The Catholic Priest is not just an ordinary man, but a Holy Spirit-filled man, in a physical body. He is the direct descendant of our Lord Jesus Christ, a replica of Jesus Christ. This is so because, he derives his spiritual powers from the day Jesus Christ sent him (the Disciples) out to preach and win souls, adding that “whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, and whose sins you retain, the sins are retained in heaven”. Does this not strike cold shivers into the hearts of the Catholic faithful that these real anointed men of God have extra-spiritual powers which must be reverenced by everyone?
Again, take a look at that blessed day. When our Lord Jesus Christ called on Peter the Disciple, giving him all the Spiritual powers on earth. He is Peter the Rock, on which Jesus Christ built His church. Giving him the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, Jesus Christ commanded that the gates of hell shall never prevail against the church he built on the solid rock, Peter.
That was the beginning of Christianity, and since then the Catholic Church has wadded through thick and thin and still stood as the indistructable rock of Gibraltar. There had been massive tortures, inquisitions and crucifixions of the church’s personalities. Yet, the Catholic Church had remained undaunted, and refused to fall. The more they are persecuted, the stronger the church. Many Popes have taken up the mantle of leadership of the Catholic Church, long after St. Peter who Christ Himself made the first Pope. Today, we have His Holiness, Pope Benedict the Sixteenth at the Papal seat in Rome and representing Jesus Christ Himself. Through St. Peter, He is administering the entire Catholic World, maintaining the Papal infallibility.
Every Catholic faithful therefore, believes that whatever the Pope Says or does concerning the Catholic doctrine is sacrosanct and not subject to questioning. What this means is that the Pope is constantly in the Holy Spirit which energizes Him to rule over the spiritual affairs of all Catholic faithful.
This doctrine of Papal infallibility is by extension transferred and embedded on the Cardinals, Bishops, Monsignors, the Priests, and even the Reverend Sisters, because they are the true representatives of Christ here on Earth. Remember that Christ Himself asked the grateful leper to go and see the Priest. He could, if He had wanted to, simply asked the only repentant leper (or sinner), out of the ten healed, to go home, for his sins are forgiven. Jesus Christ was simply giving the due respect to the Priest as the true man of God. Why not we, who are mortals?
The making of a Catholic Priest takes along process. If he goes through the minor seminary, he spends an average of fourteen years, while major seminary takes at least nine years after the Secondary School education. These are fourteen years of hard life, of disciplined life, of life full of hassles, pains and uncertainties, of life many of us would not love to go through. It is not just a matter of waking up one morning to say that “I saw God in the dream in the night, calling me to be a pastor or an overseer of a Church”. Such Pastors are numerous going about proclaiming miracles, healings and wealth accumulations, at the expense of the Salvation of Souls which Jesus Christ truly came and died for. The Catholic Church is not just a Church for personal aggrandizement, but a Church unique for its Spiritual and Physical discipline. It is a Church for personal endurance, a Church with a unified administration directly handed down from Jesus Christ to Peter the first Pope, a Church still holding tenaciously and dogmatically to its original doctrines, a Church where Jesus Christ Himself is the Pillar, the Head and the Leader. We mortals are only the limbs of Christ and He uses us to do His biddings.
Why therefore, must the limbs offend the head, the Pope, the Cardinal, the Bishop, the Monsignor, the Priest including the Reverend Sister who has all taken the very bitter vow of celibacy to be Christ-like? It is sacrilegious if not madness for one to write petitions against a Catholic Priest or Reverend Sister, a Monsignor, a Bishop, a Cardinal or even the Pope, while they are performing their Spiritual duties. Such petitions are written perhaps to achieve the transfer or removal of such a Priest. If this is achieved, how much has the petitioner gained? Remember Cardinal Martin Luther, the great petitioner who wrote ninety-five theses against the Catholic Church in Rome and pasted same at the gate of the Church.
He achieved the schism of the Catholic Church but today, the Lutheran Church he established and restricted only to Germany is neither dieing nor living. It is elating to know that the author, Cardinal Martin Luther later repented and returned to the Catholic Church, the only Church established by Christ Himself on the solid Rock called Peter.
Bishop, Martin Luther’s wound, on the Catholic Church remains indelible. It is in the same way that some Catholic faithful wound their priests through petitioning, blackmail, gossips, and flying wrong rumours about them. Remember that the Priest you are petitioning, blackmailing or carrying wrong rumours about is a truly anointed man of God, who God had ordered you not to touch. He stands on the altar in place of Christ, re-enacting the sacrifice of the altar which is the last supper of Christ with His disciples. Why wound God’s anointed? Are there no other ways of resolving Church matters? How much of these have you exhausted? Where have you thrown dialogue?
The great African Leader and Philosopher, Late Julius Nyerere of Tanzania once wrote in one of his Books that African Democracy revolves round dialogue; that is, discussing and discussing and discussing at the village square until agreement is reached.
Petitioning the Priest to the Cardinal is merely wounding the Priest. It is more sacrilegious calling a Catholic Priest a “devil” or using other profane words on him in the petition so that you can properly rubbish him before the Cardinal. The question is, are we really Catholics, the true Catholic faithful who exude humility, soberness, and spiritually disciplined? All Catholics are proud to be Catholics as they display the Holy Rosary, Scapulas, and other Sacramentals in the public. Will a petitioner against a Catholic Priest proudly hit the chest and say, “I-am-a-Catholic?” My heart weeps indeed; my heart bleeds for all Catholic faithful!
What has become of Catholic Faithful?
If I do not like the face of a particular Priest in a particular Parish (and there is no reason for that anyway) the worst that can happen is to worship in another Parish. A Catholic Priest is the direct representative of Christ here on earth. He becomes the Monsignor, the Bishop, the Archbishop, the Cardinal and the Pope tomorrow. The Pope sits on the seat of St. Peter the Disciple who Christ gave the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to represent Him on Earth as a Church. We need to reverence our priests. That is why they are called Reverend Fathers. Stop wounding the Priest!!!. They are the truly anointed men of God – and the Holy Spirit is in them.
Pat Asakome who worships in St. Ferdinand Catholic Church, Boys-Town, Ipaja is a Broadcaster – Journalist, an Author and a Media Consultant. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria.