In this short post the only point I wish to make has to do with proper reverence and esteem that should be given to certain personages. This is something that seems to be lost on our new, more relaxed, and egalitarian construct of society. For my examples I would like to address three which I think might bring my point home.
For my construct let us take on the birth name of a fictional character known as Robert Miller.
If Robert Miller becomes a doctor of medicine and we have the proper reverence for his unselfish service to provide us with healthcare and life saving practices one would be rather bold to address the man as Dr. Bob. He deserves more respect, more esteem and a sense of reverence for his sacrifices and his service to the community. The proper way to address him is Dr. Miller.
And if Robert Miller becomes a Lieutenant in the Marines and is risking his life to procure and safeguard the country and my own freedoms, likewise one would never refer to him as Lt. Bob but as Lieutenant Miller.
Most of us understand this protocol at some level or at least we did in our recent past. I was raised to do this; just as I was raised to say Mr. or Mrs. when addressing an older married man or woman.
I find it incredible that today in the Catholic Church that we feign such familiarity with our priests. For if Robert Miller is ordained a Catholic Priest today he is most likely to be addressed as Fr. Bob. Now here is a man that is our spiritual father and is serving God and his flock. This seems to be the result of the breakdown of all civility and norms that occurred during the mid-60’s in our country. that prevails today.
We previously were not to look at him as just a pal and another man or friend. He was more than that. The common thread to the respect that civil people employed in the past was simply the fact that a Doctor served the community and the health of each of us while the Military man served his country and protected our lives, liberty and freedom. But higher than this, the Priest who serves God and his flock in an effort to bring us safely to heaven and to avoid hell should obviously deserve more reverence and respect: as the aim of his ministry has eternal consequences to our souls. It is not, as in the other two instances a temporal end that is being sought for our well-being.
Please God that we once again respect the high-calling of the priest and see in him as our alter Christus acting in persona Christi during the sacraments of Confession and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Maybe then, we will quit treating him as just another member of the congregation that dresses funny (hopefully in his clericals and cassock).