Questions: Would YOU “Ask Father”?

Our American blogger, RCA Victor, writes…

Following up on the notion that the CT blog could be a sort of cyber-parish for modern Catholics, esp. as a source of orthodox catechesis, here’s a thought:

Is there a traditional priest up your sleeve who would be willing to answer questions from readers in the form of a blog topic, every so often? You could call it “Ask Father” or something of the sort, and create a separate email for these questions so you don’t get swamped. Webmaster or someone on the CT Team could collect the questions and forward them to Father, he could supply the answers, and the Team could post them.  End. 

Editor replies...

This, and similar suggestions, are put to us from time to time.  I find the idea understandable on one level, but very puzzling on another.  Here’s why. 

It is the ordained who are causing and/or supporting/perpetuating the crisis in the Church.  

I do have to admit, however,  that, even before I became aware of the crisis, I am on record as saying to various friends that a priest is the last person I would ever approach to discuss a personal problem.  It’s a kind of instinct.  Even from the age of 11 years when enquiring about membership of the junior Legion of Mary, I was not encouraged by our curate… I later discovered that he was the Spiritual Director of the parish group!  Clericalism is still a major problem in the Church and my own sense is that, when priests are so lacking in elementary understanding of the basic lay vocation, I can’t really be confident in the sort of answers they would give in any area of doubt, whether moral, religious or spiritual. Very recently a priest pointed out to me that St Catherine of Siena could criticise popes because she had been given a special grace from God – not because she was a Confirmed Soldier of Christ. So, that was me and moi put in our respective places! Now, of course, St Catherine of Siena was a great mystic and saint with a very important and special mission from God, but there was nothing to stop God choosing a priest or bishop for the task. The fact that He chose a lay woman signals to us that everyone, men, women and children, must be active lay apostles. That priests are simply not aware of that fact themselves, which is why it is seldom, if ever, a topic for preaching,  does not fill me with confidence that their answers to key questions and advice would be solidly reliable. 

The priestly vocation is to dispense the sacraments and preach the Faith.  From time to time, we’ve had priest contributors to this blog as part of their duty to “preach the Faith” but they tend not to stay the course. Perseverance in the work of the lay apostolate is not a widespread virtue.  The other day I was searching for a comment among very old blog topics and was astonished at the names of bloggers I’d totally forgotten.   They come and they go, priests included.  And I have to say that of the several priests who have blogged here, none have been “traditionalists” …  Indeed, when I asked one “traditionalist” priest if he reads our blog he replied in the negative, all the while assuring me that he supported what we are doing. Truly, you couldn’t make it up. Who was it said: “the blog has been betrayed, even by those who should have contributed to it?” 

So, in terms of “orthodox catechesis”, I would expect “traditional” priests to participate in our discussions and since they don’t, I lack confidence in their willingness to commit to the kind of role which RCA Victor (and others before him) suggest. And as for addressing individual concerns? Well…

I don’t see priests as problem-solvers; even “traditionalist” and “traditional leaning” priests don’t always get it right, and might do a great deal of damage with their “advice”. I remember some years ago, when my mother was elderly and with mobility issues, so that I was reluctant to leave her for any length of time in case she fell,  a priest made a comment about my spasmodic attendance at his weekday Masses. I did try to attend when I could but that entailed recruiting a  “mother-sitter” and although my siblings were happy to help when they could, they were in full time employment and had their own work and family commitments. They were already committed to staying with my mother on Sundays and Holy Days, to let me get to Mass.  When the subject next arose and I “asked Father” if he thought attending a weekday Mass took precedence over my duty to my mother, he replied, slowly… “Yes …I think so”.  Wrong!  For me to abandon my sick mother in order to attend a weekday Mass would have been sinful, not virtuous.  So, recommending priests to those seeking sound spiritual, religious and moral advice, is something of a daunting task these days. 

As things stand, when I do, occasionally, receive emails from people asking me to recommend a priest, I suggest one of the SSPX-affiliated priests, who has given me permission to distribute his contact details to anyone who asks.  This priest offers personal retreats for people on a one-to-one basis, in a beautiful setting, on the Scottish island of Stronsay, and I am always happy to email his details to anyone who wishes to contact him. 

However, if I “asked [any] Father” you care to name, to take on the role of a Catholic Truth Agony Uncle as outlined by our zealous RCA Victor I can say without fear of contraception contradiction, that he would decline the job.  Even with a six figure salary (£000.000) 😀

Of course, if YOU are a priest reading this who would relish the role – feel free to say so loud and clear. Your appointment begins with immediate effect! 

28 responses

  1. Editor,

    You have discovered a weak point in the heretofore impregnable fortress of my argument: it is probable that – if a traditional priest could be found who was willing to do this – the submitted questions would quickly turn to personal problems rather than to catechesis.

    I was thinking along the lines of this scenario: a Novus Ordo parishioner reads/hears his priest/bishop (translation: spineless yes-men) praising That’s Amoris or Gaudete et Exsultate to the skies, but he himself has doubts about these documents’ fidelity to the Faith. So he turns to “Ask Father” for clarification, and hopefully said Father fires the appropriate torpedoes to sink the subversion.

    But no doubt questions like this would soon follow: I divorced my first wife and am re-married without an annulment. Can I receive Holy Communion? Or, I’ve been living with my girlfriend for the past 12 years. Am I in a state of mortal sin or do we have a common-law marriage? Is it a sin for Editor to watch Columbo re-runs while eating chocolates? etc.

    • RCA Victor,

      “Is it a sin for Editor to watch Columbo re-runs while eating chocolates? etc.”

      Love it! LOL!

      Personally, I think the problem would be getting a priest to commit. Also, you would be surprised how many priests are quite lax about different things.

      Also, it would end up like these shows you hear on radio where Joe Public phones in with his symptoms and after a load of waffle, the radio doctor says he has to go and see his own doctor! LOL! It happens all the time. So I think that’s what would happen a general reply and then, but ask your own priest who knows you and your individual circumstances!

      I do think priests should be signing up for this blog but then again, for the most part, they’re all go along to get along types or we’d know about them by now.

    • RCA Victor,

      LOL! You will be for the high jump when editor reads your snappy comment about her Columbo reruns and chocolates!

    • RCA Victor

      One of the key problems is that the majority of Catholics don’t SEE anything wrong with the statements/encyclicals of Papa Francis. THAT is the problem!

      However I see that you have a following here, or at least [she hastily corrected herself] your idea has a following here, but, hang on… a point nobody else has made so far: What if people ask silly questions like this…

    • RCA Victor,

      The others are spot on – you’re in deep trouble for mocking my Columbo re-runs, with or without chocolate! Still, it’s late here and….

      😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  2. Chloe posted this link on another thread http://www.lovethefaith.com/
    and they have an “Ask Father” section. I clicked on it and it took me to a form to fill in, so what would put me off, would be not knowing who is reading my messaged. Do the blog owners read it before sending it to the priest? Or is a priest I might know!

    I do like the idea, I have to say, it would be good to have a thread where we could put questions to priests, but I don’t see any priest making the commitment. It would be very demanding.

    • That would worry me a bit as well not knowing who the priest is. I’d like to have some idea about him, at least his age roughly and what kind of priest, an Order, diocese or traditional society of some kind (FSSP or SSPX) before I would ask anything of a personal nature.

  3. I think RCA Victor’s idea is a great idea. I know it would be difficult to get a priest to be available on a regular basis, but maybe a few priests could do this on a rota basis?

  4. Ask a priest and Ask on Catholic Truth blog are running neck and neck at around 27% right now so that’s interesting!

    I agree with Fidelis that it is a very good idea to have an Ask Father thread. I do imagine it wouldn’t be easy to find a suitable priest but it’s worth trying.

  5. I should have added something which didn’t occur to me at first: it is certainly possible that concerns about personal situations could also involve catechetical questions. In fact, given the current lax state of the laity, I’m sure it would happen frequently…that is, if underneath said laxity there is actually a desire for fidelity.

    Having a priest handy here would also address another problem, though I’m not sure how much of a problem it is. We are all laity responding to the crisis, and modern Catholics who may consult this blog don’t know anything about us. I have a feeling that affects our credibility, given that the message is typically judged by the messenger who delivers it, rather than the other way around.

    • RCA Victor,

      What do you mean, the Catholics who consult this blog don’t know anything about us? They know that I am tall, slim, glamorous, fashionable, highly intelligent, witty and about as humble a person as ever you will meet. What else is there to know? 😀

  6. I would discourage an “Ask Father” column or blog. There are two current such blogs whch come to mind: Ask The Fathers at traditio.com. The smears on the Church and its personnel on this blog are pretty disgusting and one needs a strong stomach to read it.
    There is Fr Z’s Quaeritur column, which frequently descends into “Is my confession valid if the priest picks his nose while listening to me?”
    So, on this occasion … wait for it! … I have to agree with our Dear Leader/Editrix: a well-informed impartial lay-person might be the best port in the current storm.

      • Not so fast, Editor! Traditio looks to me to be a sedevacantist website, since they repeatedly use terms like “Newchurch,” “Newchurchers,” and “Newbishops.” That’s a sure giveaway, and it would also explain why this site features such smears. We can’t dismiss this idea by comparing such a defective, nay poisonous presentation of the Faith to ours.

        As for Father Z, I stopped reading that blog years ago since I consider him a pseudo-traditionalist, but Sarto’s thumbnail sketch sounds about right. However, once again, the comparison is faulty.

        Better to compare apples with apples – or, in your case, chocolates with chocolates – but this raises the question, is there any blog which compares to this one? Don’t need a poll to answer that one…..

        • RCA Victor,

          You know how to win a girl’s heart… the mere mention of chocolates does it every time!

          Seriously, I have just thought of a priest who would be excellent in the role you suggest, and I wouldn’t hesitate to hand him the famous six figure Catholic Truth salary, but I fear he travels too much, and too far, and is always ultra-busy so I doubt if he would feel able to accept the role. I will ask him, though, when I finally get to meet him. Believe it or not, he has expressed an interest in meeting me, next time he is in Scotland and I’ve said “you betcha” like the closet American I am… So, watch this space!

  7. Why don’t you try it, I think its a good idea. I have used the “Ask Father” on “love the Faith.com”, where I wanted to show my daughter the answer to a question (she does not live near me) so I was able to e-mail her his reply. I found him to be good, although not sure what order he belongs to. I have found http://www.lovethefaith.com/ to be a authentic Catholic web-site.

    If it does not work, you could discontinue it.

  8. I never understand why some folk treat priests like social workers. If I wanted theological advice I’d ask a theologian. As for most other matters, I wouldn’t dream of asking a priest; I’d ask somebody with experience in the field. I’ve heard some daft advice doled out to folk by priests!

    • Crofterlady,

      I agree but if it is a matter of theology or morality – as long as the priest is sound, and that’s the problem we have today, being sure of the Catholicity of the priest, can you believe – I can see how it would be useful to have a solid priest available to answer important questions.

  9. PRAYERS REQUESTED FOR A SERIOUSLY ILL PRIEST …..

    A young American SSPX priests whose excellent sermons can be found on YouTube, is now gravely ill. I received the following request for prayers for him by email this morning:

    Fr. Cooper may be in his last hours

    Sunday: April 30, 4pm CT
    From the District House

    Dear Fathers, Dear Colleagues,

    I just spoke to Fr. Kurtz, and Fr. Cooper is failing.

    His kidneys are shutting down, and his heart is not able to tolerate the dialysis treatments. They spoke about bringing him home to the Dickinson priory on hospice, but he seems too unwell to make the trip from the hospital.

    Even if he improves sufficiently to go to the priory, his care there will be difficult because of the sheer volume of oxygen he is on.

    Realistically, it does not seem as if Fr. Cooper has long to live at all. No one can say exactly how long, of course, but please pray for a holy death for our confrere.

    Thank you for your charity.

    PRAYER FOR THE SICK:

    Almighty and Eternal God,
    Thou art the everlasting health of those who believe in Thee.
    Hear us for Thy sick servant Fr. Cooper for whom we implore the aid of Thy tender mercy, that being restored to bodily health, he may give thanks to Thee in Thy Church.
    Through our Lord.
    ****************************

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