What a pretty (and fun) town. The downtown area is filled with antique and funky shops set up in old buildings - very quaint and New Englandy. We're heading back there this morning and then off to Rockport to enjoy this gorgeous weekend.
Anyhoo, the Pope has put the kibosh on the idea that laity are going take over for the shrinking priesthood:
The Holy Father began his address to the Brazilian prelates by pointing out the difference between the identity of priests and the laity. While the lay faithful share in the "common priesthood," they are not ordained ministers of Christ and His Church. "Hence," the Pope cautioned, "it is important to avoid the secularization of clergy and the 'clericalization' of the laity."
Pope Benedict has also, no doubt, confused many the rector as American seminaries:
Fulfilling the lay vocation, he explained, involves working to "give expression in real life - also through political commitment - to the Christian view of anthropology and the social doctrine of the Church."
On the other hand, "priests must distance themselves from politics in order to favor the unity and communion of all the faithful, thus becoming a point of reference for everyone," Benedict said
Teach the Catechism with valor, honor and fidelity and everyone in the congregation will know how to distinguish rights from wrongs and make their choices accordingly.
When dioceses are faced with a lack of priests, the Pope emphasized that they should not resort to "a more active and abundant participation of the laity" since it could take away from their own calling.
"The truth is that the greater the faithful's awareness of their own responsibilities within the Church, the clearer becomes the specific identity and inimitable role of the priest as pastor of the entire community, witness to the authenticity of the faith, and dispenser of the mysteries of salvation in the name of Christ the Head," Benedict XVI stated.
"The function of the clergy is essential and irreplaceable in announcing the Word and celebrating the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist," he insisted, saying that for this reason it is "vital to ask the Lord to send workers for His harvest; and it is necessary that priests express joy in their faithfulness to their identity."
Looking to the future, the Pope made it clear that "the shortage of priests must not come to be considered as a normal or typical state of affairs."
Sadly, prelates are blind to the cause of declining enrollment in the priesthood. It is not a safe place to send your son and so mothers point their children in another direction. The Bishops and Cardinals are spiritually sick and abusers of all kinds are in control. The sickness of the cult mentality is still very much in control - all the way to the top. There is no machination to get help for a man who contracts out to kill children and lies about it in the public square. The corruption is entrenched.
Mothers are therefore not on board.
Unless and until the priesthood becomes a safe place for orthodoxy and celibacy and preaching the truths of the Church - instead of being punished for it - mothers will guide their children into other vocations.