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Monday, 23 March 2015

Alter Christus

As an older, traditional Catholic, I cannot bear the calling of priests by their first names. First of all, I must know twenty Father Toms, and ten Father Bobs. Someone will say, "Oh, I saw Father Bob "today." Useless comment, as then I have to ask, "Which one?"

The custom seems to me to be totally disrespectful.

Also, it betrays a misunderstanding of the laity's relationship with a priest.

We are not equal to a priest. Sorry. Each priest is an Alter Christus, another Christ. We are not. Their office is superior to us in all ways. They are superior to us in a mystical, spiritual, even physical manner.

To make matters worse, recently online, I have seen priests referred to by their first name only, without "Father".

Even a wife of a priest in public should call the husband priest, "Father".

Someone also referred to another priest as a "lovely guy" online recently.

My goodness, what happened to propriety?

Would someone call Christ a "lovely guy"? Can we move away from this, please?

I cannot understand this lack of respect for the office of the priesthood. But, the priesthood is not merely an office.

Here is the Pope Emeritus from his homily from the Mass concluding the Year of the Priest, June 11, 2010.

The priest is not a mere office-holder, like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions. Instead, he does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life. Over the offerings of bread and wine he speaks Christ’s words of thanksgiving, which are words of transubstantiation – words which make Christ himself present, the Risen One, his Body and Blood – words which thus transform the elements of the world, which open the world to God and unite it to him. The priesthood, then, is not simply “office” but sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be, through us, present to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings – who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead – this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word “priesthood”.

Readers might one to re-read this.