Open letter on the new priesthood
At a time when, among other things, the Roman Catholic Women Priest is met with a crash for refusal to receive from the Roman Catholic institution, we ask ourselves:
Why does the only free Catholic movement that has had the audacity to challenge religious authority by ordering the priesthood and the episcopate of women and men (married or not and regardless of their sexual orientation) stubbornly to seek devout Catholic approval for his dissent? Is it necessary for Rome to bless in order to be blessed? The action of the RCWP has opened up new avenues by allowing “proscribed” women and men to finally live out their priesthood, and therefore to come together with their Master. What more could we ask for since the goal has been reached?
Is it more urgent to obtain official recognition of the religious institution than to respond to the call of a world profoundly shaken by the crises of the individual, the couple, the child, the teenager, the whole society? Humanity is looking for itself. How to respond to his inextinguishable thirst for meaning, how to help the injured person, how to put the weakened back on the road? Don’t human beings urgently need lighthouses, comforters, guides? How to send them, if not by creating a priesthood free (detached) from any religious allegiance? Does the Holy Spirit properly belong to Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, etc …? Can one be a priest through the Holy Spirit, quite simply, like Saint Paul himself who followed his apostolic path in connection with the other witnesses of the faith (the apostles chosen by Jesus during his earthly life) but not not under their watch?
For a long time, the major problem of the Christian faith has been found in the institutions which profess to put it on the banner, in their desire to frame allegiance, to measure adherence, to ensure their sustainability: crusades, inquisition, religious wars, influence peddling, blacklisting, abuse of power, disinformation, etc. Is it possible to bring together the children of God without wanting to register them in the registers of such and such a church?
Living your priesthood, isn’t it taking the wounded sheep to your heart, going in search of the lost ones, reassuring the one who is frightened, taking care of the lambs, reconnecting them to the flock, feeding them, interceding for them and bless them? It is undoubtedly on the meaning of the word “flock” that we are mistaken: it has been narrowed down by interpreting it as “religious group of such and such an allegiance”. What if, quite simply, the flock were just society as such, the whole world, as Vatican II taught so well? What if the fold was just a loving and welcoming family, or a vibrant, caring community organization?
What if we didn’t become a “priest” to stamp the “CHRISTIAN” seal on the people around us? If we didn’t try to bring them back to a so-called “religious practice”. What if we were just working to make them aware of their immeasurable dignity? To open them up to better well-being? Isn’t it the priestly joy to see those we accompany identify in them (them) their thirst for the absolute; to reveal to them (unveil) how much they are dear to God, and this BY LOVING THEM – BETTER THAN WE CAN – AS GOD LOVES HIM PERFECTLY?
In order to love in this way, do we need some institution to “enroll” us in its priestly cohort? Did God ever need ecclesiastical intermediaries to make Himself known to the world? (On the contrary, is it not the religious institutions which use God – and our desire to serve him – to stay in place?) Is it not rather through the free testimony of saints, disciples and inspired that God has been revealed to us?
Is it necessary to exercise one’s priesthood in the name of this or that Church? Isn’t being a priest of God enough? Are we not mature enough, as people of God (of all stripes) to discern those among us who have the experience and the skill to guide their loved ones and neighbors to the inner source? Do we not have the leadership to meet the pressing spiritual needs of our time? (Can an institution which arrogates to itself the right to withdraw this exercise of our leadership from us do it in all righteousness in the name of God?) Do we not have the discernment of the Spirit to recognize those whom God call and send them to assemble, in the name of our Master all? “Let them be ONE” implored Jesus on the eve of his death.
We are sorry to see those called to the priesthood spend so much energy maintaining the institution or seeking its recognition, while at their doorstep the children of God die of spiritual starvation.
Johane Filiatrault and Jean Beauchemin