Should Priests Have A Day Off ?editor
More and more these days I’m hearing lay people complain that priests should not have a weekly day off.
I’d presumed that priests always had a day off, but I’m hearing readers claim that this is a very new phenomenon. Since I don’t know any priests of an age to recall the pre-Vatican II era, I have no way of checking this, so maybe a contributor to this blog will enlighten me one way or the other.
Certainly, it seems unreasonable to expect priests to work without any respite. Even in the strictest monastic religious orders, the Sisters/Brothers have a couple of hours of recreation every day.
Of course, there may be problems with the concept of a regular weekly day off. When I lived in England, for example, a priest once told me that the then bishop instructed the clergy to make their day off a day off from “everything” – they should not feel obliged to say Mass.
Strictly speaking, another priest told me, no priest is obliged to offer Mass every day – they have, apparently, the same Sunday obligation in church law as the rest of us. Still, doesn’t seem right, does it, for a priest to think he needs time off from offering Mass.
So, what do you think – should priests be priests 24/7, all year round, with some time for relaxation that falls short of a regular weekly day off?
This is bound to be one of the shortest discussions ever – it’s a no brainer. Of course priests should have a day off every week. Everyone else does, why shouldn’t priests?
You are wrong Nicky! Parents don’t have a day off. Imagine a mother saying to her family: you can look after yourselves today, it’s my day off?!! Now don’t get me wrong, of course priests, like anybody else, need recreation and relaxation but, their job is a 27/7 one for all that. Quiet time can be taken at appropriate periods but they should always be available in an emergency and for Confession and Extreme Unction.
Until a few years ago in our parish, no priest ever had a “day off” and there was Mass every day. In my opinion, this “day off” idea only cheapens the priesthood which, like parenthood, is a VOCATION not a career. It just makes the priesthood look like another job like any other and I wonder if this is deliberate in order to play down the importance of such a God given vocation.
Crofter Lady: there is no such thing as Extreme Unction (last Rites), so no priest even on his day off can offer something which does not exist. There is the Sacrament of the Sick, similarly confession is known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These are both SACRAMENTS of Holy Mother Church ( the clue is in the title.)
It is a very foolish person who would refuse these sacraments if they are requested or required by the faithful.
PLEASE, (nasty remark removed by editor), get the basic terminology right, so that you can be taken seriously in your argument.
(Editor: until you learn how to discuss without being nasty, nobody will take YOU seriously in your argument. And if it continues, I’ll put you back in the moderation queue. With pleasure.)
Of course priests are entitled to a day off, or have you never read the creation account, Even God had a day of rest each week. And didn’t Jesus talk about resting on the Sabbath. In days before V2 most priests had the Monday as their recognised day off. Parishioners new this and respected it too.
I think you’ll find that the old rite Sacraments were permitted again under Summorum Pontificum, which would mean we could speak of Extreme Unction and the Sacrament of Penance.
I read something recently that criticised “Sacrament of Reconciliation” saying it gave the wrong impression because “reconciliation” suggested a kind of equality between two people, but in our relationship with God only one of us needs to say “sorry” and beg forgiveness and absolution. I was pleased to read that (can’t remember where, I admit) because I always felt it was an inappropriate name but couldn’t explain properly why. That explanation made it clear to me that I should stick with “The Sacrament of Penance” or “Confession”. We need to be put at rights with God again while he just stays the same. He doesn’t have to reconcile at all.
I do think, on balance, that a weekly day off for priests is a reasonable thing, on the understanding that they or a substitute priest are available for emergencies like sick calls.
As for what happened before VII – we didn’t need to think about this issue because we had so many priests, sometimes 3 or 4 to a parish, so I imagine they did have a day off but we wouldn’t have noticed because a priest was always available and if we asked for the priest who was on his day off, we would be told he wasn’t in or was away that day. They must have had a day off, I feel sure of it.
Priests actually do have a day off, though they would normally celebrate Mass before they “take off”. However, they remain on call and would postpone, or cancel, their arrangements if an emergency arises. This is because, as you rightly say, theirs is a vocation and the demands of that vocation always take precedence over all else (the daily lot of parents!!!).
I don’t know if you should be so dogmatic in telling Nicky that he is wrong. We are allowed an opinion on this.
My opinion is that a priest should have some rest and recreation. The most practical way of doing that might be to have a day a week. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this. The priest in my local parish says the morning Mass and then has his recreation. I presume the housekeeper can contact him in an emergency.
Provided the priest is sensible and doesn’t refuse to give pastoral care because it’s his day off I can’t see any problem with this at all.
I’ve never heard of it. I do know that when I was a child NO priests would come to our town to vacation and they said they didn’t offer Mass while vacationing. Some of the older people were upset by it but I don’t know what the rules were.
The Society priests have to take recreation. I know some of them do play golf, walk everyday, bicycle, etc. but they always offer Mass everyday. They also have yearly vacations. They are suppose to rely on lay people to help them so that they are not over burdened.
Instead of a day off I would say a NO priest needs most of all a day of recollection and prayer. Their problem is that they have lost the barrier between God’s things and the things of the world. They need to turn their whole heart and mind towards Our Lord.
“They (SSPX priests) are supposed to rely on lay people to help them so that they are not over burdened.”
Well, I’m fed up offering to be a Pastoral Assistant here in Glasgow. They say nothing, just smile (sardonically, I tend to think… )
What IS their problem?
hehe. No women allowed. But they do accept Christmas baked goods. In the Christmas tin under the chocolates slip in “how to improve this Chapel, a list of things to do”.
“Instead of a day off I would say a NO priest needs most of all a day of recollection and prayer. Their problem is that they have lost the barrier between God’s things and the things of the world. They need to turn their whole heart and mind towards Our Lord.”
I think that is very unfair and it is also not true. I know priests who spend an hour before the Blessed Sacrament every day that they possibly can. It is not right to brand “NO priests” as the bad guys all the time. It was the older generation of traditional priests who changed things and went along with the Vatican II reforms in the first place. The younger priests like the ones I know who speak about trying to have a holy hour before the tabernacle are not to blame and many of them are confused about what is going on. I don’t know what the Society of St Pius X priests do about recreation but since they have small congregations I wouldn’t imagine they are as much on call as parish priests.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you or the Society priests but it is not a just thing to do to make out that all novus ordo priests lack a good spiritual life and all the traditional priests are saints.
No I don’t think priests in the NO are saints. They have the potential to be and I want them to be but they’re going to have to fight for it themselves. So in their Holy Hours let them ask for the fortitude to stand up for Our Lord, to fight for His honor and glory and to hate the world and then let them lay down their lives for their sheep. Our Lord is not going to say no to that.
Look at Fr. Eugene Heidt, he was offering the Novus Ordo Mass and he was an alcoholic. He fought it all and triumphed! I’ve always loved the priests who have struggled and triumphed more than the SSPX priests.
“No I don’t think priests in the NO are saints. They have the potential to be and I want them to be but they’re going to have to fight for it themselves”
Are you saying that SSPX priests are saints, just because they say the traditional Mass? That would mean no Catholic ever went to Hell before the novus ordo.
As I already said, I know some very good novus ordo priests who make a holy hour every day. I think it’s really up to God to decide who the saints are.
No, I’m saying if priests in the Novus Ordo want to be Saints let them offer the Traditional Mass only. That’s the only Mass that will make them a Saint. Our Lord earned every grace to make them a Saint in His death on the cross so they have to offer that Sacrifice to God on the altar not a eucharistic celebration with it’s very common sacrileges.
It was a traditional priest who once warned me against the danger of making definitive judgments in certain matters, on the grounds that God will take account of everything, including the current dreadful crisis in the Church, when He judges souls.
There are, of course, as Josephine says, very good priests in diocesan parishes and it is really not within our gift to judge which of the Masses being offered by presumably well-intentioned priests are acceptable (or not) to Him, and I say that despite the fact that it is clear from all we know about its genesis and history, that the novus ordo per se, cannot be pleasing to God. The fact remains, however, that Archbishop Lefebvre himself accepted that the new Mass could be valid (notwithstanding its dangers) and so, while we urge and exhort priests to learn the traditional Mass and offer it to the exclusion of the novus ordo, we have to take account of the crisis situation in the Church, as will Our Lord. Goodness, one priest (now deceased) who edited a diocesan newspaper in England when I lived there, and published an article from me arguing against the spread of Sunday Eucharistic Services, was summarily dismissed from his editorship, as a result. So, heroic priests – and it would take heroism – who informed his bishop that he was offering only the TLM would be likely to have been last seen entering the Bishop’s office at 2pm on Monday of last week 🙂
Let’s continue to encourage priests to learn the TLM and so on, but let’s not discourage the good diocesan priests, some of whom are actually suffering a great deal because of this issue among others, and don’t know which way to turn. They, surely, have some chance of becoming saints, although it is also very true that none of us should take risks with our salvation: once we know the truth about the Mass and everything else, we ought to act to please Our Lord – and let the bishop go hang!
Maybe one of these days we’ll run a thread on God’s grace – and whether or not it is restricted in any way. Wouldn’t that be interesting?
I do believe there are priests of goodwill in the Novus Ordo who are not modernists. But Archbishop Lefebvre didn’t just say the Novus Ordo Mass was valid, he said it was not grace giving. He said if the fruits are good it is good, if they are bad, it is bad. The fruits are bad, visibly. To mix the Sacred and the profane has always made God angry.
I tried (but maybe failed!) to make the distinction between the novus ordo per se and the NO priests of good will (many of whom have never known anything else, grew up with it, were ordained to say it) and remembering the perfect justice and mercy of God, it would be a judgement that I, personally, would not be happy making, to say that none of them will attain heaven (which is what we mean by talking about becoming saints.)
I suspect we’re talking at cross purposes because I refuse to believe that anyone who could post a brilliant joke like the “I’m talking to the wine” joke that you posted on the Fun thread, could possibly think that there will be non-Catholics in heaven who are saved in (but not by) their false religions and yet NO priests won’t.
C’mon – there must be some sort of mix-up here. Come back, Josephine, all is forgiven! Help me out !
Yes Editor, you’re mixed up! By Saints here on earth one means heroically practicing virtue like the people of Ars saw St. Jean Vianney do while he was alive. All of my comments referred to living priests not dead ones.
Oh well, I thought you were saying that NO priests who die could not get to heaven.
The mix-up has occurred because, silly me, I thought someone had to be dead before they were saints. Mind you, at the rate they are fast-tracking canonisations these days, it won’t be long before we’re talking about Saint 3LittleShepherds or Saint Petrus, or Saint Eileenanne…
But not Saint Editor… see if I care, I’ll just wait till I die like in the old days 🙂
Hehe. Josephine used the word saints in the common way to refer to living priests who are exceptionally holy, I just went with the flow.
I actually didn’t mean “saints” while on earth – I meant it in the usual sense of getting to heaven after death. I re-read my post a minute ago, however, and I can see that what I wrote could be interpreted that way. It didn’t occur to me because I associate “saints” with after death.
“I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you or the Society priests but it is not a just thing to do to make out that all novus ordo priests lack a good spiritual life and all the traditional priests are saints. ”
Thank you for explaining that your quote above means saints in heaven. That’s so much easier to answer. Yes, you’re right, I absolutely think the deceased priests of the SSPX such as Archbishop Lefebvre, Fr. Henry La Praz (Todo-Nada), and Fr. Marchal are saints in heaven. And I admit that all the Novus Ordo priests who are in heaven have an excellent spiritual life.
” I absolutely think the deceased priests of the SSPX such as Archbishop Lefebvre, Fr. Henry La Praz (Todo-Nada), and Fr. Marchal are saints in heaven. And I admit that all the Novus Ordo priests who are in heaven have an excellent spiritual life.”
I’m not sure if you mean to be funny or sarcastic, but I’m sure you must know that everyone in heaven is a saint. That’s what we’ve just marked on the feast of All Saints. All those who are canonised and non canonised. So, any novus ordo priests who are in heaven are saints just as the others you mentioned are, if they are, in heaven. I prefer to do what the Church teaches and pray for the deceased as if they are in Purgatory – which is often recommended on this blog – and not presume any are in heaven, out of charity in case they are still needing our prayers.
If there is any priest in the Novus Ordo who reads this please ignore the non factual polemic above. I absolutely know there are priests of goodwill in the Novus Ordo and I know those that I’ve met who struggled to return to Tradition were the first to say they were neither “saintly” nor did they think that they could “win” without storming heaven with prayers. I meant to say all along that yes, triple your prays, pray always!
If you do not know him there is a good friend for you to pray to in Fr. Henry La Praz. You can find his short biography online, it’s called “Todo-Nada”. He suffered all of his life and died young. He loved priests. You will like him.
Also, if anyone has a priest that needs prayers especially if he is struggling or if he is ill, do consider Fr. La Praz and ask him to intercede for your priest.
Rashjudgement on your part. To encourage Novus Ordo priests to pray more does not mean I think they do not pray!
That was rashjudgement on your part. To encourage NO priests to pray more does not mean I think they don’t pray at all!
Yes, you were disrespectful, Josephine.
Editor, I had to put that all on here. I did an okay job rebutting your comments, but not so good, Josephine’s. I just let her accusations go and kept trying to push prayer. But I’m informed that I should quickly point out a false accusation and explain. I’m not good at arguing. I like to share. And I also like to encourage prayer. I have friends on all sides.
I always liked Josephine.
I am really sorry about being disrespectful – I had no intention of offending you at all. I don’t know why you think that but I apologise anyway. I just think it is wrong to say that because priests are not saying the traditional Mass, they cannot possibly get to heaven. I see now you didn’t mean but you think they cannot be “saintly” in this life. I disagree with you as I have met some “saintly” NO priests in my time. That doesn’t take away at all from the importance of the ancient Mass but it would be a very unjust God who would deny the means of holiness to priests in good faith saying the novus ordo. I think you are in agreement actually.
Also I don’t think you “rebutted editor’s comments” – she can speak for herself but I think she also misunderstood what you meant until you made your meaning clear. She wasn’t wrong to say that we cannot presume NO priests don’t get to heaven which is all she said, so you had nothing to “rebut”, just to explain more clearly. .
I’m going to bow out of this now since I do not like acrimony. Thank you and God bless.
There’s no acrimony – just crossed wires. I’m an expert in those, having been tied up with computer problems all day. 🙂
3LittleShepherds DID rebut my misunderstanding. And very well too, if I may say so.
However YOU get the pay rise for coming to my defence…
Who says Pontius Pilate is the model for diplomats – what about moi? 🙂
I don’t think anyone meant to accuse you of anything – it’s just been a misunderstanding all round. Let’s leave it there and, as they say in all the best modernist circles, move on! I pass no comment on you liking Josephine but not me. Jealous? Moi? 🙂
I do agree with you to a certain extent in that a priest should be available at all times but I do think that he has to have time to relax. I guess in ‘olden times’ when you and I were young Maggie'(isnt there a song…. ) there would have been about 6 priests to serve a parish so it would have been easier for them all to have taken a day off from main duties apart from saying Mass. Nowadays with only one or two priests in the parish it is a harder workload so they need to get away for breaks and be contacted by cell phone if they are need to give the last sacrament of Exrtreme Unction or are need urgently.
I learnt the 7 sacraments (which havent changed) and they do include Penance and Extreme Unction which can have the effect of healing on the dying person. I would prefer to be given Extreme Unction when my turn comes rather than the modern version which excludes many of the prayers and rituals of the Old Rite.
Clotilde, just as a matter of fact, and for information. Four times in the last 18 months I have personally received the Sacrament of the Sick, as a result of being very close to death – one occasion, having died – The Sacrament of the Sick is the correct and proper form to be administered to those who are gravely ill or under going serious surgery or on the point of death. Believe me it is a very effective Sacrament. We DO NOT have two different types of Sacrament.
You seem to suggest that if you were in such a position you would refuse the Sacrament of the Sick, because it wasn’t called Extreme Unction, and the prayers were ‘modern’. are You mad woman!!!!!!! The Sacrament of the Sick encompasses Anointing, Reconciliation and Prayers for Strength and Healing, as you would know if you actually knew your Sacramental Theology. To refuse its healing powers is to Slap Jesus Christ in the face. Sorry to mention Jesus Christ – someone who is rarely if ever mentioned on this ‘God forsaken’ sight.
Well, “God forsaken” or not, it sure ain’t Chasdom-forsaken. Why is it that people like you who detest the bloggers here and all that Catholic Truth stands for (which is Catholic truth, whole and entire) just can’t seem to tear yourselves away…
In my novus ordo days we were routinely invited to line up for the “Sacrament of the Sick” – even if we weren’t sick. Traditionally, Extreme Unction meant what it said: the sacrament of the anointing in extremis, when the person was in danger of death.
Anyway, you just thank our good Lord that you didn’t need the priest when you were close to death/actually dead (?) on his day off 🙂
Editor Your last line in your last blog and the emoticon suggests that you think I was being funny or in some way over dramatic I can assure you Lady I was being neither funny or dramatic, but rather very very serious. The Sacrament of the Sick was administered and I was and am very grateful that in the Grace of God a priest attended. You Madam in your arrogance forget that God cares for His Children in ALL their needs. That is; a priest was available. I resent very much your implication that I was possibly not telling the truth. How dare you!!!!! The blog which you presume to call ‘catholic truth’ is anything but. It is a malign organisation which deliberately sets out to create calumny and diabolical dis-orientation to and about others. You encourage others to go to chapels run by rogue priests whose leadership has publically stated that the Eucharist is evil and therefore have placed themselves outside the Magesterium of Holy Mother Church. In your own words -and before it is too late for you – GERRA A GRIP
may the HOLY Spirit one day enlighten you into the truth of the Gospel and the light of Jesus Christ
Talk about rash judgment and lack of charity all rolled into one.
Here’s my final sentence, to which you attribute so much that is not intended:
“Anyway, you just thank our good Lord that you didn’t need the priest when you were close to death/actually dead (?) on his day off 🙂
Now, nowhere do I suggest or imply that you are lying. The smiley face was intended as a reference to the topic – priests having a day off every week. I put a question mark at after the words “actually dead”? because you didn’t explain that, so I was indicating that it is kind of unusual for people to die and then blog here at Catholic Truth. As far as I know. Since I’ve only met a minority of the bloggers, admittedly, I could be wrong about that … I’d put a smiley face or an exclamation mark here but I’m afraid of possibly offending you and triggering another string of insults.
The rest of your post is just a rant. You attack the SSPX in the same frustrated way that everyone else who hates what they represent (traditional Catholicism, undiluted) hate what they represent, conveniently forgetting that top cardinals at the time of the introduction of the new Mass called it “a grave departure in whole and in part from Catholic theology of the Mass” and that Cardinal Ratzinger called it “a banal on-the-spot production” while more recently Cardinal Ranjith said it would be gone in a generation. Trouble is, not long after he said that, it WAS gone and replaced by yet another new Mass. It would be comical were it not so tragic.
So, YOU gerragrip. If you died and came back to life, believe me, my question mark was an understatement. If I’d put a string of exclamation marks, you might have a case against me but simple curiosity in the context of such an unusual claim, would not be interpreted in any way as being offensive, except by someone who is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
Leo emailed me this article on the new rite of the sacrament of Extreme Unction which he thought you would find of interest.
He was rushing off to work – some people use any old excuse not to blog. 🙂
I note that the link You kindly sent on the (no such thing) new rite of extreme unction is promoted by the sspx, a group of excommunicate persons, not in good standing with Holy Mother Church ie The One Holy, Apostolic Catholic and Universal Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ; whose Vicar on earth is the Holy Father Pope Francis 1. Therefore any sacrament carried out by such persons is not valid. Their leader, a self styled invalidly ordained bishop,who has declared publically the Eucharist to be evil. All others associating themselves with such persons are in grave and serious danger of losing their soul to eternal damnation.
Editor you are in grave danger by your continuous support of these persons = be warned how perilously close your soul is to eternal damnation!! May the LORD JESUS CHRIST send HIS HOLY SPIRIT into YOUR heart soul and mind to bring You to the full knowledge of HIM who died for your sinfulness and repent receiving the JOY of the HOLY SPIRIT. May God BLESS and PROTECT YOU at this time
Read what Cardinal Hoyos (appointed by Pope Benedict to liaise with the SSPX) says about their status. “Schism”? “Anyone who thinks that” the Cardinal says “Does not understand the situation.”
Read the entire interview for yourself here.
Also please explain ‘in my Norvus Ordo days. Was that some kind of sect or cult you were a part of??
I attended local diocesan parishes in the days before I returned to the TLM. So you decide the answer to your question – I’m not risking another rant!
Re. the daily offering of Mass, priests are not obliged to do so. Canon Law says: “priests are earnestly invited to offer the eucharistic Sacrifice ( note: Sacrifice with a capital S!!) daily” (CIC 276.2), and “remembering always that in the mystery of the eucharistic Sacrifice the work of redemption is continually being carried out, priests are to celebrate frequently. Indeed, daily celebration is earnestly recommended because, even if it should not be possible to have the faithful present, it is an action of Christ and of the Church in the carrying our of which priests fulfill their principal role” (CIC 904).
As to why daily celebration is not obligatory, I have heard it said (needs checking!!) that this is because daily Mass was introduced in the fourth century and is not, therefore, a Tradition (capital T) that goes back to apostolic times. Perhaps some of the excellent researchers on the blog (Petrus and Leo come to mind) may be in a position to shed some light on the historical aspect. God bless you all!
“Petrus and Leo” is it? Well, now I know. Off in the huff… 🙂
please come back from the huff, dear ed. You, after all, are our indispensable, indomitable, unique, non plus ultra coordinator and…glamorous beacon of light!
WOW – you’re back on the payroll. And I will pay absolutely NO attention to anyone who accuses Exrra Omnes of sarcasm. None whatsoever!
As a priest I use the anointing of the sick in the Old Rite as there is one significant difference. There is an implicit exorcism and this I believe really helps the person being anointed. This is especially tru when the person isn’t conscious and may be in need of confession, so with this rite and the apostolic pardon when appropriate ought to steer souls to purgatory at least. There are a few more blessings with the eyes, ears nose lips hands and feet being anointed in the Old rite and the head and hands in the new. It does take longer and the Latin is beautiful as it brings the language of history in the Church to the bedside. I know those who have had this anointing have received many surprising blessings. If I don’t have time and I don’t feel it necessary I use the sacrament of the sick as prescribed in the New Rite
As for a priest having a day off it is a certain type of madness that would think that this is not important. The reality of many parishes is that priests are on their own and do not have the anonymity of 4/5 priests to help with the work – most have a mobile phone and can be contacted should an emergency occur. That rarely happens believe it or not!
The pre vatican II two days many priests had a day off but had to be back for 10pm. This is still a good guideline for us. Usually on a Saturday night card schools would meet and this is where many of the older priests developed the struggle with drink – there are many stories connected to this period but suffice to say a much healthier Church exists now at least in this matter.
Drink is not such a big problem among the clergy these days – it does appear and causes much pain but nothing compared to the days of old
And finally a priest is not required canonically to say Mass every day as it presumes he does but yes the obligation is really the Sunday Mass although Pope John Paul II put it in much stronger words – this was an attempt to encourage priests in other countries that daily Mass is expected in countries where it was very relaxed. The tradition did eventually develop into daily mass probably cant remember why
The sensible thing for you to have said about days off would have been that you cherish your day off so you can read the Catholic Truth newsletter right through again once a week until the next edition comes out. Also, you need your day off in order to consult with the editor over tea and cream cakes, since she is your informal Pastoral Assistant (well, I’ve been rejected by the SSPX, so why not?)
Instead, you talk as if you needed a day off to rest, for goodness sake.
Honestly: these priests in good standing – standing on the golf course, it seems. I won’t have it, I tell you !
Thanks Scottish priest for explaining a little about the old rite of the last sacrament.
I was told my a traditional priest that hit was not mandatory to say Mass every day but he is obliged to say his breviary every day.
The SSPX priests will occasionally mention in their sermons that priests need help from the lay people. They say priests can get something called a “burn-out” from over work.
I think that various coordinators in the missions work pretty hard to set up everything for the priests. But there are still so many things that only a priest can do.
Speaking of vacationing priests, some of the society priests are older, some don’t have a family to visit, and it might be possible to offer one or some of them a holiday in Scotland. Then you could organize something to coincide with his visit like a small pilgrimage to some Catholic site in the Glasgow area, followed by a picnic or something. Then of course you’d have to do it every year.
I’ve put that on my list of things to do the very first time I have “vacation” (holiday) time myself !
Long time follower, first time commenter. I appreciate the points on this blog but I am unsure of everything I read. Some of you would call me a modernist; fair enough but I believe myself to be true to Christ and His Church (as you would). I do however, need to comment here. Most priests I know say mass in a morning and then have their day off, returning to the parish the next day and then returning to their duties 24 hours later. Essentially having a day but still working 7 days a week. I also know that these priests, in a time of need, will give up their day off and minister to the people who require it. They are priests of God but they are still human, although ontologically changed, they need rest; even parents share the work, as long as they are together.
How could Priest devote a whole day to leisure and relaxation, particularly in this day and age? Given that many parishes only have one Priest and one has several parishes under his control, I can’t see if it is feasible. If there is more than one Priest, by all means have the day off. Also, aren’t Priests under a canonical obligation to recite the Divine Office? If they were to have a ‘day off’ would they be within their rights to not recite it?
This is however an opportunity to provide some stats concerning worldwide Priest numbers. The no. of Priests is the highest it has been since the mid-1980s. http://cara.georgetown.edu/caraservices/requestedchurchstats.html
Surely the fact that priests are having to look after more than one parish on their own is all the more reason for them to have a day off. Someone can’t be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without feeling the strain. they need time to themselves when they can relax with friends or visit their families. In the parish I stay in the priest has his day off when after saying Mass at 9 a.m. the rest of the day is his own and the newsletter gives the phone numbers of the neighbouring parishes for any emergencies. The same thing happens in those neighbouring parishes when it’s their priests day off. Regarding their office, yes, priests must say their office everyday but as it is split up during the day it doesn’t take long to recite it.
An awful lot has changed since pre-VII times. Among the changes is the arrival of pushy, demanding parishioners who consume an unjust amount of the priest’s time (and remember, he is usually the only priest in the parish these days), and who increase his stress levels hyperbolically. Deny such a priest one day off a week and I guarantee it won’t be too many years before he has all seven off!
It must also be borne in mind that the new rites, especially weddings and funerals, call for various sorts of consultation and collaboration with the families concerned. Try putting an orthodox priest in a parish which is used to having Father Happy celebrate the sacraments like a three ring circus. More stress, d’you think? Then there’s the liturgy committee and the finance committee and the pastoral council… Try to do the orthodox thing and the poor chap is soon ready for a session at the St. Luke’s Centre – and then the real malefactors in the parish will pretend knowledge about why he was really sent there.
All that said, no priest needs a day off (nor is it ontologically possible) from his share in Christ’s Priesthood. He can never be obliged to offer Mass (common sense and a knowledge of why and when the laity should refrain from receiving Holy Communion will illuminate), but must at least attend Mass on all days of obligation like everyone else. But if a priest is in a state of grace, why on earth would he not offer Mass on his day away from the parish? Strange priesthood!
Deny such a priest one day off a week and I guarantee it won’t be too many years before he has all seven off !
I love it! Well said.
As for the rest – sounds like you need a Pastoral Assistant, so, as an act of supreme sacrifice, count me in. I’ll sort out those pushy and demanding parishioners in no time, and, let’s face it, with no parishioners, you really COULD have seven days off !
And who knows… you might end up being Chaplain to Catholic Truth, the envy of your brother priests on both sides of the Irish Sea… 🙂
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