|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.
I suppose mom might have to in some way become the 'daughter' of her son called into the priesthood. We must keep the feminine aspect humble after all. Otherwise we might elevate femininity to godhead just like we've been doing to masculinity for 2000 years and counting.ReplyDelete
As for [quote]:
Who would stop, for example, a great woman economist from being head of the administration of the Holy See?... [unquote]
Unless the good cardinal can name women who are holding or have held those posts and in equal number to the men who have held those posts, I'd pretty much say it is the The See doing exactly that. So his rhetoric is pretty darned empty.
Oh for the day the Vatican understands that we are all truly children of God and not firstly segregated into sons and daughters. The whole separate but 'equal' thing simply leads to more violence. This is just as true of sexism as it is of racism.
It is all so sad . I could cry. God calls men and women whether or not they are brought up to a great faith. It is a very personal journey. My parents didn't even approve of me 'wasting my time' by going to church, until many years later my step-mohter was able to say 'You have had so many things happen to you and it is your faith that has helped you to cope." I'm not saying parents (Not just mothers) should not encourage their children, but the response must be theirs alone - a personal respoinse to the call of God. I few months ago I heard a well meaning priest berate mothers in our area because they were not giving up their sons to the priesthood. I wnated to scream.Delete
Really, a priest was blaming mothers for the fact their sons didn't feel called? Now that I think about it, that is sort of an unstated point in Piacenza's letter. Somehow mothers are supposed to be able to guide (manipulate) their sons into vocations. Makes one wonder how these two particular priests 'found' their own vocation.Delete
Really have to chide you about the statement- Obsession with devotion to Marian Devotion .I see you are a Catholic but you dont say if you are practicing or not.If you are next time your at Mass and the Apostles Creed is being prayed please take in the words as a meditation.Not only are we praying to Our Lady The Holy Mother of Christ but believe in the Communion Of Saints .Most if not all Catholics i know its what sets us and the Orthodox Church apart is not the obsessive but the unique devotion to Mary. And in the part of the world i live in its one of the doctrines that make us most-HATED- i wonder why.? Also as you are deeply psychic you will no that St Luke alone gives us the narrative of the Magnificat. Him alone of the evangelists who did not meet Christ(well not in the flesh)but who had a deep reverence for his Mother.Delete
I said "obsession" because the word fits. JP2 canonised Maximilian Kolbe, according to whom Mary is the "quasi incarnation of the Holy Spirit". Too many words like "Saviouress", "Co-redemptrix", "co-head of the Church" have been used that set Mary upon the throne of Christ, and depose Christ from His place at the right of the Father. If the Church is Christ-centred, why is there a movement for a so-called "fifth Marian dogma" ?Delete
I suspect it bothers people because this obsession distorts the NT, in which Jesus Christ is the centre of attention, and Mary is at worst a distraction or an obstacle, at best a His mother. In no way is she the substitute for Christ & the Holy Spirit that too much Catholic devotion makes of her. Matters are made worse by the absence from the life of the CC of any real appreciation of the Bible - other things of less importance crowd it out; & this in turn is made worse by the gap between Biblical scholarship OTOH, & Catholic devotion OTOH. So the Bible remains an academic book, and exercises no influence in moulding how Catholics think. This is a catastrophe.
Saint Luke makes as clear as St.Matthew that doing the Will of the Father is what constitutes the family of Jesus - as the episode in Luke 11.25 ff. shows. That Mar was the mother of Jesus would have availed her nothing, had she not, more importantly, had faith in Him. That's not my idea, but St. Augustine's, & I agree with it completely. Mere blood-ties to Christ are valueless without faith in Him. Faith in Him is open to anyone to whom God gives faith in Him.
" So the Bible remains an academic book, and exercises no influence in moulding how Catholics think. This is a catastrophe."Delete
Another great insight Rat, and it's one I hadn't actually put together about what is really at fault in how Catholics are formed. So much of what Jesus actually taught is de emphasized in favor of historical accretions and era limited theological speculation.
" So the Bible remains an academic book, and exercises no influence in moulding how Catholics think. This is a catastrophe."Delete
It is false to think that Catholics who hold their faith near and dear see the Bible as an academic resource. It is, it would seem, hypocritical as well. Many are the teachings found in Sacred Scripture that refute opinions and doctrines that you applaud.
The difference may be easily summed up thusly:
Catholics do not base their faith upon the Bible like so many Protestants. The faith of Jesus Christ and His Church existed before a single word of the New Testament was penned. That same faith and that same Church were existent for nearly 300 years before the New Testament came together as a whole, and joined with the Old Testament to become known as the Holy Bible. It was the faith of that Church which determined the canon amid so many forgeries.
We are called to be doers of the word, and not just hearers, or for that matter, readers. While reading the Bible is important, it is also dangerous, as St. Peter tells us, when he admonishes us not to wrest from Scripture our own destruction. While orthodox Catholics rely upon faith illumined by reason when reading the Bible, we also defer to the wisdom of Holy Mother Church, guided for two millennia by the Holy Ghost, to teach us the proper understanding of some texts, the fullness of which would be lost in translation, custom, and time without Her.
The progressives do not approach the Bible in this way. They do not accept it whole and entire because so many of its passages go directly against some of the things they want so desperately to believe. They rush to accept any modern mistranslation of the bible if such can be twisted to such a torturous degree so as to say the exact opposite of what the most ancient translations of the original autographs teach. The solid foundation of the faith of Jesus Christ is not good enough for them; rather the shifting sands of progressive opinion, applied to politics and religion, form the basis of their belief.
Is it academic to claim that within the Bible one can find numerous condemnations of the homosexual act? Apparently so to progressives.
Often progressives, who are won't to give credence to every apparition, despite prudential biblical warnings against such things, ask why the Church is so concerned with sexual morality. Our Lady of Fatima told the three little children that sins of impurity are the main reasons people go tell Hell. So why wouldn't the Church, whose doctrines concerning sexual morality have not changed in 2000 years, NOT spend so much time and effort on the subject? After all, it is the mission of the Church to help save souls. That's not to suggest that the Church should focus all of its attention on the laity, when the priesthood itself is so full of sexual miscreants as to practically make a saint of Hugh Hefner. But it wasn't Catholic sexual morality that lead to the sexual crimes by criminal priests, it was a deviation from it. A rebellion from it, if you will, in the same vein as the progressive movement.
Anon, you started this comment out really really well, but unfortunately you let it degenerate into a fantasy attack on progressives. My problem with the Bible is the level of contradiction with in it. It is far from consistent which can be seen in the evolution of some of the teachings.Delete
As for homosexuality, there are less than a dozen total references to gay sex, but pages and pages of references to adultery. Why put so much emphasis on gay sex, when the bible itself has vastly more concern with adultery?
Catholics are not mandated to credence nor believe in personal visions which is precisely why I rarely write anything I've seen or experienced. Visionaries are limited by their font of knowledge and that alone is a very good reason not to force Catholics to take any visionary as Gospel.
And by the way, the writers of the various books of the Bible were also limited by their own font of knowledge and may be why there is so much contradiction and differences in emphasis from book to book.
I too long for the day when the Vatican truly understands we are all children of God and stops with the 'separate but equal complimentary feminine genius' crap. I wish they would at least be honest in the meantime and admit the boys don't want to have to play with girls--which is the real reason there are no women in the positions Cardinal Piacenza describes.ReplyDelete
Cult of Personality drives this narcissistic priesthood.ReplyDelete
At least in this particular case that does seem true.Delete
Barking mad he is, barking. This is why priests (and bishops and Cardinals) need to study the social sciences. So they know when they sound like wack jobs.ReplyDelete
Sometimes it's very difficult to even see or hear you sound like a wack job because it sounds perfectly logical in your own mind. Sometimes it's called 'delusional ideas of reference".Delete
Jesus says quite explicitly “And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9) Yet the Cardinal and all the hierarchy love to be called 'father'---in direct contravention of Jesus' command.ReplyDelete
They make the excuse that the words of Jesus are not to be interpreted literally. But even if you interpret the words of Jesus figuratively, what else can Jesus be pleading for but an egalitarian relationship amongst Christians. He is urgin us to regard each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Thus, Jesus teaches us to be radically egalitarian, while the hierarchy encourages us to be --- well --- hierarchical.
There are a huge number of things Catholicism has accepted over the milennia that have nothing at all to do with what Jesus taught, and in fact, like this one concerning calling 'no man father', are the utter opposite of what Jesus taught. There was a reason Jesus was called Rabbi. He was a teacher not a 'father'.Delete
The gates of hell may not have prevailed yet, but it's getting damn close.
 Call none your father upon earth: Neither be ye called masters. The meaning is that our Father in heaven is incomparably more to be regarded, than any father upon earth: and no master to be followed, who would lead us away from Christ. But this does not hinder but that we are by the law of God to have a due respect both for our parents and spiritual fathers, (1 Cor. 4. 23: 15,) and for our masters and teachers.Delete
What do you call your own father, "Sid" or "John"? In direct contravention to the teachings of Jesus?Delete
There are good reasons reason for the prohibition. It has to be taken in tandem with Jesus' command to call no man "Rabbi". They belong together, & point back to a great deal that has been going on in that gospel.Delete
In St. Matthew's gospel, Jesus is presented as (among other things) the perfect Rabbi. To cut a long story short, His actions and words up to & beyond Matthew 23 have him acting as the final religious authority for His disciples, the God-given & definitive Teacher. He can alone rightly be addressed as "Rabbi" by His followers, because He alone "teaches with *exousia*" (= power/authority).
Only the Father of Jesus can be called "father" by the disciples of Jesus; because the family of Jesus is formed, not by ties of flesh and blood, but by the doing of the Will of the Father. Jesus lives entirely by His Father's Will, & calls His disciples to do the same. The supreme instance of this obedience of Jesus is His willingness to die on the Cross. Jesus actually lives what the letter of Deuteronomy 6 requires of all Jews: "[T]hou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might". He is unreservedly & self-sacrificially open to His Father's Will - & requires this same unreserved total openness of His followers.
ISTM this challenges the tradition, which formed early, of calling Christian teachers "father". The Gospel is *immensely* challenging.
That's an excellent comment Rat. You are on a role. I really like the term "exousia". There seem to be something of a lack of 'exousia' in some of our current crop of teachers.Delete
"...what else can Jesus be pleading for but an egalitarian relationship amongst Christians. He is urgin us to regard each other as brothers and sisters in Christ."Delete
## Exactly - and if that happened, the consequences would be, well, fascinating. It might also make the Church much cheaper to run. Rather than being monarchs in their dioceses, perhaps bishops ought to be elders with their fellow-priests. The work of *episkope* AKA "oversight" could be common to all, with the *episkopos* being the priest of greatest pastoral experience. They could then be a college or presbyterium of elders, the bishop being the priest among them with greatest, but not monarchical, authority. Rather than the bishop being the "father" of the rest, he could be their "eldest brother". Like St. Peter, he could be a fellow-elder among them.
I think the CC could learn a thing or two from Presbyterians & Congregationalists.
To Rat Biter first of all my post was not directed at you but seen as though you set yourself upon on high then i will answer you back.First of all you mention Max-Kolbe i suppose then that you have read his life story and his Martyrdom .No where have i or he mentioned that Our Lady was the fourth person of the trinity but you seem to imply that. Also as far as your prayer life goes thats your own personal lets say obsession seen as that seems to be the word floating around.In ref to the gospels am sure i wouldnt need to tell such a learned person as yourself about the story of Cana . I cant really see why your getting yourself all upset i can only assume that it stems from your own personal experience. Also in ref to Saint Luke in the his Gospel his reverance for the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ strikingly stands out as i said in my recent post concerning the lovely words of The Magnificat of which we derive the word magnificent. To sum up maybe if you prayed the Rosary more it would open your mind . Yours in Christ--William.Delete
William, be very careful when addressing a particular commenter that it's respectful. I do not like it at all when people start making guesses about a persons faith life or prescribing methods of improving their Catholic practice.Delete
People can pray the rosary frequently and come to very different points of view about particular issues.
I answered back in the manner i did for 2 reasons .The first as was obvious was in the manner Our Blessed Lady was portrayed in your blog and was addressed to yourself. The second was in answer to someone who in my mind (but only my mind)was belittling without any reverence The Holy Mother of Christ. But as i seem to have backed myself into a one way street its probably time to say goodbye to your blog.As with regards to your comment in seems as though with most liberals respect only runs in one direction.Delete
Do you know about this book und writerReplyDelete
No Ana I do not know anything about the book or the writer.Delete
Ignatius Press is the publisher of Christopher Kaczor's book, which tells me volumes about the book's perspective.Delete
I could add that Escrivá hat a lot spoken and written in the "Piacenza's way", generrally speaking when I read about Piacenza discourses. Piacenza is not an Opus Dei member, but he acts and speaks very similar like this group. "The mother of priest" was one of hid favorites subjects, he played the rol of "father and mother" of Opus Dei members. It seems to me that when he spoke in Piacenza's way, that was a kind of "consolation prize". "I am the real father and you are important only because your son is my son"Delete
Sorry, I dont know Ignatius Press, Could anyone to explain? Thanks a lot for your attention.
Ignatius Press is a (really pretty good - I think) US Catholic publishing house that has published many Ratzinger books, and many books by figures from EWTN like Mother Angelica & Fr. Benedict Groeschel. They publish a lot of books on matters of current debate or interest, of a generally "conservative", Vatican 2-ey, kind. If you want to read Hans Kung, or Archbishop Lefebvre, or Rosemary Ruether, they are *not* the folk to go to. Theologically & socially they are probably what some call "neo-catholic"Delete
For us who are not in the US, their focus can come over as a bit USA-ish, but that is not too serious a fault. Most of their books are paperback, with the occasional hardback or softback, and are usaully about 200-250 pages long, always with colourful covers. AS physical objects, they are very well designed, with an attractive if smallish typeface, and plenty of numbered footnotes when the book is of that kind.
They are not everyone's cup of tea, by a long shot - as a reader of quite a few of them, I've certainly been helped, a lot, by Fr. Groeschel's book, "Arise from Darkness", and informed by reading the then-Cardinal Ratzinger's memoirs & books. Unlike EWTN, they represent a very varied, more catholic, notion of Catholicism.
Here's the link: http://www.ignatius.com/
There was a time they were a little more diverse, but neocon Catholic is a pretty description of what they focus on now. That must be where the money is.Delete
There is something about Cardinal Piacenza's presentation that strikes me as Oedipal, and not in a good way.ReplyDelete
If the Cardinal had quit after the second paragraph, it could have been charming rather than weird.Delete
Kathy, that was exactly my take on it. Calling Dr Freud.Delete
I have always found it interesting that the wacky, "mother/priest = Madonna/Jesus" line of thinking leaves out any mention of the biological father. It is as if the biological father ceases to exist or is reduced to the role of sperm donor. ("men are such base,filthy, sexual beasts!!") The idea that mother could possibly have enjoyed sex is abhorrent to these men.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, the priesthood in the last 20 years has created a number of these psychologically bent priests. Don't be surprised when the sex abuse crisis moves into "phase two" in a few years, when these stunted men start acting out sexually.
I think first of all we need to step back and remember that the origin of Marian devotion is rooted in historic culture-- the king's mother was called Queen, since the King could have many wives. So with Jesus as King, Mary is inevitably Queen.ReplyDelete
I think you nailed it when you mentioned that this statement by Piacenza sounded logical in his head. For him, it might be a logical extension of this setup. The failing in the logic is that priests are meant to be servants of God, not kings in their own right. In fact, I believe the original term in the Greek Bible might actually be "slave"?
It's come up a lot in the comments, so I'd just like to point out that Joseph (and all fathers) are not cast aside. Joseph is a saint in his own right, and does have his own worship. He is also the patron saint of my native country, Canada. I guess it's just statements like Piacenza's get far more of a reaction, and so highlight the mother in popular discussions even more.
Joseph has always had sort of a supporting role. For instance Mary meets Gabrielle in the flesh, fully conscious. Joseph has dreams. The two experiences are vastly different. One could say complimentary in the opposite way in which we are generally taught this concept. Mary is the active agent, Joseph the more passive agent. It's almost a role reversal and given that, I have not been surprised that Joseph, relative to Mary, has a muted existence in the Church. And of course, Joseph is no where near as important as Jesus as a male figure in the whole story.Delete
"The idea that mother could possibly have enjoyed sex is abhorrent to these men."ReplyDelete
A suggestion why. Mary has been "re-constructed", and has become the supreme human symbol of complete perfection, next under Christ - like the Bible in Fundamentalism, which as one of its functions in Fundamentalism serves the same symbolic purpose. She is Immaculate, it is totally inerrant. Once constructed in this way, both are "withdrawn" from human life, and set up "over against" human life - IOW, they are both rei-fied. And having been rei-fied, they function as symbols of perfection, to exist in contrast to the great un-inerrancy and im-perfection of everyday life.
Mary ceases to be human. Possibly because the Church could not deny that Jesus is fully human - the gospels contain too much about Him for such a denial to be possible. So, it latches on to His mother, of whom far less is known. If Mary was human, she must have menstruated - otherwise: she was not human; or, menstruation is an effect of original sin; or, she was exempt from this bodily function for the sake of her Son. If there are other possibilities, they don't come to mind; & none of those three is free of serious objections. But if she menstruated, that would make her cultically unclean. More detail in the paper following:
"Q: Was Mary like other women in her biological cycle?
A: [The following paper concerning this question was sent to The Mary Page by Rev. Mr. Bryce Andrew Sibley.]"
The site is aptly named: Where Angels Fear to Tread
If the Church is going to teach doctrines, it can't evade their consequences; the CC can hardly claim that there is a theological tradition of affirming the BVM's immunity to such gynaecological details. Belief in her perpetual virginity has a long history, but AFAIK the explicit exclusion of menstruation has not been mentioned at all.
I have to admit Rat I was utterly fascinated reading the link. Rev Sibley put quite a bit of thought in it and the logic holds tight, if you accept his primary assumption that Mary somehow transcended human female biology by her very nature. I think the rebuttal to his piece made more sense in some respects given what we know about menstruation.Delete
Seriously though, people are most likely better off not losing sleep over some dogmas. I had one very naive priest maintain Jesus was all Mary's genetics. He had a really difficult time understanding that would have made Jesus a female. Oh well, it reminds me of the 'how many angels can dance on the head of a pin debate'. Mostly pointless but fun to mess with. Oh by the way, the answer is: "As many that want too, and not very many want too."
Was this written by a Cardinal Piacenza who was a cardinal under Benedict XIV?...ReplyDelete
"Bizarre thinking" and "theology of our magical celibate priesthood" are wonderful phrases, Colleen, and right on target, it seems to me. Thanks for spotting these jaw-dropping remarks and providing your usual powerful commentary about them.ReplyDelete
Is this ever going to stop? Will the Church ever be allowed to move beyond teen age male angst, fears, confusions, and hero worshipping.Delete