PASADENA August 4, 2004 ( – A new generation of priests is making its presence felt across North America, reported the Los Angeles Times Sunday. In a prominent article running several pages, the Times featured Father Marcos Gonzalez of Pasadena, California. “If I had 10 different lifetimes, I would choose every one to be a priest,” said Fr. Gonzalez to a large group of teen-agers, held spell-bound by the young priest wearing a full-length cassock and straight-talking about life issues and moral problems.  Characteristic of the new young priests is their willingness to be faithful to and unashamed of the Catholic Church’s teachings including those on hard issues such as sex, contraception, homosexuality and abortion. Their counterparts in Eastern Europe came into young adulthood under the Iron Curtain and know the real meaning of the word martyrdom. While North America’s young priests missed the prison sentences and torture dealt out under communist regimes, they share their European brothers’ conviction that being faithful is worth it, regardless of the cost.

Both popularity and unpopularity are common fare for the new generation of priests. They are often intensely despised by a generation of Catholic dissenters who falsely hailed the Second Vatican Council as liberation from the Church’s moral and doctrinal teachings. Surprisingly enough, the new priests are most popular with the young.  Young people, feeling awash on a sea of uncertainty and untruth, gravitate towards priests who speak to them frankly, selflessly and honestly about God, the world and themselves.  Common threads among the new faithful recruits include deep admiration for John Paul II and his writings, passionate devotion to the Eucharist, and a life-long zeal to win people to a joyful life with God.  Often their older colleagues fear that they won’t “connect” with people and try hard to conciliate with society. Not so with the new generation: their fear is seeing their people lost in error and sin. For them, unpopularity is a trivial issue when the salvation of souls is at stake.  For many newly ordained faithful priests, has learned, the greatest trial they experience is isolation or shockingly ruthless persecution by liberal clergy, bishops and church bureaucrats and especially from those involved in or sympathetic to homosexuality within the clergy. There are many stories of solid young Canadian diocesan priests being hounded out of the priesthood or at least into a numbing compliance with corruption, with the full cooperation of chancery bureaucrats and even their local bishop. The saddest part is that, so far, the Catholic laity have no idea of what has been happening to these well-loved priests who sometimes suddenly disappear and are not heard from again or who continue on much subdued and apparently under considerable stess.  See the full LA Times coverage:   jmo