Tag Archive: clergy


The Priest

christ the priest

 

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” –John 14:18

A discussion on the Mass cannot be separate from a discussion on the gift of the priesthood. Crowing the offering of the priesthood of believers, God’s ministerial priests make the Eucharistic sacrifice present. The word “priest” means one who makes sacrifice. Chosen from among men, he presides over the banquet of love. As “another Christ” his hands, voice and body become the very instruments of Christ, used to pour out every kind of grace. The priest’s vocation is to be steward of all gifts which the Mass imparts. We see clearly that his actions, words, prayers and vesture have something to teach us about the gifts.

Gold in the vesture of the priest is not belonging to the man, but to God’s presence which wraps him as a mantle. We think of how the prophets of old chose their successors by placing their mantle upon them. We think of how Christ elected his own apostles and remember that every priest is enrolled in the apostolic ministry of preaching the Gospel to every nation.

The oil of a priest configures him especially to Christ. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit burns a brilliant seal upon his soul. It is the oil of gladness, of Our Savior’s eternal priesthood. He goes to the wellspring of Christ’s own life and draws out the Eucharist from which we all drink. He gives us the sacrament that heals, atones and saves. During the elevation of the host and chalice, let us imagine that oil is being poured out over the people, cleansing us, strengthening us, making us new.

When the priest prays quietly at the altar, he is praying for himself- and for us. Jesus’s disciples asked him: “teach us to pray” and this is what the priest does. Like the Good Shepherd who leads us, he teaches us a silent way of prayer, of turning our eyes to the Heavenly Father and trusting in Him. He lifts up his children, diligently cares for them and feeds them honey from the promised land.

The priest does many acts of reverence during Mass. He bows his head, lifts his hands, makes small crosses and big crosses. Genuflecting before the consecrated Eucharist, he shows adoration for Christ. We worship with head, hands, feet and lips because Christ became man and worshiped his Father in this way. Watching these gestures and responding to them, our whole being participates in the Holy Sacrifice.

Lastly, the priest works hard to provide for our nourishment. He spends many hours in toil, tending to the sick, weak and spiritually wounded. His celibate fecundity and wholehearted devotion become rich milk flowing in the desert. By laying down his own life for us, he provides us with a model of Christian living. In following self-abandonment, we find true happiness. What a happy sight is a priest wearing his collar amidst a bustling, public place! The priest is a quiet, humble enduring token of God’s presence with us always.

mother of priests

 

It was my fault. I asked for it. Yes, some years ago, I asked that the Lord would make me the spiritual mother of a priest. In His greatness, He chose first to show me exactly what that meant. You see I thought this vocation entailed nice theological discussions, gentle mentoring, sending packages with cookies, crying at ordinations, joyously partaking of the altar and assisting with advice. My vision of sunshine and roses was shattered in the month of May, 2013. God showed me a way laden with pain and sorrow, which was not a flowery image but an echo of Calvary.

Without divulging the events of the past month,  I will tell you that after pleading so long, it was finally shown to me the requirements needed to be the spiritual mother of a priest. The mother of a priest lives in uncertainty, trusting everything to God who sees beyond the human realm. She is not Pollyanna- but Mary who hears a prophecy of arrows, tends a poor and bruised child, hated from birth, walks with him to the rugged cross and sees him buried in the cold tomb. She who would be mother to a priest must feel the pains of the mother of Christ. She must lose him for three days, find him in the temple, declaring independence from earthly things, must watch him be scorned, rejected and despised, stripped of everything so that he even cries “My God why hast thou forsaken me?”

Priesthood is a bloody, painful affair, fraught with dark nights, the sweat of Gethsemane, the agony of Calvary. Brave enough, a man must give himself up, but as Christ died completely, in body, soul and spirit, upon the cross, so a man must utterly die. More sorrowful still, the mother of that man who must witness it all.

In a short time, compared to the whole span of life, I relived Mary’s seven sorrows. I lost something that was cherished immensely and buried it in the earth. I said goodbye to my dreams and desires, to my complacence and happiness. In turn however, I gained a trust in God, a closeness to Blessed Mary and a promise of future resurrection. We live the gloom of Good Friday and wait through the emptiness of Holy Saturday so we may rejoice at Easter Sunday. It is always darkest before dawn and so the darkest eve of despair gives way to glorious, golden sunrise.

I also know now that the devil ruthlessly attacks those destined for the seminary door, before they have even stepped foot in it. God taught me how to put up defense, asking for the shelter of his angels. The fragile, sheet-metal casing of my heart, He hammered into shining, iron armor. With the ore of my soft, pampered hands, He chiseled a broadsword. And with that sword I will slash the devil. I will not forget but fight, my every prayer forming a fortress for our future priests. The sorrowful mother is wounded- and allows herself to be so. She lets the serpent bite at her heel so she may savor even more the moment when he is crushed. She endures crucifixion so her face may shine even more radiantly at the resurrection.

And when the mother of a priest kneels before the altar, wearied by that battle, the copious blood of Christ washes over her. The sweet, Eucharistic chalice is balm to her wounds, polish upon her sword, fire within her heart and the pledge of forsworn victory.

 

Mary, Mother of Sorrows, Companion at the Cross, Ewe of God’s Lamb, Light of Confessors, Queen of Apostles, Mother of Priests,  pray for us.

Last week a friend visited me. We got to talking about the Mass… and I showed her a video on Youtube of a priest consecrating the Holy Eucharist ad orientem. No, this is not the name of a famous Chinese restaurant- it means facing towards the east, towards the altar. Inadvertently, I started gushing about the priesthood, what a gift it is and how it is a profound sign of romance with God.

To begin, the Mass itself is shrouded in nuptial language and symbolism. Paul refers to the Church in his letter to the Ephesians: “And the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:31-32) The book of Revelation was originally called “Apocalypsis” from Greek, meaning “unveiling” and it describes in detail a heavenly liturgy and the sacrificial wedding feast of Christ. Christ himself used wedding imagery in his parable of the King’s banquet where those without proper garments were cast away. Most telling, one of the angels gathered around heaven’s throne in Revelation exclaims:  “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (19:9)Everything about a Mass is nuptial. When Mass bells ring, it is a summons to all, to come to this wedding feast. Wearing garments, the priest approaches the altar from the church’s central aisle, as do a bride and groom. The penitential rite asks for God’s forgiveness, so we may be cleaned of sin and given the white garments of grace. We approach the Holy Eucharist from that same aisle, bowing in humility and accepting the flesh of Christ, our Divine Spouse.

Now that this short background is given, I will speak just of the priest, because it was what I saw in the priest that brought me to such admiration. A Catholic priest is one wedded to the Church- and to Christ. The sacrament of Holy Orders unites him with God Almighty in an unseen bond of untold power. It melds his soul into the soul of the Church, which is the Holy Spirit sealed by the blood of Christ. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the consecration, ad orientem. (note: I am not going into liturgical politics here and am aware that consecration ad populum or facing the people, is wholly valid. So please do not misinterpret things)

The priest becomes closed to the world and opened to God. He stands there, partly in silence, sometimes muttering and sometimes speaking plainly. A conversation is happening there, a dialogue so hidden that we dare not pry, we don’t ask “Father what were you saying back there?” It is a conversation so tender that the very heart of Christ seems manifest before us. We perceive Calvary and we gasp at the horror- and sheer beauty of it.

While an epic scene unfolds, the priest becomes less like a stuffy celibate and every minute more like an enraptured spouse. He leans close, whispers sweet nothings to God, his Beloved and gazes into the space between heaven and earth. The man without a wife and family experiences the greatest of intimacies. In amorous poetry matching the Biblical Song of Songs, the soul makes love to God. Here, the priest seems to say: “My Dearest, My Only, I am here…I worship you… I love you. Stay with me and never leave!” The priest becomes as John, the Beloved who leaned upon Our Lord’s breast and who, captured by love, ceased to worry.

Someone who relinquished what is so natural and so goodly for every human man suddenly realizes why. In that moment, nothing is worth more than God. Nothing beckons and calls but God alone. The priest realizes only he can approach the altar, only he may caress the sacred host or raise the precious chalice. Only he can place his head on the breast of Christ, place his hand into His saving wounds and draw out the sacrifice which is mankind’s salvation. What a gift! What profound intimacy and divine love! All the mercy, long-suffering and tenderness of God revealed here!

 

ad orientem

 

Our only proper reaction is to shrink back, bend low and weep as did the Israelites when smoldering clouds wreathed the mountain of Sinai. We can say, “Jesus Christ, my Lord and God, have mercy!” One thing we absolutely cannot do is ignore it, shrug or say in prideful impatience: “What is going on? Will he hurry up?” Even non-Catholic and non-Christian persons cannot pretend that something mysterious is not happening. Whether one adores or despises the priest, he can’t look away; he can’t help but be moved on some level. God is at work in the hands of a priest. He declares His love through the whispers of a priest. He uses lowly men, both wicked and saintly men, doubtful and confident men, ugly and wondrous men, selfish and loving men. Yes, God, who created the entire Universe in ages primordial, chooses mere man that He may draw all men to Himself.

Please consider buying my Cardinal Fratelli books for someone special this Christmas. Revolving around the mishaps of a blundering clergyman, they feature a light-hearted look at Christian faith, family and life. They are available on Amazon.com, Nook and Kindle!

 

 

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^ This is the first volume, it introduces us to the lovable character of Cardinal Fratelli and shows us the little mishaps that occur every day as he lives out his priestly vocation. See how profoundly, a relationship with the Lord effects his life in meaningful- and comical ways!

http://www.amazon.com/Misadventures-Cardinal-Fratelli-1/dp/1477632255/ref=la_B0074P0N5G_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351615524&sr=1-1

 

 

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The second volume is all about Cardinal Fratelli’s plans for Christmas. Here, you get to meet his entire family and see their funny quirks. A strong message about the real reason for Christmas is also written into these pages. It is wonderful, endearing and hilarious!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Misadventures-Cardinal-Fratelli-Fratellis/dp/1478141514/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_2

 

 

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A FUNNY NEW YEAR!

 

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENT:

 

Cardinal Fratelli now has his own blog so all posts and chapters of his misadventures will be moving over to here:

http://thoughtsoflightinthedark.blogspot.com/

 

I hope you enjoy!!!!

Sooner or later, it comes natural for a writer who is engrossed in their new Catholic faith and in all things ecclesiastical, to want to write about clergy. Stern priests waging war against the powers of darkness, crafty bishops and determined popes make for excellent characters. They are themselves, each one man, laid bare and, for the most part, without mundane desires, clichéd motives and romantic affairs. The story of a clergyman is simply, the story of a soul.

It is easy for a writer to get swept up in epic matters when dealing with clergy characters, partially, from the attributes aforementioned and partially, because they are characters who seldom display their vulnerable, human traits. Indeed, many fictional churchmen are iron-willed or altogether immoral while most, real men waver somewhere in between. Sometimes, in works lacking original quality, they are one-sidedly apathetic, fanatical or power-hungry, to the point where the man is erased and the stereotype is all that stands.

Clergymen have dual-citizenship as to speak. The man dwells on earth, entrapped within sensations, desires and fears while the soul of the man fixes eyes on the heavens, ever battling unseen demons. He is man, wholly man. And despite his impotence or cowardice, he embodies the meaning of what it is to be man.

A priest, whether portrayed as a ruthless tyrant or a weeping martyr, is Adam. The Spirit of God is breathed into him, giving new life and new meaning to the fatherly vocation. Even the most-abominable cleric, which is seen throughout books and movies, is called to be Adam, a tiller of the soil, a tender of the flock and a father of the household. He is the caretaker of Eve, the woman, the Church. He can teach his spiritual children to be like Cain or Abel. And mostly, like Adam, he will fail, will waver and will sin.

But it was through Adam that the tribes of Israel were born and the line of David. Where sin abounds so does virtue. That is why the name of the evil pope will be forgotten in literature, except perhaps the most infamous examples who hearken back to Judas, and why the name of the good will last onwards. Shallow people get caught up in the life of Alexander VI or Cardinal Wolsey, and think their stories to be epic romances whereas people of true, deeper faith are enraptured by the lives of Leo The Great or John Fisher. They preoccupy themselves with those who are living, whom they will meet one, grave day in heaven and ask of them untold questions.

Verily, where Adam failed, there is Christ, the True Adam and True Priest. Where there is sin, there lies hidden a story of redemption. The life and death of a clergyman is measured by sin and redemption. In a good story, one you will want to read again and again, the sinful priest realizes his destiny. He eventually shrugs off the weight of the world, repents and then dies as a chaste, old man- or at least, bequeaths to his children the virtues he never himself learned. The story of a wicked cardinal does not become epic when he falls from grace, robs the poor or defiles his body- no; this tale only enters the realm of saga when he gives himself back to God.  It is repentance that gives sin worth- otherwise it is just obscene repetition, only good for backroom novels and second-rate literature.

When writing of clergy; keep three factors in mind: every priest is a sacrifice and a sacrifice-er, a ruler and a slave, a virgin and a father.

      The priest is a victim, offered up for sake of his people. Even the most worldly of priests did not own themselves. Their breath was taken from them in the end just like every other man’s, their toils laid into the foundation of the Church. The priest is a lamb, led to slaughter. If any trouble or misery fall upon his flock, it shall fall upon his shoulders. At the same time, he offers sacrifice, the one and only Eucharist of Jesus Christ, the Eternal Lamb of Heaven. The most corrupt and vile cleric must still, despite all his ventures and wills, prepare this Most-Holy sacrifice at the altar.

         The priest rules over his family and flock. He is father and presider over them yet he is also a manservant before them and the entire Church of God. He bows down his head beneath the flock’s sins and bares them up in absolution. Even if he may be devoid of life in himself, he must immerse the newborn soul into baptismal waters. Even if he repents not, the priest must provide the sweet unction of forgiveness at every deathbed.

       Did you consider that even the lustful priest, after his own flesh, is yet a virgin? There is a right way and a perverse way that one is virginal: The Godly priest keeps chastity and prudence at his side, knowing not charm or romance or affections. He is like Christ, born of a virgin, married to Heaven and not to this world. However, one can be in his spirit, a boy and never a man. His soul knows not the consummation with Christ and stays to itself, waning in spiritual poverty. By this second way, is the priest who commits debauchery. While he is virgin, the priest is a father of many children. As the Great Apostle Paul, he becomes father to his children by the Gospel. As they are babes, he feeds them and raises them up, giving them spiritual meat in good time. Married to God, he gives himself away and lays down life so he may sire mature children of faith.

What are good models or mold for clergyman characters? I suggest simple reference to the Scriptures, for therein, lies the ultimate saga of priesthood. I have said before that the priest is like Adam. Thus, the bishop is like Moses, the cardinal like Peter and the pope like King David. Yet, they all must be like Christ- or else, they are the same as Judas. The priest is Adam, tiller and husband of the Church. He is the primal man, closest to original nature. He wills good at all times, though weak-willed and gullible, and perishes in the duties of protecting his family and flock. By the sweat of his brow, he lives, by the outpouring of self, he loves. His children are many. The best priest of fiction will mimic in every way, Adam, that first patriarch.

     The bishop is Moses, law-giver and miracle-worker. He rules the Church. He is covenanted man, closest to what God wills him to be. Christ sees in the bishop a meager and inferior reflection of Himself. The bishop leads his people unto new frontiers; he quells their disputes like a high-priestly judge. He is so united to the flock that on his body, their suffering is mirrored. When he wavers, so do they. When he sins, they do despair.

        The model cardinal is as Peter, prince and steward of the Kingdom. He governs the church, brother to the bishop, sharing in the priesthood. He is also covenanted man, urged by God’s will. However, like Peter, the Chief disciple, he represents power mixed with weakness. His courage quickly becomes cowardice yet his every curse becomes a holy blessing.

        The most-legendary pope is David, holder of the keys, royal arbiter of the Kingdom. He judges the Church. He bears the burden of the Covenant, commanded by God’s will. Like David of Old, he lingers between grave sin and untold holiness. With each and every commission of adultery, his heart is rent and his soul driven to repentance. The words always upon his lips are: “Miserere me Deus.” “Have mercy on me, O God.” He represents both Christ and the flock. Because the saints wage constant war with devils, the pope will be embodied by thus. If he makes a judgment with evil, he reflects Satan and when judging rightly, he mirrors the Lord Christ. Like Adam, his sin is carried onto the next generation but like David, he is foresworn a fixed place, free from hell’s pressing dominion, at the Lord’s door and gate.

Study these types and write of them carefully. Know what it is you are telling. Cling to the eternal romance which God has unraveled before mankind, throughout history, and you will hold within it, the story of all wickedness and virtue, of all grief and joy, of all death and life- the story of our fall and rise- and of our final salvation.

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My book “The Misadventures of Cardinal Fratelli” is now available AS A PAPERBACK!!!

purchasing details:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Misadventures-Cardinal-Fratelli-Volume/dp/1477632255/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339633360&sr=1-4

Praise God! (do happy dance)

Chapter 2.

A Ceremony.

 

Morning began nicely for Cardinal Fratelli. He rose, dressed, said morning- prayer, celebrated Mass and ate a hearty breakfast.  Right after finishing his eggs and pastry smeared with pepper jelly, he met with a priest from a neighboring parish, Father Adreo and they discussed opening on orphanage in Lucca.

“A wonderful idea,” Fratelli said, leaning back, sipping a hot cup of tea.

Dina quickly poured Adreo a cup but the young priest politely refused.

“This is something very close to my heart,” he then said.

Fratelli answered, “I have not a single problem with it long as we can raise funds and can find a proper location within the city…maybe I’ll look into something.”

“Oh thank you, Your Eminence,” Father Adreo said standing up.

He took Fratelli’s hand, kissed his ring and hurriedly departed. Both of them had quite a bit of work to do before noon.

Glad to have a moment of free time, Fratelli sat enjoying a cup of tea, watching bright, yellow afternoon sun spread through windows. Soon, Dina approached.

“A fine gentleman is here to see you, about a blessing in the town square?”

“Oh yes, I forgot!” Fratelli said, “They want me to bless Lucca’s newest water-fountain.”

It was custom for the bishop of Lucca to bless new fountains, statues and fixtures, and it would be a glamorous ceremony indeed. Gianni soon scampered in. The boy certainly hadn’t forgotten about it.
“Let’s go, let’s go!” he said, running in a circle.

“Please be calm Gianni,” Fratelli scolded, “I need you, after all, to the carry the train of my cappa- and to do so with dignity and grace.”

Hearing the word “cappa” made Gianni’s eyes light up even more. The long, bright scarlet cape was his favorite garment and he couldn’t wait for Fratelli to wear it. Fratelli however, could wait.

After meeting with the gentleman who then left, anxious to arrive at the ceremony, Fratelli slowly prepared and dressed for the occasion. Father Rodrigo approached with a younger deacon who worked in the parish. Lastly, Gianni came forth, sucking his stomach in to appear slimmer in his white server’s robes.  Much to Gianni’s anticipation, the two clerical assistants ahead of him wrapped the great, volumous cappa around Fratelli’s shoulders. Smiling proudly, Gianni held its train off the ground. Carefully, with help from Father Rodrigo, Gianni folded up the draping garment, making sure none of the fine cloth could snag or catch, as they neared an elaborate carriage. Together, they climbed aboard and headed to the town square. Now, the piazza was only a few blocks away, quite close to the cathedral, but they wouldn’t let the cardinal walk and risk dirtying his garb. It was important to make an entrance. Feeling a slight knot in his stomach, Fratelli could care less for entrances as he heard music playing in the distance.

People milled about the piazza, children ran to and fro, being reined in by their mothers, and several dignified individuals waited in a line. These greeted Cardinal Fratelli as he stepped out of his carriage.  Crowds and music clamored as they exchanged salutations. In an elaborate but small procession, Fratelli walked around the piazza, mouthing silent prayers. Draping behind him, the cappa stretched like a thick ribbon of red. Once nervous but now confident and regal, Fratelli smiled. He waved even more dramatically, inciting claps and cheers. The wind began picking up and his own excitement grew.

Suddenly a strong gust blew forth and sent the great cape billowing, Gianni almost lost grip on the cloth but he grabbed it. Something then tugged back. The boy tugged again- and again, there was resistance. Annoyed by all the tugging, Fratelli looked over his shoulder to find an edge of the cappa snagged on a nearby shrub!

His cheeks blushed from sheer embarrassment, seeing the many onlookers. Some of them, mostly children, giggled while a few women gaped in horror. He wished sorely to hide his face yet saw Gianni trying to free the cape, hands digging into the cloth.

“Careful, careful!” Fratelli said, rushing towards the snag and gently loosing it.

Finally, trying to forget the mishap, pushing it from his mind, Fratelli walked onwards. He reached the water fountain; its newly-hewn stone angels and fish decor gleaming grey beneath bright sunlight. Many eyes fell on him, eyes of every color as he began the blessing:

Lord Christ, thou art the fount of eternal life. You give us the water that lasts forever. Bless here, this fountain, I pray, assembled by human hands, for the good of this city and may it refresh our thirst and remind us of your gentle Providence, In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”

Gianni would have readily mimicked Fratelli’s blessing gesture if his hands weren’t full of scarlet cloth. A band loudly played as people cheered. A few adolescent boys set off fire-crackers that sent smoke into the warm air. As Fratelli turned, one of the dignitaries stopped him. Asking:
“Your Eminence, won’t you stay for the music?”

“I apologize Signor, I have too much to do,” Fratelli answered.

The dignitary kissed Fratelli’s ring and gave farewell. Almost sadly, the cardinal took his leave. The whole way home, no one spoke. Even Gianni kept quiet. However, once they arrived back at the cardinal’s villa, his energy crept out. Grabbing the end of Fratelli’s cappa, Gianni tossed it around his shoulders, waved his arm in the air and said, “Bless you.”

“Stop it!” Fratelli hissed, snatching back the end of his cape.

After a while, Fratelli changed from his elaborate dress into a regular, red cassock. Then, feeling exasperated, he sat in the parlor, sighed and began reading a document. Dina brought hot tea and he nodded thankfully. Rodrigo came into the room, saw Fratelli’s forlorn, tired face and he stopped, thinking a moment.

“What is it?” Fratelli asked, glancing up.

“Well,” the priest began, twiddling his stocky fingers, “Your Eminence, I think you may be in need of a vacation.”

Setting the document down, Fratelli spoke:
“In all my 5 years of being a cardinal, I have never asked for nor was granted a vacation.”

“So, don’t you think that makes you even more in need of one?”

“I suppose you are right. I have been terribly overworked and tired lately…but where would I go?”

They both stared at eachother, pondering. At last, Fratelli stood, excitement flashing in his warm, amber eyes.

“I heard that Pisa is quite lovely this time of year. Glimmering seas, fine food, sunshine, palms swaying- altogether splendid.”

“Well then…” Rodrigo answered.

Like a young boy, Fratelli dashed out of the room.

“A vacation!” he cried joyously, his voice echoing down the hall, “Just what I need. Indeed!”

Anti-clericalism.

 

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.”   – Proverbs 4:1

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”  – Hebrews 13:7

 

Let me tell you about a facebook experience I had:

 

Now all those who are familiar with “Cardinal Fratelli” are going to laugh.

I went into a group simply called “The Bible”, under the name and profile picture of “Cardinal Fratelli” and posted something about how we must obey God instead of the modern age. Immediately, several people responded accusing poor Fratelli of wanting to control people and one even praised Martin Luther for breaking away from the “tyranny” of the Catholic Church. The next week, I posted the same exact thing as myself with my own picture and several other people responded, congratulating me for my godly insight! They hated Cardinal Fratelli not because of what I had him say but because of what he looked like: A Catholic priest.

The priestly hierarchy of Catholicism is often subject to attack.  Opponents believe the church should be egalitarian, congregational and individualistic. They despise any vestige of power in the church, dislike priests – especially bishops, and tend to struggle with authority.

However, the New Testament itself speaks of ministerial offices in God’s church; elders who teach, deacons who serve and bishops who rule. In fact, the bishop’s office is usually described as not only magisterial but governmental. They are called “guardians of the flock.”

Certainly, the Apostle Peter advises church elders not to “Lord over the flock”. Indeed, a bishop who belittles or subordinates others abuses his authority and doesn’t please God. However, the existence of ecclesiastical hierarchy isn’t based on subjection. It’s not there to enslave or demean anyone but rather is for edification, unified teaching and doctrinal preservation.

Under bishops, the Church defined a majority of Christian doctrines which are taken for granted. The human and divine nature of Christ, His deity, the Trinity and the New Testament Canon itself are gifts from this conciliar, hierarchal church. Without such a foundation, Christian teaching becomes flimsy sinking back into the past.

Why the objection?

People who have anti-clerical tendencies usually misjudge the clergy’s role, struggle with obeying authority-figures or perhaps suffered past-mistreatment by a priest. Many scowl at ministries being off-limits to others, elaborate priestly vestments or respect shown towards a bishop. Some fail to realize that in God’s eyes, they are just as important and loved. The Bible is correct when describing all people’s equality before Christ. When misinterpreted, this teaching means something entirely different; a church-society without defined roles.

Samewise, Scripture teaches that not all share the same ministries or gifts. Being in the Body of Christ does not mean everybody gets elected bishop, no, rather everyone has unique offerings. When these gifts are used properly, Christ’s mission is fully realized.

Now, everyone knows clergy don’t get out much between celebrating Masses, hearing confessions, serving at funerals, reciting fixed prayers (seven per day to be exact), studying Scripture and keeping all kinds of appointments. But there is one time when the whole entire Catholic Church gets down: Easter.

For pious-faced priests, it’s not about chocolate, bunnies or eggs. On this day, Jesus has risen- so let’s enjoy life in every way! …Anyway, here are pictures from this year’s Easter party:

 

The Arrival.

Things you need to know: From left to right, Monsignor Lombardo, Father Ed (who is 70 and rather likes his Santa-Claus beard), Cardinal Lucas (no relation to George Lucas), Cardinal Montilo (allergic to peanuts) and lastly, Bishop Manuel (who, obviously has trouble minding his own business).

Cardinal Montilo accepts Manuel’s invitation to eavesdrop while Lucas shows reservation. After all, there could be pair of lovers beyond that door saying things their chaste ears shouldn’t hear. Manuel firmly decides his “chaste ears” could use some excitement.

 

                            Holy Mass.

Before getting around to more comical pictures, we must quickly gloss over the most vital part of Easter. No Easter festivity would be complete amongst this faithful crowd without Sunday morning Mass. Early, they are up, running and proclaiming the mystery of Christ’s resurrection. The cathedral interior looks like a florists shop, smells like the temple of Jerusalem and sounds like heaven.

No thing reminds them of our frail, broken humanity, which was snatched from certain death, more than the solemn, Paschal Eucharist. (If you want to know what that means, look up “Passover” or you can simply ask us.)

 

Music.

Soon, all the ladies and nice gentlemen get together after Mass. To the left, Cecilia shows off her pink dress. Lydia is playing the piano. The buxom-bosomed woman sitting between them is Arielle. Actually, she started singing first. However, the men took over with their awkward number from “Don Giovanni.”

Belting out a sweet aria, making up the parts he doesn’t know, Cardinal Montilo occupies central-stage. Do you see that young cardinal next to him? He’s Cardinal Fratelli, actually the youngest clergyman there and he holds a ground-melody pretty well. However, not everyone was impressed with their raucous sound- a small bird kept repeatedly diving into the window.

 

The Dinner.

They ate once Cardinal Lucas said a beautiful prayer of grace that no one wrote down and consequently when trying to recall it, people used off-color phrases like: “filled with God’s wonderful goodness”.

We all look forward to Easter ham and these clergymen were no exception! Standing in the far background is Father Ed. He wanted to serve his fellow guests but got distracted in a lively conversation about dog-training.

You should easily recognize Fratelli in the middle, laughing as if he heard the funniest thing in the world. Being very rash and excitable, he had contested with Bishop Manuel as to who could drink more wine. See, within these circles, manliness is determined by the number of languages you speak or how much fine liquor you can handle.

Of course, Manuel doesn’t care much now. He joins Cardinals Lucas and Montilo in the forefront. They are debating the true, historical date of Easter.

 

Winding down.

Dinner can’t last forever. Eventually everyone gets full, tired, drunk or cranky. Not to say any specific person became all four… The closest thing we have to an embarrassing after-party picture is this one.

To the left, Bishop Manuel holds a feather. Finding poor Cardinal Fratelli fast asleep, he couldn’t let a perfect opportunity go to waste…

That’s Monsignor Lombardo laughing in the other corner, obviously glad it isn’t him.

 

 

Long story short, the guys wanted me to wish you a happy and blessed Easter. So here it is:

 

Happy Easter!

From: FunnyEminence.

http://funnyeminence.tumblr.com/