Attending a Catholic ordination: where's the the teaching ministry?

Today I attended the ordination to the presbyteral priesthood of a Dominican friar here in home-in-sojourn in Scotland. (I am, of course returning to the Middle East before the year's end--how could I stay away?)

A few remarks. It was a beautiful service. The choir was excellent. The archbishop cardinal was there and while I don't know him seemed very engaged in the liturgy.

What did trouble me--and this is the Protestant part of my Anglican heritage coming out--was the scant reference to teaching, preaching, and evangelizing connected to the priesthood. The priest is given--if I recall--only articles related to the Mass. During the readings and the sermon there were only a few incidental mentionings of the connection between the priesthood and the ministry of teaching. This is why I like Luther: his focus on the integral connection between the ministry of the Word qua sacrament and the Word qua proclamation is brilliant.

This close connection is, of course, in theory present in the Latin church. But in practice--specifically in this conferral of Holy Orders--it was (almost) entirely absent. I was greatly troubled. This is especially poingnant when one considers that he is "OP", or Order of Preachers. The very foundation of his religious order is preaching, and it was not mentioned.

On the other hand, I have found that the Scots know how to do Presbyterian church very well--much better than any where in the US that I have visited. There, Presbys seem like they are trying to be non-denom and it ends up being a service without the emotional impact of a good non-denom service AND without the sense of majesty and tradition you would find with, say, a good Anglican service. Here though, I have been to two services in the last three days where they have done Presbyterianism very well. I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but I really liked it. (Passing around the bread and wine was lame though--why do they do that?) They preached very well--that was a pleasant surprise.

Anyway, reflections form a conflicted Anglican who is too Protestant to be Roman Catholic and too catholic to be 100% Protestant.

Comments

Fred said…
that's certainly odd: the Dominican's I've known have really emphasized the preaching...
FrGregACCA said…
Well, there's always Eastern Orthodoxy...;)

I just pulled out my copy of the current RC liturgy for the ordination of a priest. In reviewing it, I have to say I don't share your perception. There are multiple references to the teaching, preaching, and evangelizing ministry of presbyters. You may wish to find a copy and review it.
Jeff said…
One small observation from an RC.

You are seeing the ordination of a PRIEST.

When a priest is ordained, he has already been ordained a deacon.

A deacon is already vested with the power to proclaim the Word of God and to preach.

I guess I would expect you would see more of what you like in the ordination of a deacon or of a bishop, who does not only proclaim but teach, in the fullest sense of that word.

I see a lot of consciousness of the teaching vocation of the priest among young ordinands today. They are very excited about it.

But the focus of the priestly ministry should be the Mass. And the Mass is the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and not at its heart an occasion for preaching, though preaching may be allowed and even encouraged.

If I had to go every day to a Mass without preaching or a service of preaching without the Mass, I know which one I would choose!
FrGregACCA said…
I have posted a fuller discussion of this on my blog. It is found here.

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