After 12 years of isolated seminary training, on June 11, 1954, 25 of us were taken by bus to old St. Mary Cathedral on Van Ness Ave., San Francisco and, by placing his two hands on my head, Archbishop John Mitty transferred his power to me and the other deacons. In solemn ceremony my identity was thought to be totally changed and I became priest. I was isolated from the world – a lone wolf who knew little about pastoral practices and engagements. Yet everything I did was supposed to come out spiritually well, automatically. Thirty years after the fact people began to ask if the priest had been changed ontologically.
Once taken for granted in 1954, the priest would come under microscopic scrutiny within 7 years of my ordination. Now, in 2018, the priesthood and church struggles for its identity and survival.
How the idea of priesthood changed over the centuries…[ ]