Friday, February 20, 2015
If one were asked to guess who or what in recent history has placed "a mortgage on the Church," one might be expected to answer: the child-raping priests, the chancery staffs that turned a blind eye to raping priests, the bishops who oversaw (sic) such chanceries and thus facilitated such abuse, etc. Well, one would be wrong, however. According to Pope Francis, it is the ordaining of traditionalists to the ministerial priesthood that places "a mortgage on the Church." Who knew?! The indictment by the Pope is here.
Pope Benedict's humble successor Francis also indicts as "mistaken" those who in undoubted "good faith" pursue a "reform of the reform." Readers will no doubt recall that a signal accomplishment of the too-short pontificate of Benedict XVI was a clarification of the concept of the reform of the reform and a resolve to implement one. I had my doubts at the time that a reform of the reform was sufficient for what was ailing the Church, and history has vindicated my doubt, alas. A reform of the reform that can be swept away, indeed ridiculed, as "mistaken" even before its tenth birthday offers about as much ecclesial medicine as a so-called Happy Meal offers nutritional value.
I leave aside for now consideration of Francis's words, in the same address to the Roman clergy, on the Ars Celebrandi. Those words of the Pope would need to be squared his own practice of starting to glance at his watch when liturgies last longer than, say, forty-five minutes, a task up to which I do not feel on the First Friday of this Lent.