Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Self inflicted wounds

The other night the diocesan vocations director came to speak to the LifeTeen kids. Afterward I confronted him and asked him point blank, "What was the real reason you guys told me to hit the bricks?" And the vocations director, God love him, gave me a much straighter answer than I could have ever expected: "We've studied you and your writings. The bishop feels you have a very Tridentine mindset and he doesn't think you'd be a good fit for this diocese. If you're still interested in the priesthood, you should check out the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter instead."

That was outstanding news. I was giddy. Even two days later I still feel as high as a kite. An enormous burden has been lifted. All of this time I had felt that God himself had rejected me personally. Objectively that wasn't true but emotionally it was a difficult cross to carry. It was a cross I had fashioned for myself, true, but it was still a hard thing to bear. Nonetheless, it confirmed in spades what I've said all along: if there are priest shortages anywhere in the Church, it's almost always a self-inflicted problem.

If bishops and seminary faculty are being honest, they'll tell you that the problem they face is not that too few men are interested in the priesthood. The problem is that there are too few of the kind of men they like who are able and willing to be priests given the modern understanding of the priesthood. By "Tridentine mindset," he meant that I believe the purpose of the priesthood, its reason for being, is the salvation of souls. My old adviser called it an excessively cultic understanding of the priesthood. In contrast, the modern opinion of the priesthood boils down to the priest being a social worker who can't date. It's about collaborative ministry, which in practice means the priest takes orders from committees of old women. It's about being an overworked guidance counselor who presides over the community instead of a spiritual father who leads his flock. Leadership is out, being a well meaning school marm like personality is in.

And that is definitely something I want no part of. I wouldn't touch that notion of the priesthood with a ten foot pole. It's not the way the priesthood should be, and that's no what it objectively is, but that's the way it is in practice today. Hell, sometimes I think God put me on this earth so I could kick his priests in the ass to do what they should be doing anyway: leading people to God. And if the current diocesan leadership is so blinkered by liberalism that they'll willingly turn away men who are able and willing to be priests simply because they don't want to be reminded of the Church's history and traditions, then I will get down on my knees and praise God for sparing me the indignity of having to work alongside the old buzzards.

You think I've been too much of a Reactionary Traddy before? If anything, I've been holding back. No more. I've been away from the Traditional Mass for too long. Thanks be to God.


  1. Mr. Levinson,
    May I ask why a man interested in the FSSP as a priest has anything whatsoever to do with anyone in the PUA community?

    1. I've repeatedly stated on this blog and elsewhere that the PUA lifestyle is not an option for me or for any practicing Christian. And I didn't say that I was still discerning the priesthood. The diocesan vocations director said that if I was still interested, the FSSP would be a better fit for me than my home diocese.

  2. I'm happy for you.

    Pray for me, please!