.- The Los Angeles Times published a long report yesterday, highlighting a ânew breedâ of younger priests, who are loyal to the Pope, to Church doctrine and to deep pastoral commitments.
The report features Fr. Marcos Gonzalez, associate pastor at St. Andrew Church in Pasadena, as a member of this new breed, ordained during the 25-year papacy of Pope John Paul II.
The 41-year-old priest wears a cassock every day, disagrees with optional celibacy for priests, opposes women's ordination, believes artificial birth control and gay sex are always a sin and tells couples to remain chaste until marriage. This ânew breedâ also speaks boldly about religious vocations and evangelization.
The report tells how Fr. Gonzalez recently held three classes of St. Andrew students âspellbound during a pitch promoting the virtues of religious life.â
"We want to present a vision of the priesthood that is faithful, vibrant and optimistic," Gonzalez is quoted as saying.
The report states that these âJohn Paul priestsâ represent âa global trend toward Christian orthodoxy, in contrast to a generation of more liberal priests, ordained during the 1960s reforms of the Second Vatican Council.â
Despite the contrast, older, more liberal priests respect this new generation ordained ministers, reports the Times.
While some experts say the new breed will reinvigorate the Church others say their stance on lay leadership in the Church and other issues may create conflict with lay members of the Church.
Fr. Gonzalez told the Times that unlike older priests, who often complain about the rigidity of the Church before Vatican II, priests of his generation grew up amid social uncertainty and find beauty and solace in the Church's 2,000-year-old disciplines.
The report cites Dean Hoge, sociologist at Catholic University of America, who states that this "search for a solid rock" is one of the reasons young priests today are more conservative. Other reasons include John Paul's influence and more active recruitment by orthodox bishops and seminaries.
Priests ordained during John Paul's papacy now make up 32 percent of the 43,600 Catholic priests in the U.S.
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