Page 5, 15th May 1970

15th May 1970
Page 5
Page 5, 15th May 1970 — Priestly promises

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Priestly promises

by them, and something similar happened in the case of the new Maundy Thursday ceremony.

The dust raised by the first Press reports has now mercifully settled, the Vatican has made public the text of the new ceremony and so it is possible to look at it calmly and to see that it is much less sensational than was at first suggested.

The proposal is that during the Maundy Thursday morning Mass, when the bishop blesses the oils to be used in the diocese during the next year, he should preach a sermon after the gospel and then ask the clergy present to renew their priestly promises; then the bishop will turn to the laity and ask them to pray for the priests and for himself.

Of course, no one expects anything like all the priests of a diocese to be in the cathedral on this occasion and, if a priest does not attend, he is eimply encouraged to renew these promises in private.

If the renewal does take place in public, there is no fixed text to be used and even in the suggested text offered by the Vatican there is no explicit mention of celibacy. It would have been surprising' if there had been; after all, as I have mentioned before, in the ordination of subdeacons this matter is only referred to implicitly and indirectly and it would be rather odd if the annual renewal were explicit when the original promise is not.

In the suggested text the ieishop asks the priests to

reply will" to three questions; these concern their dedication to Christ. their adherence to the promises linked to the priestly office (a reference to obedience and to celibacy), and their faithfulness as ministers of the word of God and of the sacraments.

This proposed ceremony fits in very well with the Church's thoughts as she approaches the annual celebration of Easter and, without being a ferocious heresy-hunter or amateur inquisitor, one can find the innovation quite acceptable. However, from the wording of the ceremony as now published by the Vatican. whether or not it will actually be used next year in our cathedrals is something which depends on the bishops.

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