Recently Hans Kung urged priests worldwide to express their dissent with the church leadership. I’m not sure how to do that. Many of us are upset about many different things. There is a serious polarization among us pretty much based on age and year of ordination that is loosely characterized as Vatican II Priests and John Paul II Priests. Some are concerned with their local issues, others with church-wide issues.
Some priests’ organizations are taking positions on affairs in their own country which may or may not have implications for other countries. The current synod in Rome seems to be a dog-and-pony show with few bishops talking about what is really going on among the folks who are, or used to be, in the pews. Most of the comments seem only to reaffirm the party line, although some recent statements might offer a glimmer of hope. What are ordinary priests to do with all this?
Most priests have their hands full with their everyday ministry whatever it may be. They don’t have the energy to get involved in something that probably won’t have any foreseeable positive impact on them. Many who are not happy with the way things are going in the church are a bit on the elderly side and long-suffering, and are just trying to cope and keep on keepin-on. Many who do speak out have found they are often alone and are easy targets for folks and other priests who disagree and who can be very nasty. Some who have expressed opinions have felt the heavy hand of local authority. Many who have looked forward to retirement have found their retirement date postponed almost at the last minute, and are just weary and worn out as they wonder if they will live to enjoy any rest at all. There is the feeling that they are just indentured servants, abused and mistreated – grown men whose future is still decided by one younger person who has almost total control over their lives, and absolute control over their livelihood.
Some priests’ organizations are trying to figure out their identity and purpose, which is no simple thing. The polarization among priests is unpleasantly challenging, and this is reflected in the various priests’ organizations. There is an enthusiasm among the members for their particular cause. Not everyone is dissatisfied with the current church. Some really like it.
Many priests believe the Holy Spirit is hard at work in the Church, and they wonder just what this Spirit is calling them to do.
Just sayin . . .