The Catholic priesthood07 Aug 2017, by Sacraments in
The media recently reported the resignation of an ordained Catholic Priest who has served God faithfully through the priestly ministry for some good years. I cannot help but appreciate the services he rendered as a priest, especially for the souls he must have brought to God through his priestly ministry. I wish him the best.
The priesthood remains a mystery, an amazing show of love by God. No one is worthy of being called into the priesthood because it is holy. Jesus is the high priest (Hb. 3:1, 4:14-16); we all share in his priesthood by our baptism in him. However, some are called, chosen, and consecrated to serve as ministerial priests. They are called not because they are holy, but because God loves his Church. Through the sacrament of the Holy Orders, ordinary and sinful men are raised to act “in persona Christ.” This position does not annihilate his human nature; he is still a man who struggles with temptations and sin. The priest is in this world. He has to live and perform his duties, therefore, in an adverse environment. As John XXIII put it, his position obliges him to live in a world permeated by an atmosphere of excessive liberty and sensuality, often morally alone, seldom fully understood.” He is a man whose humanity is often forgotten, and he is seen as superhuman. The priests struggle with temptations like anyone else, and he may even fall, but we bless God for his grace at work.
The resignation of Rev. Fr. Patrick Edet, as reported by online media, is not a surprise. This is not an insinuation that Fr. Patrick is a disgrace, not at all. He is human-like each and every one of us, and those still in the priesthood may not in any way be better. The reasons for his resignation may be understandable, but the impression it may create in the minds of a few individuals may be negative.
Fr. Patrick claims, as reported by online media, that for the past years he served as a Catholic priest, he lived a boxed life; he needed to be free to serve God. But the freedom we know comes with responsibilities; you cannot be so free not to be responsible. The Catholic Church is an institution that has existed for about two thousand years, and she is still firm because she has consistently rejected excessive liberty among her priests and lay faithful. This may be what Fr. Patrick calls “box.” That is the impression I get. He claims that he was not called by the Church but by God. True, he is right because the Church does not call anyone to the priesthood; God does. But those called by God are called to serve in the Church. The Church is the body of Christ, and he (Christ) is the head of the Church. From the very beginning, the Church had human leaders; there were elders in the early Church, the custodian of the faith and tradition. They had to be obeyed; you cannot be free not to obey, for obedience is a virtue.
I am glad that Fr. Patrick did not leave the priesthood and the Catholic Church because the Church is evil, but simply because he wants to be free; he wants to do whatever he wants. If whatever he wants will bring glory to God, Alleluia! But the Church will not let her members or her priests have that excessive freedom that is destroying our world today. They must be watched and guarded by the Church’s hierarchy with the help of the Holy Spirit.