The Catholic Priesthood is a “scam.”

The Ministry so far (3) : The Catholic Priesthood is a “Scam.”

Every Saturday morning in our parish, we celebrate two masses: 5.30am and, 7.00am which is precisely for the Block Rosary Crusade. After the 7.00am mass, the children gather according to their Block Rosary centers, get counted and the water is blessed and sprinkled.

Normally, the salt and the water are blessed separately, and the blessed salt is put into the blessed water before the sprinkling. From the teachings of the Catholic Church, this has a deep spiritual significance and effect: “This rite of blessing of holy water produces exactly what it says. The salt and water is exorcized, demons are expelled, and protection is provided to those who use it. Most importantly the water and salt is actually blessed.” The water becomes a sacramental; a channel of God’s grace.

But hold it. By now, you may be shouting “that is what they told you.”

Nevertheless, from personal experience this has a far reaching effect spiritually and physically. Here, I have seen after becoming a mediator in persona christi, what the holy water has done in several places, for how can you explain it to me that after blessing the water with salt, you hand it over to people whose residents are tormented by unseen and inexplicable forces. Then, after sprinkling it there in prayers, every turbulence ceases?

Yes, the priest is just an instrument. Also, the priest is just something else that I as a priest don’t understand. This might sound as a glorification of the Catholic Priesthood akin to those words echoed in “The Dignity and the Duties of the Priest” by St. Alphonsus Ligouri.

Contrary to the aforesaid, I am only sharing my experience as a Catholic priest in the Lord’s vineyard just for a year. Thus, this is beyond learning but experience. An experience that befriends faith and has made my inward vision to be more clear. Nevertheless, that I write out of conviction of experience is not to convince you totally because, just as the Blessed Virgin Mary told the children of Fatima, I say to you that even before the face of God, some will still not believe. Hence, I write that the living faith may be strengthened.

Moreover, what the priest utters with his mouth in the form of prayers both by the rubrics and beyond it, is for me and by this extant experience powerful. But hold it here too…

The priest is not powerful; it’s Christ in whom the priest is configured into that is powerful, for how can you explain it to me that I pray for someone and that person gets healed or, his/her prayers get answered. Yet, I pray for the same intention on my own behalf, nothing happens. This is akin to a doctor who couldn’t cure himself in the same circumstances that he cured others. Is that not pure scam?

How can you explain my experience to me: I did the sign of the cross on the altar while beginning the Holy Mass and remembering a woman whose daughter was booked for medical operation because she was diagnosed of appendicitis after series of laboratory tests that confirmed it. But, the mother was worried on how to foot the medical bills. On the day of operation, the same medical personnels who confirmed and booked the patient for the operation could not go on with the operation because there was nothing to operate upon again; the appendicitis has vanished. The doctor pushed with his fingers on the abdominal lower side of the patient and instead of the sharp pain, the patient felt nothing anymore. Yet, I who remembered the patient in the mass have been asking God for a particular personal intention which is beyond me but to no avail. Is this not a scam?

How can you explain it that a Catholic priest absolves(forgives) others’ sins in the confessional but can never absolve himself? Don’t shout scam yet.

Moreover, in one of those Saturday’s gathering of the children after the 7.00am mass, while giving the final blessings to the children, one of the children raised his hands and blessed along with me like a priest. I got attracted to such overture. Later smilingly, I called the child and asked him if he wanted to become a priest and he said yes. Upon further inquiry, the reply I got sent out some shock to my spine and down to my marrows.

He said:

“Fr. I wanted to be a priest so that I can help my mother and family financially, and also drive a car.”

This particular reply sent me back mentally to my seminary days and threw me into a deep nostalgia; I admired the past so greatly that I reflected on the reasons why I became a Catholic priest. In truth, when I got to my theological studies, I prepared for the worst and best of every imaginable in terms of “whatever” and “whenever” in the priesthood.

So, I looked at the child with every meekness and I said to myself, “if I had become a Catholic priest because of want of only helping my parents and a car ,I will be literally frustrated by now. The priesthood would have been for me the greatest scam ever.

In terms of financial flow, I must confess that when I became a priest, money started running away from me unlike before. Now, if I couldn’t easily care for myself, where do you get something for your family. Stealing or what? The priesthood was never instituted by Christ Jesus to be a business venture if one actually understand what pure business entails.

This priesthood ehh, if you ever get into it because of financial reasons, you will do every worst and unimaginable things in pursuit of money because what you are seeing materially from the outside is not what you get when you come into it. Is this not a scam?

As a priest now, I marvel that there are seminarians in the seminary to serve God in what the worldly standard would term a “scam.” Yes, it is a “holy scam.” A holy scam, in which the primary aim is salus animarum; the salvation of souls.

In theology, this scam is called a Mystery, because the deeper you go, the more certain things become uncertain and uncertain things become certain. Now, I understand gradually what I was told before ordination that the Catholic Priesthood is a Mystery even unto priests themselves.

©Fr. Henrycharles Umelechi

Truth Series.

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