|The Congregation for Clergy also oversees a program in which women can dedicate themselves to become 'spiritual mothers' of priests. Which is thoughtful since it's becoming more difficult to get sons to become priests. Especially in the West.|
I have not read anything in a long time that made my jaw drop quite like this article. I really really thought we had left this kind of thinking behind. I guess not. Please bring back Vatican II, this Vatican I kind of thinking is utterly embarrassing.
Vatican official thanks mothers of priests, asks for their prayers
Vatican City - Cindy Wooden - Catholic News Service -January 3, 2013
Writing on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, on Tuesday, the cardinal said having a priest-son requires a new form of motherhood, one that involves a "discreet, but very effective and invaluably precious accompaniment in prayer."
Piacenza's letter was posted, in Italian, on the website of the clergy congregation.
When a man becomes a priest, he said, everyone in his family is touched and is called to a deeper conversion, but "unique and special are the spiritual consolations that come from having carried in your womb one who becomes a priest in Christ." (Too bad too much precious womb time is wasted on all daughters and run of the mill sons.)
Obviously, he said, seminary studies and priestly ministry often take a man further from home and from regular family life, but the physical separation is replaced by a closer spiritual bond, he said.
"The experience of the church teaches that the mother 'receives' her priest-son in a completely new and unexpected way, so much so that by the will of God she is called to recognize in the fruit of her womb a 'father,' who is called to generate a multitude of brothers and sisters and accompany them to eternal life," the cardinal wrote. (Calling Dr Freud, calling Dr Freud!)
While "every mother of a priest is mysteriously a 'daughter of her son,' " Piacenza said, she also is called to continue offering him her maternal support, particularly through her prayers. (Calling Dr Freud. Code Blue.)
"Such a work of authentic support, always necessary in the life of the church, seems even more urgent today -- especially in the secularized West, which is awaiting and asking for a new and radical proclamation of Christ," he said. "The mothers of priests and seminarians truly represent an army that raises prayers and offerings to heaven from earth and, with even greater numbers, intercedes from heaven so that grace is poured out on the lives of holy pastors." (This priest/mother worship is hardly new, and it is not going impress those in the secularized West ' awaiting and asking for a new and radical proclamation of Christ'.)
This is reason numero uno we do not want to bring back the pre Vatican II Church. This is just bizarre thinking even though it's a perfectly logical outgrowth from the theology of our magical celibate priesthood and the Catholic obsession with Marian devotion. It's perfectly exemplified in the line "every mother of a priest is mysteriously a 'daughter of her son'. God only knows where that leaves daddy. Maybe be in left out field with Joseph.
Only a priest, and this one happened to reach the rank of cardinal, could give such a self absorbed take on motherhood. In the final analysis this is all about him, Cardinal Piacenza the priest, and how he by his choice, sanctified the life of his mother in such a noble and spiritual way. I imagine his brothers and sisters feel very uplifted he did such a fine thing for their mother. If readers want to take in the entirety of his letter, Zenit has it posted. It's really a trip down memory lane to the times when priest sons were the epitome of bragging rights around the donut and coffee table after Mass.
Zenit also had another article on Cardinal Piacenza's thoughts about women's place in the Church. I found it very interesting that he slams those who advocate for women's ordination as making it all about a power sharing paradigm. The all male priesthood has nothing to do with power dynamics, it's all about service. It just so happens that a 2000 year old institution needs structure and priests are called to man that structure. He also maintains Collegiality is rampant in the Vatican curia, since these guys all talk to each other all the time. Well, that's one definition of collegiality. I really like this part of his speech concerning the place of women in the Vatican curia:
Who would stop, for example, a great woman economist from being head of the administration of the Holy See? Who would prevent a competent woman journalist from being the spokesman of the Vatican press office? The examples could be multiplied for all the offices that are not connected with Holy Orders. There are tasks in which the feminine genius could make a specific contribution! Like donating sons to the priesthood!
All joking aside, Cardinal Piacenza is totally correct, there is no reason women can not hold these types of positions. The real question then becomes why aren't there any women in these types of positions? Maybe next time when he's engaging in collegiality with his fellow Vatican cardinals and archbishops he could bring up this little fact about no women in any of these positions. Leslie-Anne Knight used to be in one of those positions but she was fired and replaced by a man. So what gives if none of this is about power dynamics? Why no representatives with feminine genius collegially hobnobbing with Vatican cardinals and archbishops?
In the meantime I guess I will just have to bear the cross of having had only a daughter. The fact she has mumbled something about maybe looking into the Episcopalian priesthood would probably not garner me any priestly motherhood points with Cardinal Piacenza's version of the Holy Spirit. Mores the pity.