Defending Good Priests from the Papacy of Insults
The papal hits just keep on coming. If you are a “rigid” Catholic these days (in other words orthodox and traditional) there’s a bullseye on your cassock and the Holy Father has taken aim. In this morning’s homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis resorted once again to insulting “rigid” Catholics, this time priests.
The Holy Father began by first discussing the need for priests to be mediators rather than intermediaries. Yes, I am aware that those words (largely) have the same connotation, but regardless, Pope Francis classified intermediaries as being those awful “rigid” priests we keep hearing about. One wonders if by rigid he is referring to those unmerciful meanies who get so hung up on things like doctrine, truth, sin, salvation, etc.
Nevertheless, it was then that the pope recounted this odd anecdote:
About rigidity and worldliness, it was some time ago that an elderly monsignor of the curia came to me, who works, a normal man, a good man, in love with Jesus – and he told me that he had gone to buy a couple of shirts at Euroclero [the clerical clothing store] and saw a young fellow – he thinks he had not more than 25 years, or a young priest or about to become a priest – before the mirror, with a cape, large, wide, velvet, with a silver chain. He then took the Saturno [wide-brimmed clerical headgear], he put it on and looked himself over. A rigid and worldly one.
This has, unfortunately, become classic Francis. Note we have the elderly monsignor, who is both “normal” and “good.” In other words, the Vatican II generation priest is the good guy in our story. He just wants to buy a couple regular shirts.
He then encounters the usual villain in these papal admonitions: the young traditionalist. This one is extra young (not more than 25) and extra traditional (trying on a Saturno!), so we know that he is extra villainous.
For his actions, trying on the cape and Saturno, the young man is called “rigid and worldly”, which seems a bit extreme. After all, who are we to judge him?
Pope Francis went on:
And that priest – he is wise, that monsignor, very wise – was able to overcome the pain, with a line of healthy humor and added: ‘And it is said that the Church does not allow women priests!’. Thus, does the work that the priest does when he becomes a functionary ends in the ridiculous, always.
Ridicule. Always an effective tool for educating your (spiritual) children. As a father of five I can honestly say that insults and ridicules are horrible ways to correct our kids behavior. Of course, there really is nothing to correct here. The villain of the piece is simply a young priest who prefers traditional garb. Period.
This disdain for a certain group of faithful, both clergy and laity, who lean traditional in their preferences is par for the papal course these days. Whatever.
That a younger generation has rejected the scorched earth policy of the post-conciliar generation is beyond comprehension to them. We want ALL the truth and beauty of our faith. That a 25 year old priest might actually want to dress like priests have dressed for centuries confounds them.
As to the “joke” by the normal and good elderly monsignor referencing the young priest behaving as a woman, this is standard fare for the self-loathing Catholic. It’s straight out of the National Catholic Reporter com box. It’s what heterodox Catholics resort to when presented with cassocks, capes, capa magnas, Latin, and lace. Those on the side of error always attack what’s true, good, and beautiful.
We must defend our good priests from this continued effort to demean and demoralize them in their vocation. The continuing insults hurled at so many good and holy men can take a toll. It’s the Saul Alinsky tactics of the Left: isolate and ridicule your opponent.
Many of our very best, orthodox, traditional priests will never ask for our help. They will perceive this papacy as an opportunity to grow in holiness through these insults. They’re not wrong of course.
We the faithful, however, must still defend. We must fortify them through our words of encouragement. We must reassure them in their vocation. And most of all we must support them with our prayers, most particularly to Our Lady.
And let us all consider buying our favorite priest a Saturno to go along with his glorious cassock while we’re at it.