US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Special Section: Year of the Priest

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year of the priestPope Benedict XVI declared 2009-2010 to be the Year of the Priest as a time of renewal for these servants of God. As the year has progressed from its beginning in June, renewal certainly has been a theme, but not just in the sense of individual priests' spiritual lives. Catholics have been discussing the renewal of the priesthood itself as the sex abuse scandal continues to grow and the shortage of priests leads to new ideas.

U.S. Catholic covers the issues that affect priests from the perspective of people in the pews. Browse through following articles to see why the Year of the Priest is for all Catholics:

Priests off the pedestal
A holy-card priest is not the best patron to lead 21st-century ministers into the future.

Too true to school
The sex abuse crisis should teach us that it takes more than a seminary to raise a priest.

Men of the same cloth?: Old priests vs. new priests
As wing tips and clerical collars replace sandals and golf shirts, parishes react to a new style of priest.

Homegrown clergy: The case for a new kind of priesthood
A retired South African bishop argues for ordaining "elders," local leaders of the community, to ensure that everyone has access to the Eucharist every Sunday.

In the service: Priests in the military
The U.S. armed forces are looking for a few good men-priests-to serve Catholics in uniform. But some question whether Father should rank among military officers.

Foreign ministry
The shortage of priests has made some places in the United States "mission territory," drawing clergy the world over to a parish near you.

Roamin' Collar: Multi-parish priests
Pastors across the country serve two, three, and even seven parishes. With innovation and flexibility, parishes are learning as they go.

Bring back men in black
Religious clothing allows Catholics to make a fashion statement about their faith, says a young priest who sports the look that a previous generation put away.

Vocational school: Sister Katarina Schuth on seminaries
Having taught in and studied seminaries for 20 years, Katarina Schuth sizes up the changes in today's seminaries and the men they are forming for the priesthood.

Let's enlist short-term priests as a long-term solution
Celibacy isn't the problem, argues Father Andrew Greeley. It's the lifelong service to the priesthood that scares away young men.

Out of sight, out of mind
Once ubiquitous, the parish priest is disappearing into thin air, with troubling effects on young Catholic imaginations.

Picturing the perfect priest
U.S. Catholic readers have some strong ideas about how to build a better clergy-from training to ordination requirements to personal traits that make a priest great.

Who's the boss?
The priest shortage is generating some creative solutions to parish staffing, but they require a little flexibility and a healthy sense of humor on the part of everyone involved.

Men in Black
Robert Silva, a pastor and spiritual director who has taught at the University of the Pacific and the Catholic University of America, talks to the editors in this 2006 intervew about how his journey to priesthood changed his life.

How to build a better priest
In this 1997 interview, Father Robert Barron laments "a preferential option for mediocrity in the priesthood" and discusses his vision for how to form priests.

Blog posts:

4/22/09: The solution to fake celibacy

6/11/09: Year of the Priest: Time to talk celibacy

4/15/10: Friendly advice from a brother in Christ

See also, U.S. Catholic's Special Section on the clergy sex abuse crisis.