Father Clement Machado – Are you a consumer of priests?
Published August 17th, 2009
Say the word missionary and many think of a devoted priest hacking his way through a jungle to spread the Word of God.
Now meet Father Clement Machado—a modern missionary hacking his way through secular 21st century America, clouded Catholic thinking and even the work of the devil.
If you’re fortunate enough to hear him tell how the Blessed Virgin Mary visited him at the age of 11, you’ll learn that Mary showed him a vision of Hell and then of Heaven. He knew then that he was going to be a priest.
Father Machado—missionary, exorcist and a surprisingly humble and humorous priest—spoke before a crowd of around 450 on Sunday, Aug. 9th on the Roman Catholic priesthood and Pope Benedict’s declaration of the Year for Priests. He emphasized the year was for priests, not of priests. A year to pray for and celebrate the gift that God has given us through His priests.
What’s so special about a Roman Catholic priest?
The secular mass media, masters of distraction and confusion, as well as hell-bound Hollywood, often portray Roman Catholic priests as very ’special’ people—typically alcoholics, deviants, or pedophiles.
And many religious Protestants are no better, spreading vile anti-Catholicism—calling Pope John Paul II the Anti-Christ or ignorantly claiming that Roman Catholics worship idols. You would be hard pressed to find a Southern Baptist who thought a Catholic priest was equal to one of their ministers. And in a way, they’re very right. Priests are not the equals of Protestant ministers as you’ll see in a bit.
But worse than either Hollywood or the Protestants, both of whom you’d expect such attitudes and behavior from, are Catholics who are blessed to have priests, yet treat them only as a commodity, and not the special gift from God that priests are.
If Catholic priests aren’t so special, why does holy water do the job?
Father Machado quickly cleared through earthly media clutter and Protestant errors in thinking by recounting two recent events in his life—one involving the possessed daughter of a Protestant minister, another other involving an inmate in a New England prison, and another about life imitating art.
His point in telling these stories was to call attention to the fact that there is indeed something very special about a priest.
Holy water or Wally Water?
While visiting Kansas City recently, someone brought the misery of a Protestant minister to Father Machado’s attention. The minister’s young daughter was possessed and her father (let’s call him Wally) prayed fervently for her deliverance. He tried blessing water to drive the demon out, but the Wally Water didn’t work.
Desperate to help his daughter, the minister sneaked into a Catholic church for some Holy Water, brought it home and guess what? The demon in his daughter reacted immediately—and not so happily—to the Holy Water! A true Catholic exorcism was eventually performed and the daughter, freed now, is able to be a normal little girl again.
But was that the end of the story? Not quite. Minister Wally is now training to become a Catholic priest. True story!
Call a doctor (of the church), now!
Another account described how while in New England, Father Machado came across the plight of local prisoner. As Father Machado told it, a psychiatrist was called by the warden of a local prison who begged the psychiatrist to visit, but wouldn’t tell the doctor why.
The psychiatrist arrived and was led to a prison cell, where he saw a prisoner levitating in the center of his cell. The psychiatrist turned to the warden and said, “What do you expect me to do? You don’t need a psychiatrist, you need a priest!”
Fake priest, fake priest!
Even Hollywood is occasionally reminded that there is something very special about Catholic priests.
Father Machado told the story of a recent filming of an attempted exorcism performed by a Catholic priest.
The camera crew didn’t know the priest had a secret.
But the demoniac did.
As the cameras rolled, the demoniac turned and mocked the ‘exorcist’ yelling, ” Fake priest, fake priest, hahaha!” stunning everyone involved. It turned out that unbeknown to the filming crew the priest was an impostor. And Satan knew it.
Recalling Christ as Altar, Victim, and High Priest, Father Machado urged the crowd to avoid the secular trap of thinking of Christ, or His priests, as mere counselors or psychologists.
“The priesthood is a supernatural calling,” he said. “Christ the Priest is walking in our midst when we see a priest.” And that, he said, is a major difference between a Protestant minister and a Roman Catholic priest. Protestant ministers are symbols, whereas Christ is truly present in the priesthood.
This thinking is paralled, he said, when a Protestant considers the bread and wine a symbol, and Roman Catholics know that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist.
And this difference, symbolism vs. reality, is why only a Roman Catholic priest or bishop or above can truly exorcise salt and then water. And that is why a demon knows the difference when an exorcism is being performed (see sidebar).
Father Machado’s pointed out that in the declaration of the Year for Priests, Pope Benedict XVI said that “God is the only treasure which ultimately people desire to find in a priest.”
Rearrange that sentence and you can see three points the Pope is making in that one small sentence:
People are desiring something,
God is that desire, that treasure, who people are looking for,
And He can be found IN a priest.
Father Machado said to remember that the next time you see your parish priest. Your parish priest is not a psychologist or counselor. He’s not just a buddy to be invited over for a quick meal. He is a MAN OF GOD.
God is in and around your parish priest, he said. When a priest blesses you, your home or your car (and you should ask for all three!), it is Christ Himself flowing through your priest. When a priests baptises your child, God is working through your priest. When a priest celebrates Mass, Christ is there with him as the ultimate Priest, as well as being the Altar and Victim.
If you truly realize the supernatural nature of the priesthood, Father Machado said, it will change how you think and act around your priests.
Father Machado even went as far to say you can tell a good Catholic from bad simply by the way they treat a priest—do you think of your local priests and church as yet another service to be consumed, like that of a dentist, a school teacher, a postal worker, or God forbid a housecleaner?
“A priest is a sign to remind people of God, of the Sacred,” he said, not to be used or consumed and then not thought about until you need the priest or church again.
If you just show up to church on Sundays, you’re a consumer, he says. If you speak of priests in “pedestrian or blasé language,” you’re ignoring the sacred within them.
Yes, Father Machado said, a priest is human just like you and I. A priest is a sinner too, just like you and I.
But there is also something special about a priest too. Someone—Christ—is working through them. Just ask any demoniac. Or anyone who has been healed.
“Too many people treat priests and even the sacraments,” Father Machado said, “as commodities to be consumed.”
I know we have many consumers in our local parish. I’m always astounded as parishioners run for the exits, jostling with the priest as he makes his way for the door, desperately trying to get outside and greet the departing faithful! Too bad they’re already in their cars headed for the next shopping event.
(Father Clement Machado, a missionary of the Society of our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), is well known on five continents for his apostolic preaching, evangelization and healing ministries. His apostolate also includes radio and television work, most notably appearances on Mother Angelica’s EWTN and Vatican Radio.)
The event mentioned above, Marantha “Come Lord Jesus,” was held Sunday, August 9th, at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland. Mrs. Vickie Schneider and her husband sponsored the event, with many wonderful families from two cenacles in Maryland volunteering their time and efforts.
Give us more Holy Priests who are willing to preach on Sin and the need for Confession for the healing of our Souls and bodies.
Submitted by Bob Stanley, with thanks to Father Mark Wheelan
View a related video on YouTube