August 08, 2007

Flip This Rectory

The priest(s) not living in the parish Rectory has been a gripe of mine even going far back into my dissenting era. It's one thing if the parish does not have a Rectory or if Father is serving more then one parish and lives in the Rectory of one parish but not the other (for obvious reasons). It's another thing entirely different, and unacceptable to me, if the Rectory is there and he prefers not to live there because he wants "his own life". For heaven's sake, if he wants his own (read: selfish) life, why is he a priest? Really, if you think about it, none of us have our own life. We are all God's. However, some of us consecrate our lives with vows of service to Christ and I think there is more of a visible expectation of them actually living a life of service then the rest of us. I'm not saying the rest of us don't have to serve in our own ways. But, what does the phrase "Holy Orders" mean then? Why are Holy Orders on the list of the Seven Sacraments if the "employed" of Holy Orders are just supposed to be like everyone else with the 8 hours/day, 5 days/week, 20 vacation and sick days/year, 10 holidays/year, work schedule?

I think some priests do think of the priesthood as just a job. I see this attitude more in dissenting priests then the Magisterium faithful priests. For those priests for whom the priesthood is just a career path, you will see them trying really hard to get at least 2 days/week off like everyone else. You will see them being difficult to reach during their "off-hours" since only a select few know where they live or how to get a hold of them. They don't schedule a lot of Devotion or Confession times or Daily Masses because it's "more challenging" to drive across town to get to the parish when you don't live right next to it. You may see heavy reliance on their lay minister army because Father is not residing in a convenient location.

I think the priest not living in the Rectory contributes to the mindset of those who want to think the priesthood is irrelevent. What do we need him for? We, laity, can do just about everything ourselves. Why bother Father, he lives 10 miles away. It's easier to forget about the priest when he's not around. Dissenters like to remind us of the big bad olden days when priests were unapproachable and inaccessible. I think they have shot themselves with their own gun by encouraging/allowing priests to live somewhere besides the Rectory. How approachable and accessible is Father is he's nowhere near the first place most of us go for spiritual help?

But, if Father doesn't want to live in the Rectory it cuts down on those pesky Rectory maintenance expenses, right? So, we'll sell the Rectory and distribute the money from the sale to our favorite lefty causes. The Catholic church is SO wealthy anyway. We should cut all that overhead where we can. Too bad, if the next priest may actually want to live in the Rectory and now it's gone. Oh well....He'll just have to live with "the people" instead of that exclusive, posh, quiet, enclave on a busy street by the church parking lot and next to the dumpsters.


Blogger Terry Nelson said...

I know! Funny story though. My friend JH, who had been propositioned by a certain priest, told me a rectory story about the same guy.

He wasn't ordained that long before he became pastor of a church in St. Paul and proceeded to renovate the rectory to suit his needs. After hot tubs and all, he had managed to spend thousnds and thousands of dollars on his little palace. The AB sent him off to school and the parish got a new pastor. He's back in the Archdiocese teaching now.

Most everyone in town will probably know who the guy is.

August 08, 2007 4:27 PM  
Blogger Anita Moore said...

Dissenters like to remind us of the big bad olden days when priests were unapproachable and inaccessible., say, St. John Vianney and St. Padre Pio, who spent so many hours a day hearing confessions they never got a full night's sleep? Or St. Don Bosco, who also spent so many hours working for his boys that he hardly slept? Or any number of holy priests who would get up from meals or from bed, all hours of the day or night, to minister to the sick, to offer Mass, or to forgive sinners?

Yep...priests sure were inaccessible back in the Bad Old Days.

August 08, 2007 4:39 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

I heard that many priest purchase a home or condo so that they will have some place for their retirement, or some assets to sell if they want to move to a different part of the country.

Cathy's question about "Holy Orders" comes to mind.

Some parishes have pretty nice rectories. Some probably don't and most priests probably don't have the nerve to spend 20 grand of the parish's money spiffing up the place.

Nativity in St Paul occasionally gives/rents one of their "rooms" to priests who are studying for advanced degrees at UST or the UofMN.

It would be interesting to see the results of an Archdiocesan "space study" for the housing of its seminarians and clerics.

August 08, 2007 6:45 PM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

Oh, helltotheyes, you go girl.

What you said.

August 08, 2007 11:57 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

You've hit on the imporatance of valuing vocation over profession. I am a husband and father. This is my vocation from which I never take a day off. I am a teacher, and as such seek to work for the good of my students, but my family comes first.

It seems like it would be easier to view priesthood as a profession rather than a vocation, but of course God call us to seek holiness in whatever vocation He has called us to. Holiness and virtue can't take a vacation either!

August 09, 2007 10:03 AM  

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