The news aggregator at Catholic World News picked up something that I have to comment on. It's an article from the Diocese of Albany on 10 reasons to be a priest. I almost decided not to post it, because criticizing Bp. Howard Hubbard is simply shooting fish in a barrel.
Here' are a paraphrase of the 10 reasons Hubbard gives, in story format.
1. Hubbard arranged bail for a gangster who was jailed after shooting another gangster at an inconvenient time in his own life. Doing so was a chance to empty himself to God's unconditional love.
2. Hubbard knew a 14 year old girl who was the victim of sexual abuse and an unwed mother, whose own mother had been complicit with in the arrangements. She's writing a memoir about her journey to recovery.
3. Hubbard got to counsel a politician through a "dark night of his soul" involving some sort of illicit relationship with a woman.
4. He got to know a couple of people 40 years ago, married them, baptized their children, and still keeps up with them.
5. He gave a retreat at which a lapsed Catholic nurse returned to the faith and got comfortable with the fact that God permits suffering.
6. Hubbard helped a nun quit her order and become a mommy.
7. Hubbard got to tell the family of a seminarian who had drowned about their son's death, and the mother took it well.
8. Hubbard knew a guy who became a junkie but cleaned himself up.
9. Hubbard knew a homosexual who died of AIDS, but did so in a way that minimized the fact that his lifestyle involved a sin that cried out to heaven for vengeance.
10. Hubbard was comforted during the clergy abuse scandal by a prisoner.
Hubbard's point, apparently, is that it's not just about celebrating the Mass and provising Sacraments--it's a life of ministry to other people, bringing healing and peace to their lives. He needs more "members of the ministerial priesthood" to help out in these types of situations, and he promises that those who enlist will be enriched by experiences like those above.
Um, yeah...... OK.
Now, Bishop Hubbard, can't a married man, or a single man, or a transgendered secular social worker or bail bondsman do all of the above, except perhaps certain of the things mentioned in #4?
We all know the answer to that one, don't we? No mention of the essence of the priesthood, except to minimize it. No mention of reenacting the sacrifice of Calvary on a daily basis; no mention of participating in the Bishop's mission of teaching, sanctifying or governing the visible church. A little counsel and comfort now and then is of course something we expect from a priest, but to what ultimate end in that to be directed?
Who wants to be a part of the priesthood according to Howard Hubbard?
Apparently not many.
Don't believe me?
Click here and here and here, and that's just for starters. If you Google "Hubbard" and "vocations" or "Albany" and "vocations," you'll get the picture.