Friday, August 08, 2008

I recently finished reading two books on the topic of priesthood. The first is A Celebration of Priestly Ministry by Walter Cardinal Kasper. A few quotes:

"He [Jesus] does not offer God some thing in sacrifice; he offers his own self in sacrifice, and he does this as the ultimate and highest possible service of friendship for us" (40).

"Our knowledge of the resurrection is not the knowledge of some neutral fact open to historical verification; we know about it only through the testimony of the apostles. Accordingly, they are the enduring foundation on which we stand, and they are our abiding point of reference (Eph. 2:20). This fidelity to the apostolic origin has often been dismissed as backwoods conservatism, as obstinancy, as a lack of flexibility, or as hostility to progress. We my confidently reply that it is precisely this fidelity that ensures that we will not be abandoned to every wind of quickly changing fashions and opinions(Eph 4:14). One whose only desire is to keep up with the latest fashion will soon himself be unfashinoable; but the apostolic foundation offers us a stable and sure standpoint" (62-63).

"Of its very nature, the apostolic ministry is unique. This is why -- despite what some sects [mormons] assume -- there can be no new apostles after the first ones" (67).

"... ecumenism will primarily be a spiritual matter. It takes the path of conversion, renewal, and sanctification" (102).

The second book is the Rev. Michael Heher's frank personal view of the priesthood today, entitled: The Lost Art of Walking on Water: Reimagining the Priesthood. A few quotes:

"Too often we seem to be speaking more to the congregation than to God. I have been at Masses when the presider addressed the words of the Eucharistic Prayer to the congregation as they they were the ones being invoked. We think of the Eucharist as something we do for the congregation, which it is, of course, but, excuse me for putting it so bluntly, it will not work unless we actually pray: unless we stretch out our own arms and lift up our own hearts to be touched by the Lord" ( 28).

"After one of [Archibishop Bloom's] lectures, he was standing in the vestibule, accepting praise and words of appreciation from his listeners. A woman came up to him and said, 'Archbishop, you must be a very great sinner.' Bloom was surprised but recovered enough to answer graciously, 'Yes, Madam, itis true. i am a great sinner.' Then he asked, 'Do you mind if I ask you how you came to this conclusion?' 'Because you describe our sins so well,' she replied" (150).

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