An excerpt from a very good article in the Star Tribune.
Today, almost 140 young men are discerning the priesthood at St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas. The St. Paul Seminary has nearly 100 seminarians, who flock here from dioceses around the country.
In many ways, today’s young priests resemble their peers in the millennial generation. They play Ultimate Frisbee, jog, or play the drums. Originally, many aspired to become professionals, such as architects or accountants. But in the end they chose not an occupation but a vocation — a comprehensive way of life. Their wholehearted desire to challenge the prevailing culture, and their vow of celibacy, mark them as cultural radicals.
Howe — with a wry smile — puts it this way. “I’m a walking contradiction, a walking perplexity. I’m living a life that the larger society says isn’t possible.”
“Many Minnesota Catholics think they know what to expect from clergy — a now-familiar mix of soft social criticism and gentle moral encouragement,” says Robert Kennedy, chair of the Department of Catholic Studies at St. Thomas. “But many of the younger clergy take a very different approach. Their voices will not be soothing and predictable, but challenging and supported by personal witness. They are out for souls, not social change.”
Well the priesthood has always been a sign of contradiction.
Although I would quibble with the last sentence in this excerpt. When the concern is for souls there is also corresponding social change starting at the smallest level outward.
“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce)so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Lk 2:34)