“Going God’s Way…” – (The Next Generation of Catholic Priests)

CrosbyOf all the movies I’ve ever watched in my life, ‘Going My Way‘ may be the single most influential for me.

If you’ve never seen it (and please, please tell me that you have), it was made back in 1944 and told of a young priest (Bing Crosby) who’s brought in to help save an ailing parish and its elderly pastor (Barry Fitzgerald). That year it was the highest-grossing picture, was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won seven…including Best Picture.

Wow, how times have changed.

Today this film is often rejected for being too schmaltzy, and certainly too “pro”-Catholic Church. Of course, when compared to the way the Church is portrayed in cinema and on TV these days, I guess that last criticism must be true. Think about it: it actually shows priests tending to their community, telling jokes and being all-around decent human beings.

The horror!!

By the time I was 9-years-old I had all the songs in the movie memorized and wanted nothing more than to be a funny, singing priest like Crosby’s Father O’Malley (minus the straw boater, perhaps). Obviously, that didn’t end up happening for me, but I’ve kept my faith & reverence for the Church, and ‘Going My Way‘ was a not-so-insignificant part of that.

—–

I mention all this because our culture today seems to be running full-tilt AWAY from such positive portrayals in movies of Christian faith, or even faith in general, …unless your ‘faith’ is in Global Warming or some such thing. Even worse, tragedies like abortion continue apace, and there can be no doubt that religious liberty itself is under serious threat both here and abroad.

These are troubling times for all Christians.

But all is not lost, at least to my eyes. As a practicing Catholic, I’m heartened by the modern-day Father O’Malleys that I’m seeing come out of seminaries. They aren’t the priests from ‘The Da Vinci Code: they’re joyful, happy warriors who fully realize what they’ve signed up for, and are excited about the challenge. My parish has been blessed with two recently, and both are impressive in their faith, humor and humility.

seminarian

Work took me to a Seminary several times in the past year or two, and I can tell you firsthand: high-caliber candidates for the priesthood are currently the rule rather than the exception.

Our good friend James over at Biltrix posted a cleverly entertaining video from a seminarian a couple months back. In it, the soon-to-be priest asks for your prayerful support for him and ALL of his classmates as they go about preparing for their vocations to Go God’s Way.

I would echo his plea: these men certainly need our prayers, and our world most certainly needs them.

My only question is: I wonder if this young man has learned “Swingin’ On A Star” yet? 

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***UPDATE

From Ed over at HotAir, looks like I’m not the only one who has observed a change in the newest group of priests on the horizon:

“Ashley McGuire, senior fellow at the Catholic Association, says to expect the next generation of Catholic priests to be different from their recent predecessors.  After a long fight over abortion, and now the government intrusion of the HHS mandate, the seminaries are seeing an upswing in traditionalists and conservatives — perhaps more than anything seen since Vatican II….”

Check out his entire post.

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11 responses to ““Going God’s Way…” – (The Next Generation of Catholic Priests)

  1. I agree with this but what happens to many of them when they go to parishes.? I was in the convent and we did do this. When we got out into the parishes the priests didn’t allow us to do anything. It depended what diocese you were in. When I came back to Pgh. I was very disappointed in our parishes here. My biggest gripe about the church is that MEN run it.
    They don’t let the women doing anything but what is menial. In this aspect the church needs to CHANGE and I hope these young seminarians see this and don’t let their VOCATION get to their heads. I do like the video and it’s hopeful. I pray that they all feel this way, but they need to allow women in.
    Sorry friend, but it’s difficult being a woman in the church. Catholic!

    • Hey, Di,
      Thanks for the comments, my friend, as always!!

      I don’t have a horse in that particular fight, but I’d disagree with one aspect of your logic.

      If your biggest gripe about the Church is that men run it, that would mean that, by extension, other factions of Christianity which are more “gender inclusive” are far better run, more cohesive, stronger in their faith, etc….
      I’d disagree with THAT rather vehemently.

      I’m no theologian, and don’t have the background OR desire to argue for/against female priests. Personally, I think it’s the wrong discussion for the wrong time. If the Pope and the Bishops ever go that route, it won’t bother me a bit….and I’m betting I’m in the majority on that one.

      But until that day, I’d suggest that our biggest struggle is to become MORE unified across ALL faiths, and such an internal political struggle would distract us needlessly.

      I say this because ALL Christians are being targeted right now.
      Every.
      One.
      Of us.
      And as Ben Franklin famously said, in a situation not that dissimilar: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately“.

  2. Nope–haven’t seen it. I’ll put it in the queue!

    • Great to hear: it’s a classic.
      I actually like the title song the best, although it’s easily the least known.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, LFHC!
      🙂

      • True confession time to my brother: I know I watched this movie growing up, but I remember virtually nothing about it…certainly not the music. Isn’t that odd? I’d better refresh my own memory by watching it again!

        • For shame!!!
          🙂
          I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched it, but it hits me the same way, every time…even today.
          ————–

          ***I probably should have included this in the original post, but it just occurred to me:
          I know that a main criticism of ‘Going My Way’ is that it’s too “idealistic”. To which I’d reply: so?
          Do most priests go around turning gangs of hooligans into literal Choir Boys?
          No.
          But that’s no more “unrealistic” than to have an archaeologist who saves the Lost Ark from the Nazis, or to have a paraplegic Marine who’s sent to some moon filled with big, blue-skinned beings (in 3D, even).
          Or a thousand more examples that I could name.

          It seems that today, movies about the Church are held to a completely different standard than ANY other movie subject.
          And that’s a shame: sweet, idealistic movies helped shape our culture back then, for the better.

          Of course, movies STILL shape our culture,…
          Just not for the better.

  3. I haven’t seen that movie for a long time. But generally, movies were big then and dismissed today. I’ve been thinking with Easter coming, what they have plannesd? Every year they (secular humanists and atheists et al) celebrate by taking a punch at Christians. So I can’t see it on the radar, yet. But its coming…

  4. JTR: I almost forgot that, warfare. But it would make sense, since last month the were respectful Christianity iand the community n New Town. So doing a 180 in a few months would be right on schedule for an all out assault.

    Tolerance is attacking Christians and values, or try for a two-fer.

  5. Hi, sorry a bit slow to get here 🙂 but I really enjoyed that you got inspired to write this. It’s been ages since I watched it but should definitely take you up on the Bing post idea. I even have a bunch of his LPs, in addition to the bio I told you about.

    As for the message, it’s true. Hollywood too often finds it easy and convenient (and a reflex, now) to bash Christians, when so many other types of extremism are actually far more threatening to much of what they value.
    And idealism in general the way old Hollywood encouraged and promoted is seen as simplistic, such a passe concept and in short supply it seems.

    More classic stuff, please, & thank you!

    • Hey, Kristina!

      Both of Bing’s “Fr. O’Malley” movies celebrated what was possible and moral. Hollywood still does that…it’s just their definition of what’s “moral” is decidedly different nowadays.

      Thanks again for stopping by! Next time I do a movie-centric post, I’ll make sure to ‘yell’ to you.
      😉

      Talk w/ ya’ soon!

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