Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dominican Chauvinism

In an End of the Year of the Priests Talk given by Bishop Anthony Fisher, O.P. to Irish Dominicans, the Bishop explains why being a friar, specifically a Dominican is an enhancement to the priesthood.

Bishop Fisher is funny and informative.  This essay is a keeper.  He begins by looking at the dichotomy between a monk and a secular priest.  Do Dominican friars suffer from a multiple personality disorder?  Are Dominicans religious clerics or clerical religious?  

Actually, both comfortably fit a Dominican friar.  In Lumen Gentium, there is a distinction between the common priesthood of the baptized and the ministerial priesthood.  But the times of the era required Vatican II to promote the vocation of the laity out in the world.  The priesthood, of course is special, but it was not touted, here.  (A Council can't cover everything.)
The People of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God (1 Pet 1:23; Acts 6:7; 12:24), which is quite rightly sought from the mouth of priests (Mal 2:7; 1 Tim 4:11-13; 2 Tim 4:5; Tit 1:9). For since nobody can be saved who has not first believed (Mk 16:16), it is the first task of priests as co-workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all men (2 Cor 11:7). In this way they carry out the Lord's command "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mk 16:15) and thus set up and increase the People of God... Priests owe it to everybody to share with them the truth of the Gospel (Gal 2:5)...[15]

Both the clerical, religious and lay vocation are all Christological.  They are similar yet have different ways of participating in the salvation of souls.  Baptism has a certain chronological, logical and ontological priority: it is the sine qua non of faith, membership of the Church, all other sacraments and professions, and the promise of eternal life. But as, Lumen Gentium tells us, the common and ministerial priesthood are ordered together--the baptized exercise their royal priesthood best by participating in the Eucharist--which can only be affected by a ministerial priest.   To that extent,  being a baptized Christian, along with being a professed Dominican, and also an ordained priest, draw a friar closer to Christ, and give him specific Christic inspirations and arenas of activity, so that they are integrated in Jesus Christ.


No comments:

The Question Behind the Question

The Question Behind the Question : On the afternoon of June 14, a rather spirited, fascinating, and unexpected debate broke out on the floor...