We are in the middle of the Year for Priests in which it is hoped we will all see a strong re-affirmation of Christ-like models of priesthood. Thanks to Pope Benedict we may just exit that age of sell-out clerics like Fr. John Jenkins of Notre Dame and come back to some sanity in priestly leadership. As an indication of how bad clerical hypocrisy gets, Fr. Jenkins presided over the arrest of Catholic pro-life protesters on campus and has consistently refused to ask the authorities to drop the charges. Some may spend a year in jail due to his “leadership” on this issue. Jenkins followed this by an announcement that he will attend the March for Life in Washington this year — a shameless two-faced gesture not lost on any of us who know what it means to be pro-life. We expect more from priests. In the new era of the priesthood, we need to get away from the flimsy, politically-motivated, “empty sutanes” (i.e., cassocks) and look to those who are providing the kind of priestly leadership that really brings souls to Christ.
Thankfully examples of good priests are becoming more readily available these days. One of these guys is Fr. James Farfaglia who is a new member of HLI’s Board of Directors and pastor of St. Helen’s Parish in Corpus Christi, TX. Father has written a book that is second to none in calling men to holiness and accountability for their marriages and their faith. The book is called Man to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men About Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life. Father James is a very strong priest, and his writing reflects that. His no-nonsense explanations of our fundamental commitments to God and others are a refreshing re-statement of how we are supposed to live — and thrive — in a world hostile to our basic values. Father has spent his priestly life ministering to people in real-life situations, so his pastoral judgment is tried and true.
Another marvelous experience of priesthood happened this week in Rome with the conference sponsored by the Australian and American chapters of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. The week was full of erudite lectures on the priesthood and the liturgy and was filled with prayer and good priestly fraternity. The highlight of it all was our participation in the Mass of Epiphany on Wednesday with Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica. I prayed for all our HLI supporters and friends and families there in the Holy City!
Please continue to pray for your priests, and commend us to Our Lady; more than anything, pray for a total renewal of the priesthood and hierarchy so that we may be able to stand strong against the evils of the day and meet the severe challenges of the days to come.
[Editor’s note: CE readers will recognize the name of our own Fr. James Farfaglia, long-time contributor to our site. Please see some excerpts and more reviews of his new book on our Theology on the Body channel: “MAN TO MAN: Entering into the Emotional World of a Woman” and “Man to Man – First Thoughts“.]