LAST Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday, April 21, we were asked to consider, think about, to pray to the good shepherd for more vocations to the priesthood.
On that same Sunday we arc told, through the Catholic Herald (April 19), of the justified frustration and anxiety of women throughout Britain who feel "belittled and that their gifts are under-used by priests and bishops who do not consult or listen to them".
Surely it is correct to say that it is not because they are women that they are "denied their full share of responsibility" in the church, but because they are laity. The bishops and priests arc guilty of manipulating the laity in the false sense that the laity play a full part in the church. The bishops and priests are very good at making the laity feel they have got a say, of holding meetings and conferences, but then run things how they, the bishops and priests, want to.
It has been 30 years since the second Vatican Council, and still clericalism is the order of the day. In parishes it is still the priest who takes the decisions and by and large takes them alone.
As a seminarian, I can guarantee that this will be so for many years to come. In the seminary the priest is trained in an all male environment, taken away from society for six years to he put back into society where all too often he hides behind the presbytery door. Many students come to seminary believing themselves to be "chosen by God", thus above everyone else. They are then taught to believe that.
If the bishops, priests, including seminary rectors and staff, want to practice what they preach then they should wake up! Get to grips with what the people are pleading for, a right to play a full part in the church. No wonder this is such a grave shortage of priests and students for the priesthood, when the bishops and priests continue to ignore the cries of the young people and women, "Listen to usl" A seminarian