Hats are radical; only people that wear hats understand that.

Philip Treacy

Last week, I highlighted a beautiful response from Pope Francis on his spiritual life, which he gave in a Q&A session with 24 local Jesuits in Mozambique during his pilgrimage to Africa early last month. Social media and reactionary Catholic outlets, however, decided to focus and provide criticism on other responses in the meeting.

A number of priests on social media took to social media in response to this quote from the Holy Father:

Clericalism has a direct consequence in rigidity. Have you never seen young priests all stiff in black cassocks and hats in the shape of the planet Saturn on their heads? Behind all the rigid clericalism there are serious problems. I had to intervene recently in three dioceses with problems that expressed themselves in these forms of rigidity that concealed moral problems and imbalances.

In the days following the release of the transcript, a number of priests posted photos of themselves on Twitter wearing saturnos–the type of hat described by Francis in the transcript (examples here, here, here, and here). Besides the usual suspects (well-established critics of Francis and his papacy) a number of young priests and seminarians also posted pictures of themselves wearing saturnos. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, the well-known traditionalist blogger, even advertised a “Saturnos for Clerics Project” fundraiser on his website, in order to raise funds to buy saturnos for priests who want them.

It’s all in good fun, right?

I don’t think so. Do you think these priests would have done this if their bishops or superiors had made the same statement? Imagine if your boss had made a public statement, in which he said in all seriousness that–for example–”aviator” style glasses were a sign of immaturity. Would you immediately rush to social media to post pictures of yourself in your best pair of retro shades, for the entire public to see?

The problem is that this activity betrays the attitude of eye-rolling and contempt towards Pope Francis that is becoming entrenched in certain sectors of the clergy. To react to the pope’s statement by brazenly wearing the item of clothing he criticized is to prove his point. This is an act of public protest against the pope, even if it’s relatively benign.

I personally have no problem with saturnos. I am not sure that any priest I know owns one, but one of my all-time favorite movies is The Scarlet and the Black, starring Gregory Peck as a saturno-wearing Irish monsignor who helped hide Jews and allied POWs from the Nazis who had invaded Rome during the second world war.

Perhaps there are priests for whom the saturno is not a clericalist fashion statement or a sign of rigidity, but a favorite hat. Francis’s comments certainly might have hurt the egos of those for whom the hat has served a completely reasonable purpose. I understand. I get slightly miffed whenever I see an article attacking cargo shorts. I believe cargo shorts are not only stylish but immensely practical (what other article of clothing gives you a place to store your tots while eating a cheeseburger?). But they have their time and place.

Pope Francis’s point about “hats in the shape of the planet Saturn” was made in the context of a very serious point. If you are a priest and your first impulse upon reading those words was to post a picture of yourself wearing one, that reflects poorly on you.

These pictures betray an underlying perniciousness and antipathy toward Pope Francis that is both unhealthy and a source of division. Instead of mocking the pope’s words, you might want to try heeding them.

Sometimes a hat isn’t just a hat.

 

Image: Gregory Peck in The Scarlet and the Black

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38 Responses

  1. Avatar chris dorf says:

    Thank you Mike,
    I really liked your closing statement! Spot on!

    “Pope Francis’s point about “hats in the shape of the planet Saturn” was made in the context of a very serious point. If you are a priest and your first impulse upon reading those words was to post a picture of yourself wearing one, that reflects poorly on you.

    These pictures betray an underlying perniciousness and antipathy toward Pope Francis that is both unhealthy and a source of division. Instead of mocking the pope’s words, you might want to try heeding them.

    Sometimes a hat isn’t just a hat.”

  2. Avatar Deb says:

    The Pope has a habit of doing that thing we all hate………judging a book by its cover. It is called bigotry. He made a personal judgement that encompassed all priests that wear that hat or a cassock. People would not be complaining about the Pope so much if he would just think before he spoke. He doesn’t and people will take offense. He certainly does not come across anywhere as one would expect the Vicar of Christ to be……….nothing pastoral about him. All he does is attack.

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      That’s a misjudgement but thanks for your opinion.

    • Avatar jong says:

      Deb
      Your sound are no different from all the Rad Trads channel who had uploaded synchronized videos and written articles saying Pope Francis had accused the Traditionalist priest again.
      Look carefully at the answer of Pope Francis, is he accusing the young Trads priest or describing the real problems he saw about the young Traditionalist priest in the three dioceses that he had to intervene?
      We are all under the guidance of the the Supreme Pastor, we either be grateful for the Holy Father for telling us the problems based on what he saw and trying to diagnose and treat the problems or we get angry at Pope Francis for telling us the truth behind some of the Trads Priest based on actual experience.
      Do we still believe and trust the words of Pope Francis as true Pastor or we no longer look upon him as our Chief Shepherd whom Jesus entrusted to care for us, nourish us and feed us in our spiritual needs?
      The problem for over 50 years now is, some if not most of the Traditionalist priest only recognized Vatican II Popes but they were oriented to “resist” the Vatican II Teachings. This is the root of the problem of the Traditionalist priest and it manifested in the evil form of schism we are now experiencing today.

    • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

      Deb,

      There is “nothing pastoral” about Pope Francis? “All he does is attack”?

      Do you *seriously mean* these words which you have so strongly stated about the Holy Father here? Do you truly, literally, believe these extremely harsh statements that you have made about the Pope?

      Have you taken the time to read his encyclicals, his speeches, and his many other words to people who are suffering in various ways? Have you read what he has written and said, in full, and in context, and *not* as selectively quoted on websites that are hostile to him?

      Pope Francis has written and spoken a great number of loving, encouraging, and deeply caring words to people who are carrying very heavy burdens in life. Have you read those words? Even not counting his written and verbal words, he has been very pastoral in so many of his actions. He has personally spent time with prisoners in jails, people living in slums, people in homeless shelters, and people who have physical disabilities. In virtually every country that he has lived in or visited in his lifetime, including during his time as Pope, he has gone to visit, and talk with, and listen to, people living on the margins of society– people often overlooked or avoided, sadly, by too many, more financially and physically comfortable, Catholics and other Christians.

      Given that you don’t see Pope Francis as being pastoral, I ask you, have you, yourself, spent nearly as much time ministering to people, in places where you would likely fear for your life, as the Pope has spent? When he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina, he would often go out, late at night, to some of the very poorest areas, to spend time with people and accompany them in their sufferings and their joys. He is the same man now as Pope Francis. If you truly do believe that there is “nothing pastoral” about him, and that “all he does is attack,” then I challenge you to spend more time reading what he has written, listening to what he has spoken, and seeing his very pastoral actions on behalf of others. I am a physically disabled adult man with Cerebral Palsy, and even though I have never met Pope Francis or spoken to him, he has exercised a great pastoral ministry in my life, and he continues to do so.

      • Avatar Marie says:

        Christopher- This is simply beautiful, thank you! We should all be humble enough to see, through you and your struggles, the beauty of the pope’s message, and the joy of receiving it through the eyes of someone who has been so open to it. You are a true Catholic, through and through. Thank you for your witness, you give us all a lot to think about.

      • Avatar Yaya says:

        Thank you Mr. Lake for reminding us all on what really matters.

        The hat is cute though.

    • Avatar M. says:

      From the interview, an example of clericalism by Pope Francis, please read to the very end:

      “I once went to confess in a sanctuary in northern Argentina. After Mass, I left in the company of another priest. A woman approached him with pictures and rosaries, asking him to bless those objects. My friend explained to her: “You have been to Mass and at the end of Mass you already received the blessing; therefore, everything has already been blessed.” But the woman kept asking for his blessing. And the priest continued with his theological explanation: “Is Mass the sacrifice of Christ?” And the woman said “Yes!” “Is it the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ?” And the woman said “Yes!” “And you believe that Christ with his blood saved us all?” And the woman said “Yes!” At that very moment the priest saw a friend of his and was distracted. And the woman immediately turned to me, asking, “Father, will you give me the blessing?” The poor people should not have to beg in this way for a blessing! Clericalism does not take into account the people of God.”

  3. Avatar Ralph says:

    As a fellow fan of cargo shorts, I have to say the comparison makes a lot of sense. I also wear cargo shorts but I get why some people don’t like them. I realize that for some people cargo shorts have become associated with a certain party animal type of guy and so I understand the bad rap they have gotten.

    When I read Pope Francis’s comment I didn’t take it as an attack on saturnos themselves or on all priests who wear saturnos but on certain rigid priests who often wear saturnos. The rigidity and clerical attitudes are the problem, not so much the saturno. I think it is similar to cargo shorts. I still wear cargo shorts as part of my casual attire but I don’t wear them to formal occasions and I get that there is a certain type of obnoxious party dude who wears cargo shorts all the time, perhaps with a tuxedo shirt.

  4. Avatar Marie says:

    …and Pope Francis continues to promote the doers, not the seekers. I guess if you can’t stand out by what you do for others……….

  5. Avatar carn says:

    You make a good spin-doctor.

    The issue about the Pope’s statement is that he declared that all, every single last one, in all cases of these there is a rigidity with problems behind.

    Unlike you, who conceded that some people wearing the discussed clothing: “Perhaps there are priests for whom the saturno is not a clericalist fashion statement or a sign of rigidity, but a favorite hat.” are not clericalists.

    But the Pope didn’t. He marked every single saturn-hat-cassock wearer as a rigid clericalist who causes problem.

    And that explains the reaction: What the Pope did was deeply offensive and unjust.

    Under what part of Christian charity it is ok, to put a negative label and all individuals wearing a certain outfit, that it is in itself unproblematic from Christian perspective (*)?

    The pictures are potentially a form to protest and highlight this uncharitable injustice by the Pope. And accordingly do not prove the Pope’s point.

    By the way also very, very obvious from the article abotu cargo shorts you linked:
    https://www.businessinsider.de/why-no-man-should-wear-cargo-shorts-2017-5?r=US&IR=T

    As far as i see these are mostly (only?) arguments about the optics and the usefullness of the piece of clothing. It is perfectly to bring forth an argument, why some clothing is looking bad or not useful or whatever.

    But the Pope explicitely discussed the clothing as a sign of certain character traits. He did not like the article discuss, whether that hat makes one look stupid or whether it is impractical or whether a cassock is bad, cause it takes so long to open/close; no, he went for the character of the wearer.

    But probably, as you try hard to paint everything the Pope says in the most beautiful light, you will not be able to admit, that the statement of the Pope is a character attack on every single young priest dressing that way.

    (*Some outfits are so offensive that general criticism of the wearers might be possible, e.g. some of outfits visible during some San Francisco pride events)

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      Carn, I think your response was longer than the piece itself. I was making a simple point – it’s extremely bad form to do this.

      • Avatar Fiat says:

        Jong regularly leaves long comments on articles on this site, yet you don’t seem to have a problem with it in those cases. And carn brought up specific points which you could have addressed. Instead, you chose to draw attention to the length of the comment.

      • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

        First of all, we are grateful for all of our commenters, including Carn.

        But you have no idea how many of Jong’s comments don’t get through or are deleted (a lot–he can attest to this). And I think Carn has around 500 comments total on this site, compared to around 200 for Jong. There seem to be several people whose primary activity is to write multiple multi-paragraph comments on every single post on this site. We let the vast majority of them through, but sometimes it gets out of hand. We don’t want them to drown out all the other commenters. If they only posted 1-2 comments per article, and limited them to a handful of paragraphs, we would appreciate it.

        In addition, this website is not a platform for negative opinions and attitudes against Pope Francis. If you want a personal platform to criticize Francis, there’s nothing preventing you from starting your own website.

        While we try to encourage respectful discussion and disagreement, we reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, insulting, abrasive, and/or contain profanity. Additionally, there are a couple of websites who regularly drive angry, anti-Francis trolls to us. It’s not easy to sift through comments and determine a fair balance. On the other hand, sites like 1P5, Church Militant, and LifeSite simply delete comments that disagree with their POV.

      • Avatar Pete Vickery says:

        I can attest for Mike’s policy wrt comments. He’s right about LifeSite. I placed a respectful comment in support of Pope Francis and was immediately banned from their site. Whereas people calling Pope Francis “Frankie” and worse with totally nasty comments about Pope Francis were allowed to post freely. What differentiates this site from many others is it’s reasonable allowance for alternative points of view. The real question to be asked is why are prominent Catholic apologists cooperating with LifeSite at all?

      • Avatar Fiat says:

        Okay. Maybe I should have simply pointed out that it’s better to address the substance of a person’s comment rather than addressing its length instead. But it’s your website, of course, and you’re entitled to your own opinions and points of view. I’ll take mine somewhere else.

      • Avatar carn says:

        Bad form is to concede that a statement might be untrue (“Perhaps there are priests for whom the saturno is not a clericalist fashion statement or a sign of rigidity”) but defend the statement as if it were no problem, that it might be false.

    • Avatar jong says:

      carn
      Whenever a Pope speaks please discern his wisdom why he spoke those words. Since the Holy Spirit always guide him and Our Lady as a loving & merciful Mother always guide the Pope in the affairs of the Church, there is a hidden wisdom in those spoken words. Most of us will utter so many words with less meaning, but the Holy Father when he uttered words it has a profound meaning and it’s intention is always for the good of our souls and the Church.
      Ok, i will share what I discern in the words of Pope Francis why he said those words knowing that the RIGID Trads will definitely react in a negative way because Pope Francis is exposing their bad traits that is hidden to many ordinary catholic faithfuls. Did Pope Francis intentionally said that and expect a negative reaction to the RIGID Trads? I can say yes, because Pope Francis is challenging all the schismatics RIGID Trads to come out in the open and expose themselves to the LIGHT. Pope Francis is waging war on the RIGID Trads in ways only by discerning we can grasp why? Pope Francis is imploring us to seek conversion & silence, so that we can discern how to fight the evil plots of the RIGID Trads. Have you not seen the evil behind the 40 Days Prayer Crusades launch by Cardinal Burke et,al? I guess you think it is a good crusades but to tell you honestly it is not an inspiration coming from the Holy Spirit, why? They are opposing directly the Pope and undermining the Church Magisterium in His Mission to spread the Mercy of God to all indigenuous people. But ofcourse, to confused catholic it seems good, but to a discerning faithful “satan footprints” can be seen in their prideful words, disobedient acts, and schismatic behavior. Have you seen the evil behind their agenda to oppose the Pan Amazon Synod?

    • Avatar Jude says:

      Did you ever think you’d live to see the day that a pope would complain about/ have a problem with, priests dressing like priests?

      What he must think of the nun who doesn’t wear the Hillary Clinton pants suit.

    • Avatar espiritu ven says:

      Carn

      Why don’t you compare the quote about the hats shaped like the planet Saturn to the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:5. Jesus ( yes, Jesus) criticized the Pharisees for enlarging their phylacteries and widening the borders on their garments and lengthening their tassels. They were focusing on externals and it was all for show. They wanted to be seen and make their importance felt. Pope Francis is making the same point that Jesus made. However, Jesus’ comments are far more cutting.

      So who is the external show for?

      I suppose that a priest who has been wearing a certain hat for 60 years probably isn’t going to stop now. But it is truly disturbing that young priests and seminarians are being so superficial and literally wearing their spirituality on their sleeve and on their heads.

      This is a time when they should be dying to self, imitating Christ, deepening their prayer life, turning away from the world and shutting out all other voices in order to better hear the Holy Spirit.

      All these priests making their hats an issue might as well wear a huge phylactery on their heads and jazz up the hems on their cassocks and add some tassels to the ensemble . Jesus and Pope Francis won’t be impressed but maybe somebody will.

      • Avatar carn says:

        “Why don’t you compare the quote about the hats shaped like the planet Saturn to the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:5.”

        As you ask for this:

        “1
        a Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples,
        2
        * saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
        3
        Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.
        4
        b They tie up heavy burdens* [hard to carry] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.
        5
        * c All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
        6
        * d They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
        7
        greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’”

        Nowhere in this piece is there any claim that EVERYONE dressed in a certain way, has a character problem.

        The Pharisees are attacked for what they do. Jesus words do not seem to mean that widened phylacteries and lengthened tassels are a perfect sign to determine once and for all beyond any reasonable doubt that the wearer is a hypocrite.

        Also a difference, which some people here seem to forget:

        Jesus was and is allknowing; accordingly, when he would have said: “A priest wearing a saturn hat guarantees that the wearer is a slave to the devil” then that would be true and one should certainly be careful around saturn hat wearers.

        Pope Francis is not; when he says that every single last priest wearing has problematic rigidity, then his words are untrue – and should not be spoken for “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.” – the moment there is a single, absolutely only a single priest with saturn hat and cassock who does not have a rigidity problem; even if every other priest with saturn hat has a ridigity problem.

        What is so hard to understand that Pope Francis is not allknowing and his statement would be untrue if there were a single counter-example in the entire world?

      • Avatar Marie says:

        Carn- The example of Matthew 23:5. is precisely what Pope Francis is saying, yet you still cannot accept his words for what they are. For Jesus, it is “Jesus words do not seem to mean that widened phylacteries and lengthened tassels are a perfect sign to determine once and for all beyond any reasonable doubt that the wearer is a hypocrite.” For the Pope it is ” when he says that every single last priest wearing has problematic rigidity, then his words are untrue ” ……The problem is neither Jesus, nor the pope said every single last priest/pharisees, only you did. Who said anything about a perfect sign, or the clothing alone means something? Only you. You are interpreting what you want to interpret in both cases, instead of simply accepting what was said for what it is. Neither quote indicates without exception. Both quotes mean if the shoe fits…….it’s time to re evaluate what you are dong, and why you are doing it. In both instances, helping one become aware is an act of love.

      • Avatar carn says:

        @Marie:

        Feel free to explain what the difference between the sentences: “Clericalism has a direct consequence in rigidity. Have you never seen young priests all stiff in black cassocks and hats in the shape of the planet Saturn on their heads? Behind all the rigid clericalism there are serious problems.”

        and the following:

        If you see a young priest who is all stiff in black cassock and hat in the shape of the planet Saturn, then it is clerical rigid priest.

        For me, there is not fundamental difference between those statements.

        Apart from that, even if i am wrong, the choice of words is at least bad, cause it at least will imply to some that one can and should judge people according to how they dress.

        “The example of Matthew 23:5. is precisely what Pope Francis is saying”

        If that is his intent, he does a pretty terrible job at doing so.

        But also there is something, which really surprises me about the “Pope Francis just criticizes today rigid people as Jesus did criticize the Pharisees.”-defense.

        And it is so ridiculously obvious that i really cannot contemplate how you cannot see the irony. Maybe you’ll understand if i quote Jesus.

        What does Jesus say should people do about the Pharisees?

        “Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example.”

        So when you do the “Pope Francis just criticizes today rigid people as Jesus did criticize the Pharisees.”-defense you are saying – without being aware about it i am sure, though it is so obvious – “Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever” [those rigid priest Pope Francis criticizes] “tell you, but do not follow their example.”

        So you are telling me by that defense, by claiming its identical to Jesus and the Pharisees, that I should live what Cardinal Burke teaches.

        Which for example means, that i should not trust a future revised catechism.

        You understand the irony?

        You give credence to what Burke et al teach, when you claim that they are just like Pharisees, cause Jesus verbatim suggested that what they preached was somehow ok:
        “For they preach but they do not practice.”

  6. Avatar Myunkie says:

    I think caution should be exercised in taking a simplistic view. Many (most?) who devote their lives to the priestly state are surrendering their entire life in the 21st century to the eternal, unchanging truth of the church. The traditional garb is very much a statement of surrendering the convenience of cargo pants to something eternal and unchanging. Many are dismayed by the Holy Father’s singular focus on the practical and contemporary and his very vocal distain for anything (and it certainly appears to be literally anything) which draws on the two thousand years of Catholic thinking and practice which called them to the priesthood in the first place.

    Clergy take vows of obedience to the Pope and the Pope vows to protect and preserve the deposit of faith which has been handed down. What is the clergy to do when the Pope stands against that deposit? Some, apparently, choose to keep it under their hat while others choose to share their fealty with a hat.

    • Avatar M. says:

      @Myunkie It sounds like you are saying that it is legitimate for seminarians to be called to the priesthood by Catholic practices involving the wearing of an old fashioned hat. Hats have nothing whatever to do with the deposit of Faith. Clinging to them as a sign of one’s “fealty” just proves the Pope’s whole point.

    • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

      Myunkie,

      You write, in your comment, regarding Pope Francis:

      “Many are dismayed by the Holy Father’s singular focus on the practical and contemporary and his very vocal disdain for anything (and it certainly appears to be literally anything) which draws on the two thousand years of Catholic thinking and practice which called them to the priesthood in the first place. ”

      In your view, from the above statement, Pope Francis does not care for, and, in fact, appears to disdain, “literally anything” from the Church’s 2,000 years of Catholic thinking and practice which calls men to the priesthood.

      Literally anything? What about the love of God the Father? What about Jesus Christ? The Holy Spirit? Our Blessed Mother? Care for the poor? Waging spiritual warfare against Satan and his demons?

      Do you think that Pope Francis actually disdains the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, when he actually, regularly, exhorts us to the love of God? Does he disdain Mary, Mother of God, when he exhorts us to pray the Rosary? Does he not care for the poor? Does he not warn Catholics, explicitly, about Satan and his lies, and exhort us to follow God?

      All of the above aspects of Catholic faith and practice are very “traditional,” coming from 2,000 years of Catholicism, and Pope Francis regularly speaks and writes on them– on a daily basis, from what I have witnessed from him. If you are upset because he happened to mention, in passing, in an interview, *a hat* that some priests wear, and a troubling attitude that he sees among those priests– then I respond, in part, well, ok, perhaps he *did* speak in terms that were too broad and sweeping about the hat and what he sees it representing.

      However, how it is not even more *broad, sweeping, and inaccurate* for you to write about the Pope’s supposed *disdain for literally anything* in 2,000 years of Catholic faith and practice which calls men to the priesthood– especially when Francis continually provides evidence of his love for traditional truths, and yes, practices (such as praying the Rosary, resisting the lies of Satan, and caring for the poor) of traditional Catholicism?

      • Avatar Yaya says:

        Amen!

        If I did not know any better, based on the commentary of those who dislike Pope Francis and accuse him of being dismissive, well it’s no wonder a certain group/minority of Catholics from the Americas are not taken seriously let alone liked.

        I am American with Mexican roots. I understand Papa Francisco fine. I always give him the benefit of doubt and pray others do as well. Nothing he has said so far has been offensive to me nor to the many that I know. We are probably dismissed for such.
        We are too busy trying to support our families, pray, live the faith.

        One more thing, our brothers and sisters who live in those parts of the world where they are murdered, prosecuted for their faith, don’t have the luxury of being offended by Papa Francis.
        They probably can’t find the time to maintain a website list of “all the insult he’s leveled at Catholics” either.
        They are too busy trying to survive.

  7. Avatar ken says:

    You call it beautiful. A pope who scorns, mocks and belittles Catholics. That’s what your looking for in a pope? And your surprised when Catholics throw it right back in his face because they are tired of his bitterness?

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      First of all, where is the scorn and bitterness in the response I highlighted last week? Secondly, does a Catholic throw things into the face of the Pope? Least of all, a priest?

      • Avatar ken says:

        Remove the scales. A hat and cassock on a young priest is a sign of rigid clericalism and serious problems? That’s a compliment? There are websites dedicated to listing all the insults that our pontiff has leveled at Catholics. If you can’t see the harm and hurt that the pope has inflicted on Catholics you are purposefully ignoring the evidence. The pope has called us rigid. He’s right; we ain’t brittle. The hats are just a little show that the old wine skin can’t break us.

      • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

        You only see what you want to see. You ignore Francis’s true message to priests by fixating on these quotes. Compare the words that have been targeted from the Q&A to his words to priests in his homily at the 2018 Chrism Mass:

        “A priest who is close to his people walks among them with the closeness and tenderness of a good shepherd; in shepherding them, he goes at times before them, at times remains in their midst and at other times walks behind them. Not only do people greatly appreciate such a priest; even more, they feel that there is something special about him: something they only feel in the presence of Jesus. That is why discerning our closeness to them is not simply one more thing to do. In it, we either make Jesus present in the life of humanity or let him remain on the level of ideas, letters on a page, incarnate at most in some good habit gradually becoming routine.”

        http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190418_omelia-crisma.html

        Or this year:

        “We priests are the poor man and we would like to have the heart of the poor widow whenever we give alms, touching the hand of the beggar and looking him or her in the eye. We priests are Bartimaeus, and each morning we get up and pray: “Lord, that I may see”. We priests are, in some point of our sinfulness, the man beaten by the robbers. And we want first to be in the compassionate hands of the good Samaritan, in order then to be able to show compassion to others with our own hands.

        I confess to you that whenever I confirm and ordain, I like to smear with chrism the foreheads and the hands of those I anoint. In that generous anointing, we can sense that our own anointing is being renewed. I would say this: We are not distributors of bottled oil. We have been anointed to anoint. We anoint by distributing ourselves, distributing our vocation and our heart. When we anoint others, we ourselves are anointed anew by the faith and the affection of our people. We anoint by dirtying our hands in touching the wounds, the sins and the worries of the people. We anoint by perfuming our hands in touching their faith, their hopes, their fidelity and the unconditional generosity of their self-giving, which many significant figures describe as superstition.”

        http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190418_omelia-crisma.html

  8. Avatar George Palantine says:

    Let’s face it. No other pope in modern history has spoken this way. He insults people on a regular basis. Maybe it stems from something real, such as extremely nutty conspiracy theorist SSPX types who Pope Francis resents.

    But almost every man in public life recognizes the need to moderate his language and not spout off like a spoiled six year old. Francis appears unable to do that. His contempt for large portions of his flock is remarkable. As George Weigel has noticed, it is common since the age of Francis to heap scorn on certain areas of the church, and in Rome, they seem to hate americans, tell tall tales about “rich americans” being behind every papal criticism. It is all getting quite tiring.

    Remember this is not an isolated instance. This happens quite frequently as when he said that young people who liked the Latin Mass had psychological problems. He said this about the Saturno wearers. Saturno wearers are a wide swath of people, from wacked out extreme traditionalists, to very holy, tradition minded pro vatican II stalwarts. Join that comment with the idea the other strange mind reading comment that he made about some girl who converted people to catholicism (he snottily assumed she had forced herself on them, with no evidence) and we have a pope with a strange, strange problem.

    As much as we all started out trying to like him, and as much as we forgave him error after error, people are just fed up with a pope who seems to relish making snide comments about people. This is just the latest in a very long string of insults. Go online and find “the Pope Francis insult generator” No other pope has ever had such a thing.

  9. Avatar ken says:

    Mike Lewis says, “You only see what you want to see. You ignore Francis’s true message to priests by fixating on these quotes. Compare the words that have been targeted from the Q&A to his words to priests in his homily at the 2018 Chrism Mass:”
    You wrote an article on a particular interview with the pope. You called it beautiful. I responded to your article. I’m not fixated on anything, but nice slight of hand trick. Talk about fixating, you willfully ignore the hurtful things he says. From the same interview you called beautiful, the pope said he was bitter about a young Catholic joyfully introducing her two convert friends. The insanity! We can’t have joyful people in the Church! We shouldn’t be trying to convert people! This young lady obviously doesn’t understand the biblical instruction to go out and make disciples of all the nations. No one is deserving of an abusive father.

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      I wrote about one answer in the interview/Q&A. The part I wrote about did not include that quote (I had read the whole thing but it didn’t jump out at me).

      Sorry that you think the pope is abusive. I ask you to reconsider, but that’s up to you.

    • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

      Ken,

      You read the *worst possible meaning* into the Pope’s words about that young Catholic and her two convert friends. He was not discouraging her evangelizing of them– not at all! He was concerned about those new converts being introduced in an overly triumphalistic way and then shone off as trophies– which does happen to converts sometimes. It can be objectifying and dehumanizing.

      I’m not saying that that was the intent of the young Catholic woman– likely, it was not. However, it is very good to consider how we are communicating with, and to, people, in both our evangelization of them and our subsequent discipleship with them. Pope Francis’s *actual words, in context*, in the Q and A, make this abundantly clear:

      “Today I felt a certain bitterness after a meeting with young people. A woman approached me with a young man and a young woman. I was told they were part of a slightly fundamentalist movement. She said to me in perfect Spanish: “Your Holiness, I am from South Africa. This boy was a Hindu and converted to Catholicism. This girl was Anglican and converted to Catholicism.” But she told me in a triumphant way, as though she was showing off a hunting trophy. I felt uncomfortable and said to her, “Madam, evangelization yes, proselytism no.”

      “What I mean is that evangelization is free! Proselytism, on the other hand, makes you lose your freedom. Proselytism is incapable of creating a religious path in freedom. It always sees people being subjugated in one way or another. In evangelization the protagonist is God, in proselytism it is the I.”

  10. Avatar Manuel Dauvin says:

    I was banned from lifesite too…and I don’t even wear cargo shorts.
    We in america might not get the context on everything the pope says. He mentioned the saturnos in Mozambique. We must assume that he is referring to the Saturnos because the hearers in Mozambique have some local example the clericalism the pope condemns that wears a saturnos.
    Otherwise it would be like me criticizing the “vain” wearers of the cowboy boot in front of the sultan of Persia.
    For someone with time to research I’ll bet the trad movement of Mozambique has a saturnos wearing venom spewer.

  11. Avatar L Daily says:

    I’m surprised these guys have time to celebrate the sacraments in between the hat shopping and the tweeting and the tending of the beards.

    Arrested development, Catholic style.

  12. Avatar carn says:

    Though actually, i have to concede that this saturno quote is a minor issue.

    Major issue is actually that the Pope considers this:
    https://www.laciviltacattolica.com/evangelical-fundamentalism-and-catholic-integralism-in-the-usa-a-surprising-ecumenism/

    to be an intelligent and thoughtful article, that helps one understand something.

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