“Why Is a Good Priest So Hard to Find?”
We don’t run contests, but if we did, and if we were picking the most significant article in the national Catholic press for 1995, we’d probably give First Place to Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha for his “Crisis in Vocations? What Crisis?” in the October 8 Our Sunday Visitor.
Over the years we’ve persistently heard from readers, especially those in troubled dioceses, that they’ve had the darndest time finding a decent, orthodox parish in which to worship. Priests attack the Pope and Catholic doctrine from the pulpit. Other, less angry, priests don’t go that far — they simply never mention the distinctive teachings of the Catholic faith, such that a good Methodist would find nothing to disagree with. Sometimes the words of the liturgy are so butchered (“God our Mother” seems to be the latest craze) that one has the sensation of being in some New Age conventicle.
Why does this happen? There are many reasons, but Archbishop Curtiss put his finger on a major reason: the way in which potential seminarians are screened in certain dioceses.
We know that there are plenty of orthodox young men who feel called to the priesthood, and that, overall, today’s seminarians are more orthodox than they were 15 years ago. And Curtiss presents evidence that vigorously orthodox dioceses with orthodox vocation directors have plenty of seminarians — no “vocations crisis” there!
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At the foot of the Cross, John shared in the suffering of his beloved master. In some mysterious way faith derives from suffering.