Why We Pray For Catholic Priests

Cardinal Franc Rode is no stranger to controversy. As the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, which oversees those in religious life, he has made many statements that call attention to the plight of modern day Catholic priests who are, in many cases, caught between their vocation and the temptations of the world.

On January 7 of this year he spoke to the 35th General Congregation of the Jesuits, and told them, “It is with sorrow and anxiety that I see that the ‘sentire cum ecclesia’ [to think with the Church] of which your founder frequently spoke is diminishing even in some members of religious families. The Church is waiting for a light from you to restore the ‘sensus Ecclesiae.’”

And as he pointed out this past Friday, the priesthood in general is becoming too worldly. Cardinal Rode was being interviewed by the Italian news agency, ANSA, and said that many Catholic priests are neglecting their duties under the pressure of conforming to secular culture.

United Press International as well as Catholic World News reported on his comments.  Here is an excerpt:

The Vatican cardinal in charge of monks, nuns and non-parochial priests blamed a drift towards bourgeois values for a worldly and disobedient priesthood.

Cardinal Franc Rode told the Italian news agency ANSA that priests and members of religious orders tend to seek personal freedom, abandoning community living, prayer and even the cassock. …

Rode cited a number of ways in which the values and moral relativism of the religious has become visible, ''Freedom without constraints, a weak sense of the family, a worldly spirit, low visibility of religious clothing, a devaluation of prayer, insufficient community life and a weak sense of obedience."

For those of us who pray for a strengthening of leadership qualities among our priests and bishops, this latest report gives a bit of insight into the ongoing challenge each priest and religious faces in a world that grows increasingly hostile to God. Reflecting on Cardinal’s words should give each of us cause to ponder what we can do to help strengthen our children, our pastors and our fellow Catholics so that devoutly-lived vocations once again are on the rise.

The devil can only win when good people remain silent. We know this and actually live it in our efforts to save the innocent from the threat of death by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. In that same vein we should be outspoken in our faith, assured that perhaps by our example those who are called by God to religious life will be inspired to challenge the world, reject moral relativism and imitate Christ.

For as Pope Benedict XVI has said, “A dictatorship of relativism is being formed, one that recognizes nothing as definitive and that has as its measure only the self and its desires.”

Until that dictatorship is overcome by religious fervor, many will continue to be deceived into loving the world more than the Lord, our God.