I’ve been “lurking” on here for a good few months and have started to chime in now and again. There’s something I’d really love to hear views on, particularly for those of a more “traditionalist” mindset, and those who have been discerning a vocation to the Priesthood.
This is something I was going to blog about, so I do hope the mods won’t be mad at me for pasting that in here now: :eek:
Many traditionally-minded young men are thinking of discerning a vocation to the Priesthood, and looking at seminary formation. They think the ‘old Mass’ is important, but also feel something for serving their Diocese. A bit of a pickle, indeed.
I will attempt to describe what I understand to be the pros and cons. Apologies if any of this seems piece-meal, or doesn’t make sense–ask for clarification!
The old Mass, for those attracted to it, represents the summit of liturgical form, and behaviour; it represents a 'gold standard', and exhibits the reverence and sanctity required of all present at the liturgy. It seems less open to abuse, and clearly shows congregants the attitude to be employed at Church. The formation that the FSSP and other indult societies offer is clearly traditional and orthodox, not pandering to any liberal mindsets. However, these societies also represented 'closed groups' with opportunity only to minister to congregations placed under their charge, i.e. not necessarily in one's Diocese, but go anywhere and unless things change minister to a 'gathered congregation'. There are also no indult seminaries in Rome, which means one would miss out on that experience, and the indult Seminaries have to all charge fees, which many cannot afford.
The future of the Mass is less certain for Diocesan clergy. Of course we hope for the motu proprio creating a generation of Priests and laity where there is opportunity to have both forms of the Mass, extraordinary and novus ordo, celebrated perfectly in accordance with the rubrics and other commands of the Church. However, is this certain? What if you end up somewhere obstinately set in 1970s la-la land? The formation for Diocesan Priesthood is equally less certain. I have heard nasty rumours about the national Seminary here in Scotland, and also about some of the other colleges in Rome, but luckily so far not the Pontifical Scots College. Not just limited to teaching, which is sometimes said to be heterodox, there is the risk of being stigmatised for the slightest attachment to old ways. However, the benefit of the Diocesan Priesthood is serving one's community, one's Diocese. There is also a further awkward piece to the jigsaw, that is partially based on my own speculation. I wonder if we will **only** see a "reformed" Diocesan Priesthood and novus ordo Mass if those traditionally-leaning men offer themselves, some might say "sacrifice" their hopes and surety, in order that the coming generations of Priests are firm in their faith and outlook and support both forms of the Mass and what they stand for. The Diocesan Priesthood also has the advantages that there are Seminaries in Rome, and that the Diocese and Local Education Authority often give grants to defray costs, unlike the indult Societies which have to charge fees.
So, does anyone have any views? How can these conflicting attractions and fears be resolved? How does one discern between them?
Any suggestions? Traditionally minded young men, thinking of a vocation need practical suggestions of how to appreciate the pros and cons of both, and to discern between them. How do we know where to lay our lives for an offering?