Monday, June 14, 2010

Is the "priest shortage" a blessing?

I sometimes wonder if the so-called "priest shortage" in the American Church is not a blessing. We have a presumptuous attitude to the Eucharist in this country: Everyone takes Communion and hardly anyone goes to Confession. But then it is a very dangerous thing to eat of the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily: See 1 Corinthians 11:23-27. Perhaps the declining number of priests is God's merciful way of helping us avoid such a serious sin...

That, by the way, reveals something about the nature of the priest shortage. There is no shortage of priests when I (not frequently enough) go to Confession. Usually there is no line and, sometimes, the priest is startled to see someone show up. So as far as the Sacrament of Confession goes, there is no shortage. In fact, we've got more priests than we need. Now we should not be taking the other Sacraments like Marriage or the Eucharist unless we are first taking the Sacrament of Confession. So, really, there is no shortage for those Sacraments either, for only as many Catholics going to Confession should be going to Eucharist. Again, I wonder if the "priest shortage" is God's way of guiding us into a right approach to the Sacraments, his way of putting an end to the abuse of the Sacraments.


Kev said...

Good points. Related to your main point is that, in my opinion, much of people's concern related to the priestly shortage is that they might be inconvenienced. Most people are used to having a church 5 minutes from their house that offers Masses at 7, 8 9:15, 11, as well as a Vigil if they they want to head to the lake on Sunday. Great point about Confession.

David T. said...

I think you are right about the convenience... maybe its too convenient.