Never have priests been so under-appreciated, misunderstood, and, in many instances, reviled. But never have they been so needed!
This is a time of unprecedented crisis, both in the Church and the world and, just when the role of the priest in the lives of the faithful should be key, there are fewer and fewer faithful priests to be found.
The priest is under attack constantly; certain countries are attacking the legal basis of the seal of the confessional and priests who preach traditional Catholic teaching on morality are finding themselves ostracized and marginalized.
And, with the decreasing number of vocations, there are constant calls to redefine and “update” the role of the priest. These calls come from within and without the Church. This year the Holy See has called for an upcoming synod, the Amazonian Synod, which threatens to drastically change the role of the priest and the nature of the priesthood.
German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller recently published a public criticism of the “working document,” the planning tool, of this Amazonian Synod. In his critique, Cardinal Brandmüller warns that one of the major aims of the synod is “the abolishment of (priestly) celibacy and the introduction of a female priesthood—starting first with female deacons…”
While this plays out, many Catholic faithful are losing their understanding and appreciation of the priest as the unique conduit of sacramental grace, without whom, it is almost impossible to make it to Heaven. How many souls have practically abandoned the sacraments of penance and the last rites of the Church? And, others, who still appreciate the importance of these sacraments have great difficulty finding faithful traditional priests who will hear their confession or administer the last rites.