Lacegate: Why Does Pope Francis Hate Tradition?editor
If faith, as the nuns said, was the substance of things hoped for,
then lace was the outline—the suggestion—of things not seen.
—Iris Anthony, The Ruins of Lace (2012)
A priest writes…
From time to time it seems as though Pope Francis can’t resist the urge to tell priests off in his speeches; he’s not afraid to employ mockery and sarcasm, either. That he has never been a simple parish priest frequently seems to come across in the content of his reproofs; so many of them tend to be anticlerical, as if this somehow profits the flock. It doesn’t necessarily make life easier for those of us at the coal face.
The Holy Father has commanded priests to “smell of the sheep,” as if the parish clergy of today are like the absentee-incumbents of centuries past who drew the revenues of parishes they never visited. He has also told us not to make the confessional, that source of healing grace, “a torture chamber”. Perhaps his experience in Argentina differed, but any torture on that front usually comes from the penitent’s own conscience.
The latest swipe was aimed at the clergy of Sicily, about whom he admits he knows little.
“I don’t know, because I don’t go to Mass in Sicily and I don’t know how the Sicilian priests preach, whether they preach as was suggested in Evangelii gaudium or whether they preach in such a way that people go out for a cigarette and then come back.
Next came this pointed aside.
Yes, sometimes bringing some of grandma’s lace is appropriate, sometimes. It’s to pay homage to grandma, right? It’s good to honour grandma, but it’s better to celebrate the mother, Holy Mother Church, and how Mother Church wants to be celebrated. So that insularity does not prevent the true liturgical reform that the Council sent out.”
The majority of young people who still persevere in the Church are voting with their feet and embracing more traditional liturgy in steadily increasing numbers. Time is on their side.
It is sad that the Holy Father so often seems to express a dislike of the ordinary clergy; he so rarely encourages us that sometimes it’s as though he thinks we are part of the problem, and not the solution. We’re not perfect, of course, but the deficiencies—real and imagined—of the modern presbyterate are not the cause of the Church’s woes. Rather, they are symptoms of a deeper malaise: a decades-long turn to the world, rather than to God, which has decimated the numbers of practising Catholics in the West.
The focus for any cure to this lies beyond both the parish clergy and liturgical tastes. Never mind lace; if we wish to heal the Church’s ailments then surely the first question needs to be this: “If the sheep have gone astray, then what have their shepherds been doing?”
Dom Hugh Somerville-Knapman is a monk of Douai Abbey, and parish priest of Scarisbrick in Lancashire .
Source – The Catholic Herald – worth reading in full.