The Value of Traditional Priests
Of all the men, kings, rulers, leaders throughout time and the world, only a consecrated, validly ordained priest can forgive sins, confect the Most Blessed Sacrament at Holy Mass, and be there for so many who rely not on the man per se, but on his God-given powers conferred upon him. For every true priest it is a humbling thought! For every lay person, it is something we should never forget and cherish the dwindling number of faithful priests - the lifeline of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Father James F. Wathen
"When a priest gives Holy Communion, he thinks: They come to you, some of them for many miles, some of them after a long hunger, the old, the young, the rich, the poor, the fervent, the tepid, the well, the ill, some in chronic pain, some burdened with sorrow, in need of divine Food and Drink. You who have nothing of any value give these faithful souls the Bread of Heaven, the Beloved of the Father, the Word Made Flesh. How do you dare, you who are as unworthy as your Gift is great! Truly, to be worthy of such a calling one would have to be Another Christ!"
Father James Wathen
One of the most arresting truths of our Faith, which lay people understand as well as priests, is that in the Priesthood, our Lord, Jesus Christ imparted His supernatural power to men, for the benefit of all Catholics, the universal Church, and all the people of the whole world. What it means for a priest to forgive people their sins, to preach to them, to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and give them Holy Communion, we understand to some degree, though we cannot express it adequately in words. We all appreciate this fact more poignantly now that most priests have lost their way, and have short-circuited (in a manner of speaking) their priestly power. Conciliar priests do not teach Catholic doctrine, they hear few confessions, and offer a sacrilegious "mass." Whether they give the Body of Christ to communicants is a burning question. Many who are thought to be priests, and think of themselves as such, are doubtfully so; which means they may not have any priestly power at all. The implications of such a thought are too forbidding to speak.
For these reasons, we Traditionalist priests cannot help but recognize the preciousness of our vocations, and lament the paucity of our number. The number of Latin Rite priests who are doing what they are supposed to be doing is small and will, evidently, continue to diminish. We who remain will consider ourselves favored by God, as long as He allows us to remain on earth in His blessed service. There is the additional consideration that none of us is anxious to depart and meet our stern Judge, Whom we have served so poorly.
The priest, no matter how pure his intentions, is well aware that he is the boy David in Saul's armor, no more worthy of his dignity and power than any other man who did not receive the call. At the same time, every priest, when he sits in the confessional, when he preaches, when he stands at the altar, when he distributes Holy Communion, thinks to himself that, for all his many sins and limitations, these are the the things he was created to do, and they are the very best things any man can possibly do. He has no reason to envy anyone, or to ask God for something more. When he pronounces the words of absolution, he thinks: What a thing you do! absolve men of their sins, which no one else can do, no king, no president, no judge. They can remit the sentence, but only you and God can forgive the sin.
When a priest preaches, he thinks: How do you dare admonish them, or exhort them, so many of whom are so much better than you, who carry much heavier burdens than you, whose prayer is humbler than yours, who suffer more patiently than you?
When the priest offers Holy Mass, when he pronounces the words of consecration, he thinks: O unworthy man, what a thing you do! Who can fathom the mind of God, that He would endow such power to the likes of you! That He would depend upon you to offer the Lamb that was slain in Sacrifice, without which the world would be without grace, without defense, without hope, without love, without amity with the infinite God!
When a priest gives Holy Communion, he thinks: They come to you, some of them for many miles, some of them after a long hunger, the old, the young, the rich, the poor, the fervent, the tepid, the well, the ill, some in chronic pain, some burdened with sorrow, in need of divine Food and Drink. You who have nothing of any value give these faithful souls the Bread of Heaven, the Beloved of the Father, the Word Made Flesh. How do you dare, you who are as unworthy as your Gift is great! Truly, to be worthy of such a calling one would have to be Another Christ!
I thank again everyone who has prayed and continues to pray for John and me. My younger brother Tom has come in to help John and me for a couple of weeks. John will leave the Rehabilitation Center Tuesday, and will need Tom to help him at St. Paul's Chapel House and with his therapy. John has made good progress and we can hope that his recovery will be good, if not complete. It is still too soon to say how much he will be able to achieve.
I still have my "post-chemo" difficulties, but I consider that I am making steady progress. I have been told to accept the fact that I will never have the energy that I once did. I am not ready to accept this fact yet, as there seems too much to do. These have been difficult months, but not nearly as difficult for me, not nearly as painful, as others with the same disease have had to endure, and are enduring. I receive messages of encouragement and offerings of money, for which I am very grateful. I send everyone my priestly blessing, praying that he may advance in charity in the Heart of Mary, our Queen.
For those who want to help Father or write him, you can do so at:
Father James F. Wathen
P.O. Box 15152
Evansville, IN 47716
For past articles of Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus, see 2005ssc.htm Archives