Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Ten things a priest would not do before the Second Vatican Council

The Rolheiser model is out of stock
  1. Wear a moustache….why? It was considered a vanity – still is, actually.

  1. Dance with a woman….parish dances were frequent before the Second Reformation…….no priest worth his salt would ever take to the dance floor.

  1. Commence eating without first saying Grace. In Fatima 6 weeks ago, many priests and their groups were staying in our hotel. Our priest (who holds hard to pre Vatican 2 orthodoxy) was the only one to lead us in saying Grace before (and after) meals.

  1. Refuse a call to administer the Last Rites to the dying.

  1. Not say the Divine Office each day – de rigueur then.

  1. Wear clerical dress to a pub (it was thought then that a priest drinking alcohol in public would give rise to scandal).

  1. Retire…..not absolutely certain on this one; certainly, the parishes were well supplied with priests in their eighties, as well as young curates.

  1. Kiss a woman…I mean in the greeting and farewell sense that has become so much a part of British social normal behaviour. It just was not done prior to the change of Catholic life.

  1. Delegate school chaplaincy to a lay man or woman.

10. Join the local ecumenical council – no point really!

Now please, I beg of you, do not rush to leave a comment stating that you knew a Fr So and So who danced the night away or kissed every woman he was introduced to.

I am sure it happened, but not often - this post is a generalisation.

But all other comments are, as usual, welcome!


  1. In those days, many priests did go on working to the day that they died. A few did retire, but most would be given an easy job, like being chaplain to a convent. There were plenty of those.

  2. NO.11. Be out late at night. Some stuck to a 9p.m. curfew. I was once ate an evening party at the house of a local Caholic teacher, a widow.The parish priest left at nine accompanied by her student son. He would not be seen leaving the house of a widow alone.
    The son walked him back to the presbutery.

  3. Now, to be fair, every 'retired' priest I know (and I know... quite a few!) continues to be very busy filling in at this parish or that or convent chaplaincy or such things. At least until his health breaks down. Retirement is from being a pastor (which is mandated by canon law), not from priestly ministry, at least in my experience.

  4. And for certain, a priest before the Second Vatican Council would not have said Holy Mass with his back to Our Lord. Christ is supposed to be worshiped, not the people.

  5. A moustache is the passport to damnation! Probably because it is always sported by the bad guys. Twirl twirl...hardy har!

    "Moustaches always were the pride
    Of gallant gentlemen far and wide.
    Brave soldiers faced their country’s foes
    In brown or black mustachios.
    So, in these times of martial glory,
    Moustaches are obligatory.
    Philistines shirk the burden of bristle
    By shaving their faces as clean as a whistle.
    We are not philistines, so we
    Can let our mustachios flourish free.
    Long life to every Christian
    Who bears his moustaches like a man.
    And may all philistines be damned
    For having moustaches banished and banned."

    Frederick Engels to Maria Engels Mannaheim.29 October 1840

  6. Fr Lemieux, not in the UK, Father. The majority head for the golf course and a secual lifestyle. God bless.

    Nicandro, nice verse...looking forward to more posts please. Also, how about a joint Latin Mass 'twixt Cardiff and Swansea? It might help to bring some young people back to the Faith. Email me please if you think it worth pursuing. Richard.

    Et Expecto, many thanks, you've hit the proverbial on the head.

    Anon, Clinton and Mack, thank you all.

  7. I'm not sure what is wrong with wearing clerical dress to a pub? I think the issue should be that a priest should not be drunk (ever!), isn't it? I think it's a wonderful witness, particularly if they're wearing a cassock.

  8. I agree Rhoslyn, in today's climate.
    Back in the 1950s our society was highly critical of Catholic priests and to be seen in a pub could have been a cause for scandal.
    That's one of the changes for the better.

  9. Another thing a Priest would not do back then is back down from a fist fight if it meant saving souls....

    God bless our Padres.