A Young Priest Sets the Record Straight for the Catholic Left

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This past week Sulpician Fr. Phillip J. Brown, rector of the Theological College, the national diocesan seminary of the Catholic University of America, thought it a good idea to grant an interview to the dissident media outlet the National Catholic Reporter. The topic? Is there a “Francis effect” noticeable to Fr. Brown among the current crop of seminarians, and if so, what does it look like?

In the article, Fr. Brown and the NCR present the all too common false narrative of the Catholic Left: namely, that those already ordained to the priesthood in recent years are not really interested in works of mercy and pastoral care, but rather only about traditionalism, and matters such as wearing the cassock and Communion on the tongue.

The following response is courtesy of Father Kyle Doustou, a priest of the Diocese of Portland, Maine. It is presented here with his permission.

A Young Priest Sets the Record Straight for the Catholic Left

The National Catholic Reporter article, written from an interview given by the out-going Rector of my former seminary, is very hurtful. The men who were formed in and ordained from Theological College over the past 10 years are some of the best and most pastoral men and priests that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Inventing a false dichotomy between a love for the Church’s traditions and a love for the people of God is a manipulative, ideological tool used to push forth one’s personal agenda.

I have known Father Brown for many years, and have a great deal of respect and admiration for him personally, but this public interview he gave with an openly dissenting “Catholic” publication warrants an alumnus response.

As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests that have passed through the halls of Theological College, allow me to say plainly to anyone who would agree with the tone and sentiment of this article that you have deliberately and painfully pigeon-holed men who love the Church and cast us to be pompous little monsters simply because we have a different theological/liturgical outlook than you.

You condescend towards us as if we were not thinking, opining, and sincere men.

You gossip about us, ensuring that we are “put in our places” and “taught a thing or two” by your confreres.

You confuse our strong convictions with arrogance and accuse us of being staunch when we are trying more than anything else to be faithful, helpful, and loving.

But let’s be quite honest…you don’t really know us because you never took the time to get to know us. You saw us when we were in the seminary chapel or over breakfast…but that’s about it.

Have you seen us at 2:00 AM in the hospital?

Have you seen us working late into the night on a funeral homily?

Have you seen us giving up our one day off a week to visit with a lonely elderly parishioner?

Have you seen us on our knees at night before the tabernacle weeping because we just buried a child earlier that day?

Have you seen us celebrate four Masses on a weekend, hear hours of confessions, and still show up to Sunday evening Youth Ministry?

Have you seen us wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because we simply ran out of time to do laundry?

Have you seen us muster a smile even when we’re exhausted, or miss Christmas with our families because we’re assigned 300 miles away, or forget to eat dinner because there’s another meeting to go to?

The answer is no. What you see are the cassocks and birettas and fiddleback chasubles and accuse us of being “out of touch.” Well the reality is, you are guilty of the very thing you accuse us of. You ignore our humanity, our struggle, our sincerity, and you fixate on external things to make your judgments.

As difficult as it is at times, I love being a priest with my whole heart. Not because it offers me an exalted status or any privileges, but because it offers me, and the people I serve, the means by which to attain salvation. I love the people I serve to death, and I would do anything within my means to help them. If you look at my cassock and presume otherwise, I can only feel sorry for you.

Myself and the other men who were indirectly insulted in this interview are the ones on the battlefield. As parish priests, we work hard, sacrifice hard, and try daily to live solely for God in Jesus Christ. Instead of insinuating that Theological College had to somehow put up with a decade or more of rigid, overly-conservative, and ideological seminarians, why not offer us a word of encouragement and perhaps even a prayer or two?

(Photo Credit: CC Watershed)

Posted on May 14, 2016, in holiness, liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 243 Comments.

  1. Thomas Bailey

    Way to respond in love and charity! Fr. Doustou, you are a shining example of orthodoxy and a true champion of the church.
    Thank you for your daily sacrifice.
    God bless you and keep you.

  2. Roman Catholics, i.e., every and all who are under the umbrella of “Catholic,” have no need to launch out into religious superstition. People and cultures develop superstitions; Dogma (Articles of Faith), the “truth to be believed” can seem insufficient to some folks. Clinging to Jesus, God Almighty, loving Him, as the motivating force of our lives, seems not enough, so folks create fields of interest other than Jesus, God Almighty. Ask any seminarian what has motivated him to join up. If he says “Because I love Jesus” and really means it, well his priorities are on the right track. All the other reasons must flow from this fundamental love for Jesus. And although the Name of Jesus is hardly used in the Roman Catholic Church-other than in the ritual-they have to overcome a shyness in expressing their love for Him as their first priority. If I hear a bishop/priest proclaim that the Church is “All about Jesus,” he’s got my attention. If Jesus is not the first “run to” for our problems, we surely have a problem.

    • Santiago Jauregui

      I’m assuming you’re not a practicing Catholic. Thanks for your thoughts, but rest assured, any serious Catholic knows a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation and bedrock of our life in the Church. Talk to a few of us if you doubt me. God Bless!

      • Your assumption is incorrect, and although most all the Catholics I’ve known have adored Him, most use “Christ” or “Our Lord” instead of His real Name when referring to Him. In English it is Jesus God Almighty. There is no disrespect-breaking the Second Commandment-in using His real Name respectfully.

    • That’s funny, since all we use is the name of Jesus in all of our prayers whether in Mass or outside of it, since the Church was the one who put together the Bible in the first place. Nice try though.

      • “Nice try though”? Don’t know what you mean by this. “Or outside of it,” I don’t think so. BTW, if you are in a parish that prints a bulletin, look for the Name of Jesus-not “Christ” or “Lord.” If it’s anything like mine, the Holy Name will not be in it.

      • Franklin P. Uroda, you really should find a new parish If Jesus is not mentioned in your bulletin.

  3. My son is also a Priest. Individuals have no idea of the time spent counseling people at 12:20 am b/c they are suicidal, or mssing out on family events b/c of Priestly duties. This was a great article and God Bless Father for taking the time to respond. Ann Francis

    • 7% of a priest’s time-usually-is spent in dispensing the Sacraments. With 93% of the rest of his time, I expect a priest to be up at all hours, ministering to the needy. It goes with the turf. If an ordained guy complains about anything in the Priestly vocation-like he’s being put upon outside his pay grade-he should move on to other things. Time to man up.

      • Regarding this specific blog post and priest, there wasn’t any complaining going on; simply fraternal correction of his former seminary rector. Also, regarding the 93:7 ratio…I would prefer to see that a bit more balanced. As ONLY our priests can offer the Holy Sacrifice and hear Confessions, there is just as much need (if not more) for that in today’s world. We need that supernatural duty fulfilled, that grace that only comes from the sacraments.

      • “7% dispensing the Sacraments” i.e, The Holy Sacrifice, Confessions, Anointing, (Baptism and Marriage can be covered by a Deacon. There are six deacons in our parish). Usually comes to about 12 hours a week, in a 168 hour week. Maybe a little longer, but usually not much more. As I mentioned, all the other “difficulties” go with the turf.

      • Many priests spend much more time than 7% with sacraments. And who are you , Mr Uroda, to say what you expect when the average priest has been doing just that for centuries? Priests today know what goes with the turf and do not need sarcastic reminders such as yours. Many many of them are not feeling put upon…and it is time YOU man up and show compassion to the priests who give up hours of needed rest to be available to their people all throughout the day. What proof do you have that everywhere across the country and around the world that most priests are not fulfilling their duty?

      • Wow…I suggest you go to Confession if your priest offers it. Insulting men of God is totally uncatholic. Shame is a lost condition…you should rediscover it. Humility too.

    • wow, you seem really out of touch with catholicism. the catholic church is always mentioning jesus with the highest of praise.

      • The Roman Catholic Church was founded by Jesus, God Almighty. He, unlike other founders of organizations, is alive and present in every aspect of our world. I’ve noticed that in official Church documents, e.g., The Apostolic Letter “Laetamur Magnopere” of Pope John Paul, Jesus’ Vicar at the time, makes no mention of Jesus’ Name. This document is the intro to the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” a supremely important book. In the Apostolic Constitution-“Fidei Depositum”- the Pope breaks down and mentions the Holy Name twice. His Name does occur, sparsely, in the 904 pages of the CCC. Pope Francis frequently mentions the Name of Jesus. Look at your Sunday bulletin. When I look at my bulletin, there is no mention of Jesus’ Name. The vast majority of hymns at The Holy Sacrifice never mention His Name. This absences of Jesus’ Name is not just a Catholic thing. Going into a Baptist bookstore in my area, the Name of Jesus is conspicuous by its absence. My wife was enthusiastic over a Catholic book “Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly. Mr. Kelly’s name is overwhelmingly in plain sight, on every page. The Name of Jesus is cursorily mentioned throughout the book. The overwhelming number of parishes bear the name of someone else, other than Jesus, in their titles. Who, and what is a parish about? These are just a few examples. Of course, everyone pays lip service, and acknowledges the tremendous statement in Acts 4,12. But, IMO, little else. Jesus is our Best Friend Who loves us like no other; He’s with us 24/7. Surely the literary devices of writing can creatively be used to inject the Name of our Beloved Friend, Jesus, God Almighty in word documents and other literary works. When St. Paul was grovelling in his conversion experience, He asked “Who are you, Sir?” The reply was “I am Jesus…”

      • Mr. Uroda, the infrequency with which Christ’s name is used in Catholic documents is simply explained by the high degree of respect accorded to “the name that is above every other name” (Phil. 2:9). Pope John Paul II once said that he usually preferred to say Christ because of the very respect which his family and culture taught him to have for the name of Jesus.

        In terms of private devotion, Christ’s name is used much more frequently. The Jesus Prayer has gained popularity in Catholic circles and the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer” (CCC 435).

  4. God help the Church if this the dress wearing, fancy hat loving cassock and bieretta know it all crowd should ever gain ascendancy in the Church and hierarchy again. Latin is an extinct language and has been for centuries. Perhaps it’s time for all this ritualistic dress up and nonesense that goes with the pining for the Latin Mass to pass away just as the language has. I am sure Jesus can understand the vernacular of His peopletoday just as well as He can understand Latin. Nor do I believe that He gets upset if the all the ritual formulas, bowing, genuflecting, et. al. aren’t precisely followed. And I think that perhaps sticking your tongue out at Him just as He is about to present Himself to you at communion is extremely disrespectful. The reverence is in our hearts….. Latin or The Latin Mass doesn’t manufacture it, anymore more than English or the English Mass diminishes it. Enough of the nonesense. Let these young priests get wet behind the ears and learn a little about life, especially the life as lived by their married parishioners and what goes into a parish before trying to undo Vatican II and drag the Church back to the Middle Ages.

    • Jay, you are a one note wonder. Here’s how it works…I post something here at the blog, and then you come in as the “progressive” stereotype (think Nat’l Catholic Reporter com box type), reciting the Spirit of VII party line, but never saying anything new or ever (apparently) taking anything to heart…or to prayer…that I’ve posted. Seriously, EVERY pat objection and NCR talking point you laundry listed has been refuted either by my posts or by some of the exceptional commenters of this blog.

      I’ve noticed your comments have many “I”s and little else. You might want to take into consideration the views and arguments presented here week after week and see how you might cultivate a better understanding of true worship, Catholic tradition, and the rituals and organic development of the Roman Rite. I mean that sincerely.

      • LG, as a matter of fact the NCR article that the young priest found so objectionable was read in its entirety. There appeared to be very little basis for his crying and whineing. Perhaps he is a lad very disappointed with his life choices. Please excuse my use of the first person “I” in previous posts, however it usually is a helpful term when referring to personal experiences of faith, belief and understanding of truth, even though they may lead to a point of view substantially different than yours If one hasn’t been there one may talk of what others know or have heard, or been told, but as one grows more in one’s faith, how else does one speak of the revelations a faith filled life brings to each individual. Should one use the a papal collective “We” instead? As to the objection of yourself or other exceptional commentators to ideas expressed by others not in agreement with your premisses, please be advised that objections do not make refutations, no matter how hard you may wish that they do.
        True worship is what is practiced every day by millions of Catholics throughout the world happily attending Mass and receiving the sacraments in their own tongue. True prayer is locking yourself in a closet away from the world and praying as Jesus admonishes. True love is charity for our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of their denomination, having all been baptized into the Body of Christ. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, sent Pope Francis to lead us through these troubling times, to open the Doors of Mercy, so that as many as can be saved will be saved. We as Catholics should all be praying for his success and not trying to tear him down at every turn. Yes, beware of wolves in sheeps clothing, but here’s a clue, the wolf ain’t Pope Francis
        AMDG

      • Thanks Jay. You actually sound quite ignorant of true worship. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, just an assessment of the continual Catholic self-loathing comments you leave. True worship is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There are many beautiful and true ways to pray, but the worship of the Church (the liturgy…public ritual/worship) is the Holy Mass. I don’t know your age, but you sound to be of the generation who has spent the post-conciliar years destroying the sacred, beautiful, and good that was entrusted to you.

        You do use quite a few “I”s because you choose your opinion (repeatedly) over the tradition and wisdom of Holy Mother Church. Of course, when it comes to opinions, every one has one. But they are just that. I choose to rely on the teachings, quotes, and wisdom of those within the Church who know a great deal more than you and I, both experientially and historically.

        I appreciate that you read the blog and take the time to comment. I honestly do. I just would like you to see if the very purpose of my blog…the recovery of the sacred through that which is true, beautiful, and good in the Catholic Mass…might be taken to heart and to prayer more before commenting. Something to ponder hopefully.

    • Yeah, I resent that Latin-the language of the Roman oppressors who tortured and killed Jesus-should become THE Church language over Greek or Hebrew, but that’s what got the Church for hooking up with Constantine. And all the outward royal symbols of power and elitism as well. Hey, the Church is still young and we’ll get through the culture struggles. Many priests realize that they are, by their love for Jesus and the laying on of hands, servants of His people with a capital “S” and play down the poetry of “Priest, Prophet and King” in the ordination ritual. Guys like Frs. Bob Thames from the Diocese of Ft. Worth, or Tim Gollob in Dallas, Texas. Both are long in the tooth, but are still humble, productive servants. I pray that all priests have the juice that has kept these men walking the lonely valley/King’s highway.

      • Wait…what are you talking about Frank? Do you take issue with Divine Providence and our Catholic history? We should thank God that Constantine won at the Milvan Bridge. We should thank God that he was responsible for the Edict of Milan and the Council of Nicea. We should thank God that the Roman empire provided the roads, travel, trade, infrastructure, and authority to help the Church spread throughout the empire. I’ve never heard any past pope or Council apologize for the language of the Latin Rite. Why do you? Finally, the very point of this original blog post by Father Kyle was to say that these young priests understand their role to serve…and that it is in no way contradicted by the beautiful and sacred manner in which they offer the sacraments, or their devotion to the Traditional liturgy.

      • To say that Divine Providence is to blame for the Church’s history and its secular grandiosity is a bit of a stretch. The Holy Fathers probably were content with their position in the Holy Roman Empire and just took Latin for granted and were happy they weren’t food for whatever shape the lions took in their day.

      • Wonderful conjecture based on what exactly?

    • To be clear, the Mass you probably attend – the ordinary form of the Roman Rite – is a Latin Mass, regardless of the language predominantly employed in the saying of it. The ordinary form of the Roman Rite is the most common manner of celebrating Mass in the Latin Church – the Church to which you probably belong, unless you are a member of one of the Eastern Churches in communion with the Holy See. There are actually a variety of traditions in the Latin Church according to which Mass may be celebrated. In addition to the Roman Rite are the Dominican Rite, Carthusian Rite, Ambrosian Rite, and others. There is also an “Anglican use” of the Roman Rite. I think when one gets educated on the wonderful multiplicity of historically rooted liturgical traditions, one has an easier time overcoming any natural fear that may arise whenever Latin is spoken at Mass.

    • I’ve gone through all the stages of Roman Catholic Ritual: Tridentine version of the Holy Sacrifice (best for meditative souls, esp. “Low Mass”); Gregorian Chant-I understand Latin. The various Gregorian modes, THX to Solesmes, bring out the Scriptural texts so powerfully. Love it. Why others, who don’t understand Latin, like the Chant, is beyond me. The Holy Sacrifice, in the vernacular just before Vat II, and since, has the character of linking up the members. Love it. Some of the musical compositions are memorable and moving, and the vernacular is comprehensible. The pre-Vatican priestly ritual haberdashery is about the same; some priests don’t wear a maniple or a biretta (hat, not a gun). The ever-present books are still around. I’ve always thought that after reciting the routine prayers (Introductory and Canon) a hundred times, the celebrant should have the script down cold. Being a speech teacher, I’ve a critical ear as I listen to a well-planned and delivered short homily (Yea), and for the rambling, off-Scripture-topics of the day’s readings (boo). However, with the eyes of faith, I see a sea of human beings in love with Jesus, God Almighty as He offers Himself to His Father, and to us, His brothers and sisters. This is a great comfort to me.

      • I think you’d really like Our Lady Queen of Heaven in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I know I do. But I also like the cathedral in Lake Charles, which was constructed and outfitted in an earlier era. It is lovely in its ornateness. There was a commenter on here – whether he had any formal theological or liturgical formation I don’t know – but anyway, he made a comment which, for all its simplicity, resonates with me. He more or less said that grocers offer both creamy and crunchy peanut butter….why make someone drive hours for one or the other? For me, so long as the peanuts are of good quality and lovingly processed, I’m happy with both kinds of peanut butter. I might gravitate toward crunchy but I prefer organic, small batch creamy peanut butter over mass produced crunchy peanut butter. If that makes sense…..

    • Wow..you epitomize a Vatican II fruit…bitter sour and with no brain cells to speak of…you ever wonder why the church is collapsing…a lack of wisdom, charity, humility, and a whole host of other virtues….it is full up on vices though.

    • C’mon, ease up a little. In the Symphony of Life, there is great diversity. In Grand Opera, it takes all kinds of performers: Tenors, Baritones and bassos, Sopranos of several varieties, and choruses making all sorts of beautiful interstitial harmonies. And then there are those who perform in the more recent “Musicals.” Same skills and voices, but in another venue. Then there are the skillful performers in Ballets, where there’s music, but the main feature is the poetry of motion. And a whole army behind the scenes, making it all possible. “That’s Entertainment.” In the Church, all of the artful creativity is called “Liturgy.” Some would venture “Sacred Liturgy,” others would say “Novus Ordo.”

    • Except that the form and rituals of reverence truly assist with internal disposition. Many younger Catholics and converts are actively promoting the beautiful traditions of art and liturgy within the church that have been thrown out with the bathwater in the last 50 years. It stems not from arrogance or a fetish for the things of yore as I have heard it crudely described, but from an understanding that these are treasures of the church, and truly beautiful in their reverence. What it boils down to is, when we have the choice of more beautiful and reverent, why choose less?

    • Jay Lappin, True prayer is NOT locking yourself in a room all day and praying. Where are you getting this from? You sound like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. Jesus told us to “pray constantly”. That means making everything you do an offering up to Christ as a prayer. This means recognizing Jesus in each person’s face. Locking yourself up in a room is like the guy who buried his talents and make his boss angry for not investing it. And these rituals that you talk about: they have been around since the 1st century. They have been practiced by Peter and Paul. They are in the life of the Church for a reason: to remind people that the Church is not a place where a meal takes place. It is a place where a sacrifice is offered up for the salvation of each and every human being. It is a place and event that is to be honored and glorified. What you bring to the Mass and its rituals that do make it an honoring and glorifying even for you and Christ? What do you bring as a gift of sacrifice to the Lord at Mass? These young priests are not trying to undo Vatican II. What they are doing is interpreting it in the way it was SUPPOSED to have been interpreted in the first place.

      • Bravo or bravo Theresa. Based on the most current statistics, Mass attendance is remarkably weak and trending weaker since the focus has shifted to more entertainment and less reverent silence. Attendance figures would be a whole lot worse if the family members of the lectors, greeters, altar servers and the extraordinary Eucharistic ministers as well the musicians and choir are excluded…since they are most probably there to support their family members performance.

  5. Fuquay Steve

    To those that live today…you claim Latin is a dead language in a very negative manner. Well, Latin is actually a blessing in that it does not change and is not subject to the modernistic value of interpretation. I for one find Latin beautiful in that it is how the prayers were said by our ancestors. You can keep your guitars ang drums, I will take chant. The sense of beauty in the modern day is lost….just look at the Art and church construction. Those that criticize the traditional sacred art and sacred tradition are the same ones who think this generation is superior to all others. Pride and ego run the show but fortunately not for all. This young priest is just one example. I will pray for him and others like him….not belittle him like these modern day hypocrites.

  6. For those who complain about the traditions of the church, the beautiful Latin Mass, the vestments, when to stand or kneel during the Mass, it is obvious you operate from an intrinsic mode the way Judas did, and the Pharisees. You simply are blocking the Holy Spirit from working within you. If you do not like what happens, no one is forcing you to stay Catholic, if that is what you think you are. Many many people are devoted to the Latin Mass and follow traditions such as kneeling at the communion rail and taking the Host on the tongue, going to Confession often, and attending a Mass where the priest faces away from the people. There are many Masses where the new rite is followed so no one is forcing you to attend the they Mass offered the way you do not like it…. Christ promised the Holy Spirit would guide His church so if the former traditions are increasing, it could very well be that this is the Spirit of God working through the Church.

  7. Bravo Father and thank you and all priests for your commitment, humility and sacrifice. Priests and Religious turning on one another is just what the Devil delights in.

  8. Amen you good and faithful servants! God Bless you always. Amen

  9. Virginia Jimmo

    God bless our new young priests who are traditional. Jesus wants His Mass said with reverence and love and that is the Trinitine Latin Mass. Offer up the negativity to One who lived His human life the same way. God bless all young traditional priests.

  10. I am amazed at how much animosity is floating around here in these comments!! None of these profess the true love of our beautiful Lord and Savior Jesus!! Using His magnificent and glorious name to prove that one is more “right” or better versed than another shows nothing of humility. Love Him by living one another. Serve him by serving one another. Let Jesus work out the rest…no matter how frustrated someone else’s views or opinions make you, none of it truly matters if everything you do is for and because of Jesus! I don’t usually respond to this kind of stuff, but I think the real point of view that everbody here shares is that Jesus is all important, all loving, and entirely encompassing…what else do we need, and why should His name be tossed back and forth in such a negative manner? God bless you all for loving Jesus so much, but put your arguments away…and simply love Him (and love Him simply).đź’—

  11. I don’t have a particular affinity for “cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests” (or any, for that matter) but I also lack the same affection for the corps of what I call “MBA” priests who often seem to lack the same enthusiasm for being pastoral. The examples cited by the author of the many things these young priests devote themselves to doing are commendable. Maybe the MBA priests need to get more serious about being pastoral and the “cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests” could lighten up a little. As commendable as their work and enthusiasm is there is no honor in having a headache (or being one) because their halos are on too tightly. And those priests who lack the same work ethic should examine perhaps why they sought ordination in the first place.

  12. I remember going to Confession and discovering, half-way through, the priest had gone to sleep — it transpired he had been up all night ministering to a dying parishioner.

    Another elderly priest was extra late for Mass [he was usually late slow of body sharp of mind] it was thought he may have taken ill – he too had been up all night, ministering, on the phone, to someone in his previous parish which he had left all of fifteen years earlier.

    There are saints still among us

  13. I will add you to the list of priests in my prayers, Fr.! Thank you for being faithful, available and loving God until it hurts. There are many out here who love you for it!

  14. I wish I had a reply worthy enough. I have a seminarian friend that will someday make a great priest. I will not mention his name. This article I just read gave me a lot more insight in his life and dedication to his life and vocation.

  15. inexperiencedhomeschoolingmom

    My brother is a seminarian, and God willing, will be a priest in a couple of years. Priests are probably one of the hardest working group of men, I have ever seen. Thank God for you and all the holy priests He sends us!

  16. Well said, Father. Prayers for you and all priest and religious and the often misunderstood vocation you live.

  17. This post is awful. You gave your life to the church which means long hours. Most priests I know are able to go on nice vacations, too. I am sure the life of a diocesan priest can be hard, but at the same time I would bet there are associate pastorships that could be easy or less stressful, too. Ultimately, priesthood likely entails many of the same stresses as any hard job. The difference is that hardship represents your witness to Christ that you undertook when the bishop laid his hands upon you at ordination.

    I think this post also represents the natural backlash of the younger generation versus older. The older generation questione mush of the historical rites and rituals of the church resulting in the greatness that is Vatican II. Telling me high mass and Latin are the way to go is similar to saying I should still use AOL dial up because it was a great service.

    The greatness of Pope Francis lies in his recognition that change and growth are good even for the Church.

    • Fr. Kyle Doustou

      I’m not usually in the habit of personally replying to comments on public posts, but I’d like to make an exception here. I understand and appreciate the fact that you do not share my liturgical proclivities, but please try to re-read the post without the lens of an agenda. My comments about the difficulties of the priesthood were not made to elicit sympathy, but rather to prove a point: the young priests who are often maligned by their older confreres for being too “rigid” and “unpastoral” are actually generous, hard-working, sincere men who care deeply for the people they serve. We’re not looking for praise or pity for doing what Christ commands us, but simply that our priestly confreres lay off the false dichotomies they are creating. Believe it or not, a priest in a cassock who says the Latin Mass can, indeed, be understanding, sympathetic, and pastoral…just look at the Cure of Ars.

      There is a false narrative that is being told about this younger generation of priests and it was my intention to tell the real story. Justice and charity both demand it.

      • Usually, by the time a person-called by Jesus, God Almighty-is sealed by the Holy Spirit, he/she is already a sacred person: Baptism; Years of Holy Communion; Confirmation; Years of Penance. Perhaps salved by Anointing. Becoming a “Fisher of Men” in the place of Jesus, God Almighty broadcasts a man’s Sacredness, and people, IMO, understand all this: he has a truly special job. Up and down the 2000 years since Jesus ascended, there have been all sorts of men-bishops and priests-doing the special ministerial work of Jesus on earth. Some of these men have been so famous, that their name is synonymous with priesthood. Others, not famous, have nonetheless done their calling. It takes all kinds. Who doesn’t understand that? Most, IMO, have succeeded; some have been miserable failures-the less said about them the better. In our time-as at other times-whatever is causing strife within the Church, has to be addressed and healed over, just as it has been happening through the years. Being in, what frequently is “the eye of a storm,” is disturbing but it’ll pass over.

      • I will accept your argument when you provide an example of a young priest truly driving social change in society. A successful priestly vocation goes beyond the successful administration of sacraments. In my view, there is a significant difference between what is described in this article and what I would call a priestly experience focused on social justice. For me if you are doing both I get the post. I guess it is just hard for me to read this when I think about the priestly careers of social justice pioneers like Msgr. Jack Egan from Chicago.

        Personally, I think fr. Browns dichotomy is actually spot on. Additionally, I think the focus on traditions really forces you to miss the forest for the trees. Ultimately, any successful pastoral career is rooted in people first.

        Lastly, I am not sure Fr. Brown’s concerns are anything new. As the older generation having lived what they taught will never be learned in the exact form or execution the older gen wants or expects.

        Thanks for your reply. Yes, I am a liberal Catholic with strong views but loves the debate on these topics. My apologies if I am too strong.

      • Thank you for answering the call Father. God Bless you and your ministry, we will add you to our daily family Rosary.

    • @Coltssteve: What you are calling for, sir, is restoring the antiquated and destructive mentality of a dying generation of babyboomer radicals, namely: profaning the office of the Priesthood by compelling our clergy to chase the fleeting fashions of secular concerns. It’s a stale ideology alien to Holy Mother Church that has ripped our Priests from their altars, emptied our seminaries, and banalized our sanctuaries. The younger generation of Priests are not burdened with the angst and heterodox baggage that your mid-20th Century partisans continue to peddle, and they know a failed clerical/liturgical experiment when they see one. These same partisans know that they’ve failed in grooming heirs to carry on their worldly agendas and this both infuriates and terrifies them, leading to the pompous bits of desperate slander this article refutes.

      If you truly cannot see that the greatest force for the sanctification of our society is the faithful celebration of the Holy Sacraments, then I’m afraid you are not addressing the ills of our culture as a loyal son of the one, true Church of Christ.

  18. Karen Salstrom

    Beautifully said

  19. kirstenmfernandez

    Thank you, fr. We here in Malaysia are facing similar persecution as it were from our clergy, who fling labels around & persecute us & our families by making derogatory remarks during homilies with us in the congregation. We will pray for you, and we hope that you will keep us in prayer as well.

    • Marcus Remington

      Malaysia? Which church in Malaysia specifically? Can you elaborate what exactly did the clergy say that is derogatory?

  20. What do Jesus do? About this things and situation… One or two even hundreds of people acting superior over a thousand other Priest… “Silence” is always the best penance to offer for those who are in error. The life of St Terese and Sister Faustina always teach us to be very humble. They are often misunderstood. But its alright, you are not alone, with every condescending, and unfair judgement Jesus also is hurt, so unite all your sorrows to His sorrows Fathers. And know that we love you all and we are praying for you. Things like this makes us feel divided. Please don’t allow negativity to sip through your walls. God knows all your sacrifices and it obtain the greatest, most beautiful graces for all of us your children. We need unity. Just kill them with love. Its good to have holy indifference. To get through another day for Jesus with love. I understand personally how much Satan attack Priest. If we are under attack by one or two demons everyday. Priest are under attack 1000 x and satan himself taking charge so you will fall. One Priest fall into sin, a thousand children of God will drag into the road of perdition. May The Lord God strengthened all of you our fathers. May He send all Angel warrior to defend you from Satan. Amen . Whatever the temptation don’t fall for it. Keep quiet and pray even if you don’t feel like your prayers are heard because they are heard.

  21. Amen to you, Father! May you have a long, happy and blessed priesthood. Thankyou so much for answering God’s call. It is you and your brethren who will save the Church. We have lost our way. Please help us find our way back! Even if we are sometimes a stiff-necked people! God bless you!!!!!

  22. An excellent article and explanation of what priests do. I understand, I am clergy too. What I don’t understand is the back biting some Catholics do to each other when it comes to the “proper” way to worship.

  23. The Parish priest here does not do confessions- and when a parishioner asks he would say “Lets make it a nice chat, and then he enters a room with her (a convert) and does no blessing. Then he just smirks and says “try again” to every sin she lays down.

    Before mass he chatters and gossip among the faithful INSIDE the church right up until the last minute. This sets the tone for others to chat loudly- and consequently its impossible to pray before mass. At Mass he lets a mental case woman run the “show” as he puts it. He uses a protestant hymnal and never bows or kneels- even the sign of cross is not done.

    The priest I hear wants to retire- he is sick of serving the church- but he gets his bread and butter from it.

    We have a bishop here who tries- but he is stretched with so few priests. God I wish for a QUICK removal or retirement of this pope. He is so so out of touch with what is happening. The church needs a revolution- a new raising of 50 NEW AFRICAN CARDINALS so the church is being fair to where the growth and numbers are– and an inflow of GOOD African priests INTO THE WEST– because South and North America, Europe, Australia, need renewal.

    The church is still living in the 50s-it needs to read the signs of the time and advance the truth of Christ.

    • Dear Jesus! The endless, mindless vitriol that flows out of the hearts of your children! Forgive them Lord! Oops! Am I allowed to absolve you your sins? You see, I’m just a dirty, filthy schismatic …. a dreadful Anglican priest. We are an opinionated, self righteous lot aren’t we! Bless you….mmmmmmmm, perhaps I’m not allowed to say that either. Sigh! Maybe,one day Lord. Fr. Neville

      • Roman Catholics are not permitted to go to Anglican Priests for the Sacrament of Penance, unless, of course, the Anglican is a former Roman Catholic priest on the scene of an accident, and victims are known Catholics and are calling for a priest, and there is no regular Roman Catholic priest around.

      • My goodness, yes! I can tell you’re an Anglican by your tone. You make me realize again while I left the Anglicans to discover humility. Try it sometime, you might like it!

    • No matter if the bishop is “stretched,” representation should be made to him. The priest’s behavior at the Holy Sacrifice-as you describe it-is abominable and harmful to those present.

      • Arrogant to the core! Caritas, my dear priest! Without it you might as well be a Pharisee…strangely enough I think Jesus (if he arrived today) would be an affront to your sense of religious piety.

  24. Great Job Father, thank you so very much for your service!!! God Bless

  25. Robert B. Medina-Radesco

    Nobody knows the struggles and sacrifices of priests and deacons who serve people with all their hearts and not being selfish. I am a deacon and I have been misjudge also, I know how it feels. Congratulations.

  26. I appreciate this article, but I have to tell you , I was Catholic since birth. But somehow along the way, I lost faith in the Catholic Church. My husband is Lutheran and we went to midnight mass a couple of years ago and I was so overwhelmed by the warmth and love that I felt in that church. I am now Lutheran, and let me tell you, we have seen some tough times and they have been there for us, no matter what.

  27. When I originally saw the offensive statements by Fr. Brown, I wanted to write something to defend the cassock-wearing zealous young priests, but I didn’t bother trying because I have learned from experience that people who claim such things are not willing to “dialogue” with anyone who doesn’t share their prejudices. It’s heartrending how little love he seems to have for the dedicated seminarians in his seminary that don’t comport themselves the way he thinks is best. This defense is wonderfully written, and carries much more weight because it comes from an actual devoted cassock-wearing priest. The ones I know are much more available and passionate about sharing the Catholic faith than the priests who don’t wear cassocks, who present themselves as wanting to be seen as just one of the boys, and who keep themselves aloof with strict 9 to 5 office hours.

  28. Thanks father for the article.May the truth in charity you wrote move hearts to repentance and a deeper love for Lord and Lady.

  29. Christina Long

    Father, I wish you were in my parrish. I have to drive 45 minutes to go to a Latin Mass, when I’m only about two miles from my local liberal church. We need more priest like you. When I was in my old parrish of 38 years, before moving to my new home a year-and-a-half ago, I would drive to other parrish’s because of the liberalism in my old parrish, but found it’s all over. Then I found the same here in the local parish. Thank you, Father, for loving Our Lord Jesus Christ, and HIs Way. I’m proud to be a Catholic. I love the Catholic Church, because Jesus Christ started it for one, Our Lady, the Saints, the Traditions.

  30. Andrew Bissinger

    I agree with you Fr. I am a retred Fire Fighter, many people see my brothers and sisters as sit or sleep in the firehouse watching tv or playing checkers. Many holidays were spent away from families and special ocvasions we were separated from our family because of our vocation. No one sees the real fireman after pulling a dead person out of a burning building or the many other horrors of this profession.So to sum it up ,i agreewith you and fellow priests
    Thank you for your many years of sacrifice studiing for this vocation.

  31. Well put young priest – he hit the nail on the head by pointing out the liberal/ lefty tendency to “invent a false dichotomy between a love for the Church’s traditions and a love for the people of God which is a manipulative, ideological tool used to push forth one’s personal agenda”. The abuse of language and the abuse of power, in the pursuit of an agenda, make very comfortable bedfellows for liberals.

    • coltssteve: Traditional Catholics know that social justice starts in the home, with caring for the people that God gave you to love in your family, and with keeping one’s vows, not abandoning people after you’ve used them sexually, not bringing children into the world without giving them a loving family. Acts of mercy like that. Priests who provide the sacraments and good moral teaching and pure example help prevent many of the evils that most people who work for social justice try to fix after the fact. And people who live moral lives are more kind to the people around them than many self-righteous crusaders for social justice. Traditional Catholic priests, religious, and laity take very seriously Jesus’ last words that we must care for Him by caring for those who are in need around us. We know that on that we will be judged. To claim otherwise is to lie.

  32. Beautiful. I offer Mass up regularly for our priests. God bless them.

  33. We have Jesus present in the Eucharist. Therefore we have no need to call his name over and over after all He is our Lord and should honor him this way. Don’t you remember Thomas’s words upon seeing Jesus? Good article. We should all be praying rosaries in Thanksgiving for our priests.

    • “Eucharist” is another Name for “Jesus, God Almighty.” In my heart and soul, when I go to make a visit or am joined to Him at the Holy Sacrifice, it’s with Jesus, God Almighty, not with “Eucharist.” There is a long-standing custom to refer to Jesus, God Almighty by a series of synonyms. I prefer to use the English version of His real Name and His Dignity.

  34. This is a wonderful article and maybe the lord bless each and every single member of the seminaries and Catholic Church and the person who wrote that insulting article about them should be ashamed of themselves

  35. Well said. So common for people to draw conclusions and pass judgements based on falsehood. What happened to decency, and love that binds Christians together. The gloating of the know it all during Jesus time is rearing it’s ugly head. Service calls for humility and respect of others.

  36. Unfortunately Father you incorrectly answered the questions you asked, at least for me. So who is to blame for being out of touch? Cassocks, JPII priest, Tridentine rite etc are all things that these newer priest do not for love and service but control. The church at one time did not use Latin and did fine. It took a secular emporer to make Latin the official church language. Now we are in the midst of the current vernacular in each country and you don’t like it. Boo hop. Time to get rid of nostalgia and really get in touch with the flock. Yes, you do frustrate most of us and we don’t want a thing to do with you and your group because you really are out of touch with us and the church. If you really want to
    Downy thing within your means to
    Serve the people, get out of you cassock and meet us on the street.

  37. I usually don’t get involved in the internecine comment wars that break out around articles like this, but I feel compelled to make an exception here. I’ve read both Fr. Doustou’s post and the original NCR article several times, and I just don’t see where in the NCR article Fr. Brown suggests that priests whose formation pre-dates the “Francis effect” are “not really interested in works of mercy and pastoral care.” Granted, Fr. Brown’s comments make it clear that he considers the shift in emphasis a positive development, but his comments are measured (“more curious”, “less focused on … signs and symbols indicating traditionalism”) and at no point in time does he impugn the commitment of earlier generations of seminarians or suggest they are not “thinking, opining and sincere.” I studied hermeneutics in graduate school, so I appreciate that interpretation is a tricky thing, but I just don’t see how you get there without doing serious violence to the text of this interview. (That said, characterizing any strain of Catholic moral theology as “Calvinistic” strikes me as both inaccurate and intemperate. Romanus Cessario, Josef Pieper, or Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange are brilliant. So are Karl Rahner, Edward Schillebeeckx, and Elizabeth Johnson.)

    • In all my rather long life, I’ve NEVER met a Roman Catholic priest-wealthy or poor-who has not been a “works of mercy and pastoral care” kind of priest. Strange as it may seem, even some of the men who secretly were pedophiles, had reputations acclaimed for pastoral care and works of mercy. I’ve known several of them and people they’ve helped, despite the blight those sick guys caused. Don’t know much about Cessario Romanus or Elizabeth Johnson, but those other men were known for their Dogmatic proclamations.

      • If you haven’t checked out Cessario Romanus, you definitely should. His work on moral theology, particularly as it applies to the virtues, is a must read. I mentioned Elizabeth Johnson in part because she too has written some fantastic stuff (including /Truly Our Sister/, though I concentrated in Mariology, so I’m biased) but also because the USCCB publicly denounced her /Quest For The Living God/. The point I was trying to make is that it’s important to exercise care when ascribing labels to another person’s theology. Above all, we need to avoid reducing a complex strain of Catholic thought to a caricature of itself (e.g. dismissing theologians who see the flowering of moral theology in a clear code of conduct as needlessly “rule-based” and “Calvinistic).

  38. Brilliant.
    God bless you, Father – and keep up the good work.
    Novus Ordo priests are old and getting older – the fruits of Vatican II ensure that there are very few vocations coming along to replace them.
    Eventually the ship will right itself – and the vast majority of priests will, once again, be traditional.
    This is as inevitable as is the disappearance of the Norvus Ordo Church itself.

  39. Thank you so much Father for your beautiful reply. You nailed the left with their never ending projection. It’s actually diabolical, in my opinion. Please Father, stay strong, do not back down and continue to shepherd the flock. We desperately need priests who teach the faith with boldness not trepidation. Our salvation depends on you to be honest with us in the manner of the Venerable Fulton Sheen, he who would never walk on eggshells while shepherding the flock. My favorite quote of his, to a woman who proclaimed “I don’t believe in hell ” was “you will when you get there !”. Now that was bold and I’ll bet it put her on the path to salvation. God bless you Father, I will pray for you as I hope all who commented here will also.

  40. What would we do without them? One traditional priest can move a mountain of
    disordered thinking and habits. Pray for our priests daily, especially those working without sufficient earthly assistance or resources.

  41. Wow I prefer the Eastern Rite pretty much codified in the 4th century, but am surprised at the hatred of the TLM in the Latin Rite. You pushed a button. Guess they should get their tambourines and guitars out, along with their teddy bears. You really offended them by suggesting tradition is acceptable in he Church.

  42. Sad, how can we have such divisions in our Faith and in our beliefs in the church. Where is is our Faith in God’s teachings. Praying for unity within our own priest in our Catholic Church. My question to you all, are we starting to see the false teacher/priests as written in the Bible or as God has warned us to be aware off?

  43. An unapologetic Catholic, socio-economic, and political leftist, I guess I’m a hopelessly “manipulative, ideological tool.” However, I respect the author’s right to his opinions–whether or not he agrees with mine.

  44. first and foremost thanks for the beautiful article of Father Kyle Doustou. i am a priest from sri lanka. i have finished five years in my priesthood. the world measures the value of a priest by the amount of social work they do. in that case Jesus is to be blamed first place. Because Jesus would have begun his ministry much more earlier, may be when he was just 20 years old. He should have performed more miracles to wipe away the poverty form this world. His firs priority was to nourish people spiritually. I don’t deny that we must be sensitive to the needs of the society. We have different gifts so we use them in our ministry in different ways. All of us can’t do what Mother Theresa did. She had that especial gift. Some like to live that way of life. Those who do such missions may not criticise those who do not live that way if life. Church must have priests, teachers, theologians, artists, confessors, exorcists, healers, preachers etc. Just satisfying the need of the poor does not help the church to grown in fullness. Let us not criticise anyone.

    There are enough people to criticise priests but they never realise the inner deeper conflicts they undergo. Let us pray for priests not criticise. They are not angles but week fragile humans.

  45. The gloious vestments are to give honor to God, not the priest, as any thinking person realizes.

  46. Stunned. God bless you Father…I was born in 1960, so have deformed Catholic upbringing…which I had you. But what did I get: denial of Resurrection!!, denial of miracles. Pray for me as I try to undo wicked harm of V2….I will try, but fail to do so

  47. It’s not the harm of V2, but the harm caused by misinterpreting it by bishops with their own agendas!

  48. This was well said and with love, sometimes we need to say it like it is. You have my prayers Father and my support. I admire all the priests of the last ten years, these have been well trained and it is about time. I’m gotten very tired of the nonchalant attitude of our older priests, who go along with whatever. I applaud the new priests who know what it is about. God Bless you Father and may God Bless you abundantly.

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