More and more these days I’m hearing lay people complain that priests should not have a weekly day off.
I’d presumed that priests always had a day off, but I’m hearing readers claim that this is a very new phenomenon. Since I don’t know any priests of an age to recall the pre-Vatican II era, I have no way of checking this, so maybe a contributor to this blog will enlighten me one way or the other.
Certainly, it seems unreasonable to expect priests to work without any respite. Even in the strictest monastic religious orders, the Sisters/Brothers have a couple of hours of recreation every day.
Of course, there may be problems with the concept of a regular weekly day off. When I lived in England, for example, a priest once told me that the then bishop instructed the clergy to make their day off a day off from “everything” – they should not feel obliged to say Mass.
Strictly speaking, another priest told me, no priest is obliged to offer Mass every day – they have, apparently, the same Sunday obligation in church law as the rest of us. Still, doesn’t seem right, does it, for a priest to think he needs time off from offering Mass.
So, what do you think – should priests be priests 24/7, all year round, with some time for relaxation that falls short of a regular weekly day off?