Thursday, July 11, 2019

Sunday Sermon, July 7 -- Right Worship is the Answer to the Priest Shortage; not married priests, not deacons, and not female ministry (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

"The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he send labourers into his harvest."

When Jesus recognized a shortage of vocations, he did not look to human solutions (for example, relaxing the requirements of what was expected of the 72 disciples), but rather encouraged prayer. Prayer is the answer to the shortage of priests - and not only prayer, but right and proper worship of God. If we want more priests, if we want our young men to be able to discern a vocation to the priesthood, we need reverent worship following the norms of the Church. Even more, we recognize that traditional parishes are a source of vocations to the priesthood and religious life (some studies indicate that a young man is seven times more likely to become a priest if his family attends a traditional parish).

Many people today offer other solutions to the shortage of priests. But the solution isn't to change the norms on priestly celibacy - because celibacy is a great gift, and Christ Jesus was a celibate priest. Others recommend ordaining permanent deacons to help fill the lack of priests - but deacons aren't priests, and it is not proper to the theology of the diaconate to use deacons as a means to lighten the load of sacramental ministry for priests.  Finally, others recommend that we look to an increased role for women in the Church as a response to the priest shortage - but women have their own proper role, and it isn't to make up for a lack of priests!

Listen online [here]!


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