The Pope Has Enemies


              Nonetheless, there’s an enormous problem that may never go away. It is based on Catholicism’s vision of an ideal culture of enormous, maybe countless, numbers of priests. Not so. It has its right to that aspect of Christian character among many of their clergy. I believe strongly that we see honorable integrity in the personality of Pope Francis. Nonetheless, we Protestants can’t help that. Still we have to face the dreadful conduct in many thousands of its corrupt priests. God help us if they are still exploiting the children of the faith.  Psychiatrists and psychologists I‘ve worked with during university years are always absolutely adamant on this single fact: once, just once, if a child is sexually exploited, his personality and character are wrecked. And the priests and their overseers damn well know it. I mentioned it to a friend a week or so, and he laughed as he quoted the singer Helen Rowland who apparently has said: “Somehow a bachelor never really gets over the idea that he’s a thing of beauty and will be a youth forever.” Maybe.

        In truth, there are priests who are comfortable being single, and almost always keep quiet and out of controversy. I knew that style some years ago. Some of the critical and crucial documents are made public and forwarded to me. On my desk I had a document issued, mind you, by a fairly large issue of priestly problems. The title of one needs no revelation by me: It’s written by a key member of the order and was named: “The War against Francis.” They don’t like him. I do but he could do better by being more outspoken. The fact is, though I happen to like the Pope’s personality, I don’t accept his steady — sometimes stern — attitude on the question of priestly marriage.  If I were a Catholic I would most certainly support it and enjoy its attainment.

       Many, many priests obviously become lonely, frustrated, indignant and some, as we know, unfortunately look for a sexual partner. I do favor Pope Francis in particular, one way: I like his communication, his good cheer and his Jesuit intellect. In any case, the dreadful division and distain within Catholicism is not waning. An acquaintance urged me to acquire some documents which recently went public, using language, appreciated by most Catholics, and I’d not use it if I were on the inside or just a lay person. The document that I was directed to locate, was stronger in attitude, as you’ve just seen, than I ever expected from within. At the same time, I know, from other sources, that a great many of the priestly order, are still pugnacious. Here is a reflection of their prudent precise indignity: “The debate is becoming bitter in fact far too bitter for Christian men. In a recent article, the celebrated writer on church matters, Andrew Brown, introduced a wide ranging article which I reduced for a variety of reasons but with these words:

    “Pope Francis is one of the most hated men in the world today … Those who hate him most are not atheists, or Protestants, or Muslims, but some of his own followers.” Brown quoted an English priest: “We can’t wait for him to …..”  It’s incredible and thereby unprintable what was said, they assume, in private. “Whenever two priests meet they talk about how awful Bergoglio (Francis) is….” Who do they think they are!

        Well, it’s time to say that the Pope is in a painful, maybe dreadful office. I can imagine how calm his predecessors were, but then we have to say that his burdens are far greater than those who preceded him. As we know, one who proceeded, stepped aside and in a certain time, quietly died. I can’t help hoping that somehow, Pope Francis will find a route that will accommodate his staff clergymen, one of whom is or was a Canadian. I still have a sense that Pope Francis is a good and fine man. You and I have no evidence other than most of us see a worthy leader with a background that has never been blemished.

         So it goes.  I will never meet Pope Francis so all I can do is reflect what I see and hear. A week or so ago, I began to wonder how he can possibly manage the rough waters of the life that is his. So be it. As I see things, Francis has no choice to adopt any methodology so he must manage with the rather vapid one he already has. Nobody I ever knew was so gifted he could change to satisfy all the millions of the Catholic faith. So be it. But then, there’s always … maybe. Mother Teresa, had she still lived, might advise him that he just might find both in his future. I remember when, many years ago, she spoke up and said something Pope Francis would probably like to hear these difficult days: “I have now found the paradox. If you truly love people until it hurts, there can no room for hurt, only more affection….”  So be it. And may your Christmas season be all you wish it to be —   Kenneth and Barbara and all our readers.




1 Comment

  1. Doreen Colvin
    Dec 11, 2018

    Good evening Ken: I want this matter out in the open and stopped immediately. I believe one of the South American countries today banned an Irish priest and he must leave that country by seven days. As you stated I do believe it will be the Christian journalist who will and can bring this matter to the public’s attention. I so enjoy your columns. When I see my emails and there is one from you I am happy. I know I will enjoy your thoughts for sure. Take care. Blessings. Doreen