Posted by TTC (The Tenth Crusade) on 6/25/16
I would like to make, as a parish priest in trenches, a few remarks concerning the Pope’s recent statements in Rome at a gathering of priests and seminarians. Others have admirably remarked on his troubling remarks on marriage and cohabitation. I will not add to those. But I would like to focus on two other reported remarks the Pope made about priests to the effect that some of us are cruel, are putting our noses into people’s moral life and possibly that he even called some of us animals.
Permit me to state my utter bewilderment at such a notion. As a priest, and especially as a confessor and spiritual director this is my duty! It is true that I am not to unnecessarily pry into the private lives of parishioners. But surely there is a requirement that as a confessor and a pastor I have some sense of the moral life of those to whom I minister.
Since putting noses into people’s moral life is the role of the royal priesthood, such a statement reveals gross an advanced spiritual depravity, doesn’t it.
But it is beyond lamentable that the Pope, as initially reported, should have called priests (or any human being for that matter) “animals.” Such a word should never have come out of his mouth, and I would hope for an apology for this offensive characterization, not merely a Vatican “clarification.” I certainly have some differences with brother priests, I would call my differences with dissenting priests significant. But this does not permit me to call them animals, and the Pope, who seems to have done so, has no business doing it either. Admittedly the recorded comments are hard to follow, but the cleansed Vatican transcript is more in the mode of “Let’s pretend this was never said as recorded” rather than a clear denial—“The Pope wants to say he not consider priest animals, even though he thinks some are too hard-lined on this matter.”
As I’ve mentioned before, though my youngest was born four years after my marriage, when I sought the Sacrament of Baptism, the pastor did not recognize me and asked if I was practicing my faith. When my answers made clear to him that I had wandered from the Church and Sanctifying Grace, he expressed his reservation to Baptize my daughter. He reminded me of the promises made when parents seek Baptism and straightforward asked if it was my intention to live up to the promises.
These questions opened up the door to my conversion of the heart.
Even in my own rebellion with teaching on contraception, I made a promise to God which I intended to keep and in the fulfillment of the promise to teach my own child the truth convincingly, I rediscovered it myself.
The Holy Father’s latest glimpse into the practice of his vocation is actually diagnostic.
These same questions are mandatory when seeking the Sacrament of Marriage to ascertain whether the parties know what they are doing at the time they are doing it.
These are the mandatory questions asked by the priest to determine whether the Sacrament of Marriage would be valid.
If we are to believe the Holy Father’s latest ‘pastoral’ witness, when the uncatechized souls present themselves before him, he thinks the opportunity and process to catechize the soul is, astoundingly, spiritual malpractice. It’s as screwed up as it gets. He leaves them in their ignorance and proceeded to perform an invalid Sacrament.
When he sees ‘the majority’ of Sacramental marriages all around him to be invalid, he need look no further than the mirror for the cause.
What gets to practicing Catholics is, he’s trying to institute the perpetuation of simulating the Sacrament of marriage as the pastoral norm.
I pray that never again will we hear reported such a rude and unnecessary remark from this pope or any pope. No human person should be called an animal by a pope or any anyone, for that matter. Metaphors and similes have their place in human discourse, but to univocally call a fellow human being and animal is out of line.
But let’s consider the post hoc assessment of the remark wherein some prefer to say he apparently intended to say that some priests treat children (or possibly their unwed mothers) as “animals.”
Well, count me as less than relieved by this explanation. Again let me note that delaying a baptism merely due to the parents being unwed is rare in my experience (and hence a strawman argument). But it remains highly disrespectful to say that priests who delay baptism (usually for a number of reasons) are treating others as animals and are cruel.
Thus even the “spun” remarks are unhelpful at best and divisive at worst.
Please, Holy Father: Enough of these ad hoc, off-the-cuff, impromptu sessions, whether at thirty thousand feet or at ground level. Much harm through confusion has been caused by these latest remarks on marriage, cohabitation, baptism, confession, and pastoral practice. Simply cleaning the record in the official transcript is not enough; this is an era of instant reportage and lots of recording devices, tweets, and Instagrams.
I have little hope the Holy Father will practice reticence of the constant pounding of heresy and insanity from his papacy and hand-picked lackeys which echo his theology in the public square.
There’s something more than sour-pussed belligerence that is delivering diabolical disorientation ad nauseum. I don’t think rational sound faithful families, priests, bishops and Cardinals explaining the consequences will have any bearing on slowing him from full-throttle.
Much prayer and fasting!