Father Marcos Gonzalez ..., an associate pastor at St. Andrew Church in Pasadena, is hardly a relic from a fading past. At 41, he offers one glimpse of the future as a member of a new breed of younger priests ordained during the 25-year papacy of Pope John Paul II and passionately committed to the pope's orthodox teachings.
As the health of John Paul ? now 84 and the third-longest serving pontiff in history ? continues to falter, men like Gonzalez stand ready to guard and propagate his legacy. They represent a global trend toward Christian orthodoxy, in contrast to a generation of more liberal priests ordained during the 1960s reforms of the Second Vatican Council. ...
In general, ... the "John Paul priests" are less supportive than older colleagues of optional celibacy, women priests, the democratic elections of bishops and greater lay leadership, according to numerous surveys. They show less tolerance for dissent against church teachings. And they are more apt to favor greater use of Latin prayers, special vestments, bells and other traditional touches to restore a sense of sacredness to the liturgy ....Praise God for raising men like this to the priesthood. Given what one hears about the seminaries out here, of course, I'm surprised they made it through. Even in the seminaries, however, the Times article suggests things are changing for the better:
In 1981, he entered St. John's Seminary in Camarillo right after high school. The experience, he says, was filled with conflict. His class of about four dozen men, mostly conservative, challenged the more liberal faculty. The young seminarians asked for uniforms, more discipline and more group devotions such as the rosary. The students also asked for more of John Paul's teachings in class. "The faculty gave the perception that they were suspicious of this pope and that somehow he was turning back the clock," Gonzalez says. "We were perceived to be in line with the pope, so we were also viewed with suspicion."
Weary of the conflict and hoping to help support his parents financially, Gonzalez left the seminary for four years. In 1991, after a stint with a hospital trade association, he returned to the seminary and found the instruction far more balanced. He was ordained in 1994.