.  Our Masses continue thanks to the efforts of one priest who is retired and another priest from a nearby parish, both of whom help out.

    Recently when my pastor limped to the altar with the help of a cane, and without an entrance procession that he is usually able to manage, he announced to us that he would say Mass with a cane, he would say Mass with crutches, but he drew the line at the wheel chair and the stretcher. 

    So our parish is on borrowed time.  It is an orthodox parish.  Fr. can be relied upon to teach the traditional doctrines and to uphold traditional Catholic faith.  When he is no longer with us, where will we go then?  Surrounding parishes are not as reliably orthodox as my current parish, or at least they were not fifteen years ago when I became a refugee from the parish in which I live.  I found my current parish home in desperation because of the novelties at my former parish—a parish where three priests, including the pastor himself, have been put on administrative leave due to sexual abuse charges.

  • (glad to see you JACK, you haven’t been around for a while)

    In keeping with the last two posts, I’d like to ask why the reluctance to take an FSSP priest or a priest from one of the newer orders into a diocese where there is an acute shortage of priests? Is a priestless parish better than one with a priest from an order outside of the diocese?—-> I ask because one thing I cannot figure out is why Holy Trinity in Boston is not given an FSSP priest in a diocese where the archbishop says there’s a shortage of clergy. I’ve heard that the head of the FSSP order approached and said he’s send a priest for the Tridentine crowd and he was told ‘no thanks’.

    Cleveland… isn’t that the diocese that runs the gay friendly banner on the diocesan website? How’s the seminary there?

    And I wonder why an honest and public USCCB study isn’t done to find out why some dioceses have a plenty of vocations and why some dioceses have next to none.

  • Dom,

    I have a copy of the Adoremus Hymnal from Ignatius Press.  Perhaps you could keep O Come, O Come Emmanuel, but sing it in Latin: Veni, Veni Emmanuel.

  • Cleveland20;Rev.” McDonough’s mind, he never left the priesthood at all.  He simply chose to practice his “vocation” under more accepting, understanding, tolerant circumstances.  Perhaps “Rent-A-Priest” is the model “Rev.” McDonough sees for the future of vocations in the Church. 

  • The red Worship hymnal is decent and includes about 18 hymns for Advent.  I scanned through them this evening and I would say that about 85% of them are good, and could be easily learned.  You should be able to get a license either through CCLI or through the publisher itself to reproduce these few hymns just for the Advent season, if you don’t already have this particular hymnal in your parish.

  • Getting married?  Got a past?  Parish priest giving you grief about it?  No worries…there’s “Rent-A-Priest”! 

    That’s right.  “Receive Christ’s Sacraments from a married Catholic Priest”, the banner on their website gushes.  See http://www.rentapriest.com/web/default.aspx?_p=1020

    Oh, and who happens to show up as one of the Massachusetts “Rent-A-Priest” cadre?  You guessed it, VOTF fans…“Rev.” Terry McDonough, the “fired” priest of the article to which Dom linked.  And yes…he’s actually “CITI-certified”, too. 

    As an added bonus, you might contact one of “Rev.” McDonough’s colleagues from Massachusetts, the “Rev.” Ron Ingalls of Ashland, MA, whose marriage-peddling website screams “Gay Couples Warmly Received!”  And he’s just the first in the alphabetical-by-city listing.  See http://home.comcast.net/~ringalls44/

    So you see, Dom, in “Rev.” McDonough’s mind, he never left the priesthood at all.  He simply chose to practice his “vocation” under more accepting, understanding, tolerant circumstances.  Perhaps “Rent-A-Priest” is the model “Rev.” McDonough sees for the future of vocations in the Church. 

  • Jack — more anecdotes —In northern Iowa, (diocese of Waterloo?) the priest in a particular town is now taking care of three other parishes as well.  He’s basically a circuit rider every Saturday/Sunday.  There’s no “daily” Mass on a regular basis, I think in part because the parishes would all have a hissy fit if the priest chose just one to hold it at.  I’m not positive that he is actually serving more people than my own pastor (in Northern Va) but he’s sure doing it under more difficult circumstances.  Many of the people who attend Mass do so with a great sense of entitlement and very little regard for how hard they are working this guy.  All four parishes used to have their own priest.