I can't stop thinking about this comment from Jorge Cardinale Bergoglio (Pope Francis)

“…So I then told the priests: ‘If you can, rent a garage and, if you find some willing layman, let him go there! Let him be with those people a bit, do a little catechesis and even give communion if they ask him.’ A parish priest said to me: ‘But Father, if we do this the people then won’t come to Church.’ ‘But why?’ I asked him: ‘Do they come to Mass now?’ ‘No,’ he answered. And so! Coming out of oneself is also coming out from the fenced garden of one’s own convictions, considered irremovable, if they risk becoming an obstacle, if they close the horizon that is also of God…”Jorge Cardinale Bergoglio (Pope Francis), 2005.

Ref: www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2013/03/no-i-mean-seriously-this-guy-is-fantastic.html

I really can’t stop thinking about the above quote – and from so many perspectives!

When I first read it, my initial reaction was “If they have to have them, I sure hope the communion services held in garages are conducted with the utmost in dignity and reverence.” I suspect my second thought was that of the parish priest above – concern about siphoning off current Mass-goers. The more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder about the practical means of how the integrity of such communion services could be assured? Many of us could probably write several pages on the subject, but I do have the feeling that the communion services were dignified and reverent within that archdiocese! I also began to think that it would attract people away from the Church and ultimately act as a bridge back to the Church.

This led me to wonder about the physical/organizational structure of the Catholic Church in many parts of the world. Large parish churches with many, many Masses each Sunday isn’t a healthy model. It encourages “obligation satisfaction” and little more in many cases. I suspect the big churches and multiple Masses were ultimately born out of a lack of $$$ – the Catholic Church once had a surplus of priests but we have never tithed to the level of our Protestant brethren on average which would have allowed the building of more churches where far tighter communities might have been (and have been!) developed.

This led to “why not ordain more priests – including married ones?” Why make the education and formation so long? It has proven that years of college and seminary do not weed out all the problem men. What if the focus was put more on a very rigorous selection process and then a formation that amounted to night school or weekend school?

Maybe there could even be a second “variety” of priest – much like the “priest simplex” of years past? Exactly where does a priest formed by many years of college and seminary have an advantage over one formed as I mentioned above when it comes to celebrating the Mass? Think about that a bit!

The rubrics of the Mass are rather tight. Any literate, well-prepared man should be able to fully understand and follow them. Perhaps there would be concern about the level of education needed to craft a homily, one area of relative “freedom” during the Mass? Deacons preach so that shouldn’t be of great concern. Of the remaining sacraments, only the Sacrament of Penance might require a man with many years of education when it comes to counseling a penitent.

The Church ordains men in some countries of Africa that have no where near the formal education and formation the same man would have in the USA. Many of the Orthodox State Churches ordain men to the priesthood and diaconate who are fully formed within their own parishes through praxis and self-study guided by their pastors.

Maybe it is time for a huge change? Maybe we need A LOT more priests, far more simpler and smaller parishe churches and far, far tighter community within our parishes?

If you go to just about any industrial city, you will find a smaller sized Catholic Church (or sadly former Catholic Church) on every corner. The US used to be set up just as you described.

Yes, we need more priests, but relaxing the requirements is not the way to go. God calls plenty of men to the priesthood; too few are answering the call. We need to pray that they pick up the phone!

there are pros and cons to the situation as with everything. i don’t think large churches and many masses are a problem; obviously there is a need for it. my church has 3 masses on sunday. and i don’t know what yu mean by many masses exactly, i live in a big city and the most at any parish is 3-4 since there are a lot of people. i do see how a garage can seem not too reverent; then again, people met in other people’s houses in the new testament to begin with. or else in underground catacombs to avoid persecution. i think we have gotten a little too stuck in tradition somethings which is what jesus warned about. tradition isn’t necessarily a bad thing but we need to remember to be flexible when possible

Large parish churches with many, many Masses each Sunday isn’t a healthy model. It encourages “obligation satisfaction” and little more in many cases.

It’s a beautiful thing that any parish, no matter the size, schedules several Sunday Masses. A beautiful thing. A “healthy” thing. We Catholics get to worship our Lord together, hear His Word, receive Him in the Eucharist, and be sent out to the world to accomplish our mission as Catholics. Please don’t reduce this to something negative.

The response to our “obligation” is varied. Don’t judge hearts. Jesus knows why each one of us attend Mass, He continues to reach out to us, and His Spirit helps us.

That’s simply not true. You’re talking about “ethnic” Catholic parishes. Depending on the area one group (say the Irish) came first. When the next flood of Catholics came from another part of the world (say Italy), the first group treated them poorly. Their response was to build a grander church. When the next group came (say the Germans) the process continued on and on.

Not only were the ethnic divisions very unhealthy, the structures they build were difficult and expensive to maintain. They were also plagued by several Masses each, every Sunday.

Why should it take 8 years of study for a man to be ordained so that he can celebrate the Mass? If it’s actually a screening process, far too many bad ones still get through.

The Mass is well defined. Why 8 years? I really like what Francis said…

No, it’s not. Not at all. One or possibly two Masses in more parishes is far healthier than running one parish like a factory with Mass after Mass. It’s neither “beautiful” nor “healthy” but it is cheap.

I wonder why the formation/education for a man to celebrate the Mass takes about 7-8 years?

I think the Church is going to have to start facing such questions. It already has in developing parts of the world.

The only reason most large Catholic parishes exist is because it’s the cheapest way in which to support the faithful in fulfilling their Sunday obligation. Smaller parishes with fewer Masses are inherently much healthier. People simply get to know one another better. Real community builds.

I really liked what the Pope said back in 2005. It’s going to require many people to think in a clearer manner.

to each their own i guess. we can agree to disagree on this one. maybe it also depends on where you live; in my city, i havne’t seen any problems at all

I tend to think then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s words will become reality sooner than later. Bolded emphasis mine.

**The church will become small **and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.
(snip)

It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

I remember those words. While I much prefer Francis’ at the top of this thread, I do appreciate what Benedict was saying. I definitely think the Church is going to have to re-examine some things that are unfathomable to some.

Why does it take 8 years to prepare a man to be ordained so that he can celebrate the Mass?

Can there be “priest simplexes” that can celebrate the Mass with far less formal formation?

What’s holding back the married priesthood in the West?

What is it REALLY going to take to bring Catholics back into the Church?

Do you actually believe that becoming a priest is simply a profession like an engineer or a doctor?
You are soo of base my friend.
Someone that is tasked with taking Jesus place and prepare the Bread of Heaven and hear our confessions and using Jesus power absolve us
Married priests are NOT the solution. There are many reasons why, theological and biblical.
Even becoming a Deacon is a discernment process.

I would suggest you ponder this.

Holy orders is a very special sacrament and it has to be conferred properly or we again risk to produce MORE problems than we try to avoid.

Peace :thumbsup:

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I’ve thought this for some time, as a temporary solution at least.

Why not a tier of priests who say Mass, which surely can’t take more than a year or so of training, and another tier who study for the more complicated work of confessions, counselling, prep for the sacraments and so on.

It’s true that the ‘Mass priests’ probably wouldn’t command the respect of the people as much as the other tier, but does that matter? Thousands, millions, are being deprived of Mass with the present system of long training .That’s what matters, really, surely?
[/quote]

I do not understand the concept of priests simplex. Is it really that, in the ordination rite for priests, the powers of sacrifice and of hearing confessions can be conferred separately? That seems odd to me.

frvanhove.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/simplex-priests-now/

Under the 1917 Code, faculties for preaching (17:1337) had to be specifically granted to clerics, unlike today (83: 764) where faculties to preach are automatic upon ordination. Preaching faculties are only subject to revocation by the Ordinary under specific conditions. Regarding confessions, under the 1917 Code the restrictions on faculties to absolve were stricter than they are today (limited to territories, and sometimes only available after successfully passing an examination [17: 871-878]).

So, under the 1917 Code, a priest might not be granted faculties to preach, and he might not hold an office to which faculties for confession were attached (e.g., pastor); so therefore he could well be without faculties for confession. Such a priest was known as “simplex” even if the term was not used. A simplex priest could celebrate Mass (usually), but because there was no preaching allowed it would more likely be a private Mass with only one server present.

“…So I then told the priests: ‘If you can, rent a garage and, if you find some willing layman, let him go there! Let him be with those people a bit, do a little catechesis and even give communion if they ask him.’ A parish priest said to me: ‘But Father, if we do this the people then won’t come to Church.’ ‘But why?’ I asked him: ‘Do they come to Mass now?’ ‘No,’ he answered. And so! Coming out of oneself is also coming out from the fenced garden of one’s own convictions, considered irremovable, if they risk becoming an obstacle, if they close the horizon that is also of God…” – Jorge Cardinale Bergoglio (Pope Francis), 2005

.

In my day we were a Navy family, moved here and there a lot, I remember one move found us in a community without a Church building. Our Priest celebrated Mass in a areoplane hanger for a year, Papa Francisco is right , you do what you have to do. You can’t neglect the need, no matter the circumstance. Peace, Carlan

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanus_Casey

Venerable Bernard Francis Casey (November 25, 1870 – July 31, 1957) was the first United States-born man formally to be declared “Venerable” by the Roman Catholic church. He is now a candidate for beatification. A Capuchin priest, Casey was known for his great faith, humility, and role as spiritual counselor and intercessor.Casey struggled through seminary, largely because most of his classes were conducted in the German language, which he had not previously studied. On July 24, 1904, at the age of 33, Casey was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood by Archbishop Sebastian Messmer at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Milwaukee. Because he was judged to have performed insufficiently well in his seminary studies, Casey was ordained a “sacerdos simplex”, a priesthood rank that prevented him from hearing confessions or preaching doctrinal sermons.
After his ordination, Casey served for 20 years in a succession of assignments in Capuchin friaries in New York, Harlem, and Yonkers. His first assignment was at Sacred Heart Friary, in Yonkers, New York. He was recognized as an inspiring speaker. In 1924, he was transferred to St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit, where he worked for a further 21 years. During this time, Casey served primarily as “porter”, or receptionist and doorkeeper. Every Wednesday afternoon he conducted well-attended services for the sick. He became known for his great compassion and the amazing results of his consultations with visitors. Many people considered him instrumental in cures and other blessings they received.

solanuscasey.org/about.shtml

During his final illness, he remarked, “I’m offering my suffering that all might be one. If only I could see the conversion of the whole world.” His last conscious act was sitting up in bed and saying, “I give my soul to Jesus Christ.” He died at the age of 86 on July 31, 1957 at the same day and hour of his First Holy Mass 53 years earlier.

Ahh yes, beautiful Solanus Casey and so many more like him, pray for us.
Peace, Carlan

The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.
(snip)

It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

where is this quote taken from? thank you!

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