When I was in college seminary, I remember the process of priesthood in a Diocesan order where it could take you more than eight years before you’re ordained as priest. It would take fours years in college for the course in Philosophy and another four years in Theology. After that, you’re given a year to be exposed outside. You can choose to live in a parish and get involved in different religious organizations. Or you can opt to be employed in a business company. This is to buy you some time and discern if you’re really spiritually fit to become a priest. I guess the biggest challenge is whether you can keep faithfully the vow of celibacy.
If you think you can, then you come back to the seminary and proceed to the last phase which is the Diaconate. This can take you from 6 months to a year depending on your readiness. When you are, then expect a big celebration where hundreds of people will be attending. Usually, it’s the Archbishop who will officiate the ceremony. It’s like getting married not with another person but with God. For this reason, the newly ordained priest becomes what’s called as Alter Christus which virtually means Another Christ. This is the exciting part for an ordinary priest. I’m using the word ordinary for there are priests who are truly holy, living the teachings of Jesus Christ. Thus, they become extraordinary which are rare nowadays.
For the ordinary priest, he feels privileged, deserving respect and honor. In fact, there was a study conducted during my time that most of the men who enter priesthood came from poor families. They see priesthood as some sort like an escape from financial hardships. In other words, from the very beginning, there was no real desire to serve the flock of Catholicism. So what happens to these priests? They make money and indulge themselves with the comforts in life which they never had before. Taking advantage of being Alter Christus, they can elevate themselves and give orders to the point of persuading if not brainwashing the parishioners that if people give more money, more blessings will be given by God. It’s as if God can be bribed.
I’ve read somewhere that the Roman Catholic Church is the world’s oldest and most successful company with approximately 1.2 billion customers. The obvious reason for this goes back to the priests as Alter Christus.
However, never in their homilies that they teach about Man as God, instead it’s the Church and its priests as God, whether expressed explicitly or not. That’s why the Catholics have been long programmed as servants for them. This teaching have been passed from one generation to the next. Most of the traditional elders would say that it’s a grave sin if you talk bad against the priests.
Never in their homilies that they teach and explain that any human being is God, Himself. Are we not? Remember, we’re created in His image and likeness.
And never in the Bible you would read the moving words of Jesus Christ such as these:
“The kingdom of God is inside of you and all around you, not in buildings of wood and stones. The kingdom is inside of you and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known and you will realize that it is you who are the Sons of the Living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you will dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty. Recognize what is in your sight and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered.”
It can be read from the Gospel of Thomas which is part of The Nag Hammadi Library, discovered in Egypt in 1945. Those are one of the texts which were suppressed by the Roman Catholic Church. Why? Read carefully and try to digest deeper its meaning and you will realize that we, human beings, have so much potential power…a power which the Church doesn’t want us to know and use. For if we do, we will no longer be dependent on outside forces but rather, we look within ourselves. When this becomes a reality, the established Church begins to crumble and lose its value.