My buddy the youth minister rented a double decker bus to accommodate all of the LifeTeen kids who accompanied us on the Walk for Life last Saturday. I volunteered as a chaperone. I've got nothing against the Walk. It's done a lot of good work. This was my sixth, and as the years have gone by I've noticed that it's becoming more and more a big social occasion for Northern California Catholics. We were late to Mass at the San Francisco Cathedral, also known as Our Lady of Maytag. Archbishop Cordileone gave a good homily. Imagine, a Catholic prelate calling us to self-discipline and public witness!
Our group was asked to be in out in front. It's damn near impossible to keep an eye on everyone so we agreed on a meet up spot at the end of the Walk route. I saw my old advisor and current rector of St. Patrick's Seminary a few feet away. I walked over to say hello. He was startled. He didn't recognize my new look: 40 pounds lighter, shaved head, goatee. We were cordial but that feels like a life time ago now. Looking back on it, I entered the seminary because I loved the idea of the priesthood that I got from reading pre-conciliar books on the subject. Objectively, the priesthood is today what it has always been: men set apart to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the unbloody representation of Christ's bloody sacrifice on the cross offered to God the Father to appease his wrath and to give him the adoration and worship that is his due. In the real world where the rubber meets the road, I can't say most of the priests I've met have inspired any desire to be like them. If anything, they make me want to avoid touching the priesthood with a 10 foot pole. Many of them are burned out social workers who can't have sex. All of them have to preside over endless meetings and get continually henpecked by the legions of nice white ladies who make sure the parishes keep running. Granted, that's just what we see with our eyes and we cannot see the innumerable graces called down by every Mass or the joy in heaven when a sinner is reconciled to God in the confessional. But it does give one a headache trying to reconcile the Platonic ideal of the Church with our experience of her in most suburban parishes.
Afterward the group split up to browse along Fisherman's Wharf. It being San Francisco, we got some dirty looks and heckling from some of its fine citizens. One mean faced old broad gave us chaperones the evil eye and called out, "I feel sorry for the kids who are with you!" We replied, "Thank you, lol." We actually said ell oh ell, which made the kids laugh even harder. Even the woman cracked a smile. The kids who were in my charge decided on seafood for dinner. The couple at the table next to us came over to thank us for our witness. Our waitress didn't know what the Walk was about. When the kids told her, she said that it's an awesome cause and she supports us. The kids did good against the hecklers. I'm proud of them.