The "Priesthood in the Dominican Order"
A Talk by Bishop Anthony Fisher, O.P.
St Thomas taught that Christian priests are only trustees or stewards: they hold the faith and sacraments on trust, not for their own aggrandizement, but from and on behalf of Christ to be dispensed to the People of God. They are conduits, mediators, telephone wires. Aliis tradere: we pass God and the things of God on to others. And if we are called to be conduits of the mysteries, we must be careful not to allow blockages in that pipe: blockages like pride and self-glorification, possessiveness and exclusivism, using and abusing. If we are called to be conduits of the mysteries, we must not adulterate them for the sake of popularity or the delight in hearing our own opinions.
Too often when people juxtapose the prophetic or charismatic with the cultic or hierarchical, what they mean is that they want to do their own thing free of interference from the tradition and its institutional guardians. I recently heard a (non-Dominican) Provincial declare that her institute's constitutions situated them at the heart of the Church but that these days they didn't much like the way the heart was beating. So they'd become prophetesses instead, preaching from and to the margins. Her congregation is dying. Dominicans, even when they preach on the frontiers, speak from the heart of the Church, where the Gospel is, where the living tradition is. No ecclesial heart transplants for us. We are the Church's preachers.
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