Today I kind of kicked back in the morning as my knees, getting old and creaky, were complaining a bit. About one-ish….I am picking up British bits and pieces from my Australian hostess….I headed down to the Vatican just to people watch and to pick up a ticket for tomorrow’s audience. I had a bit of lunch sitting on the steps of the north colonnade where the rest of the people watchers hang out. The first couple I asked “Where are you from?” answered Florida. When I told them I was from Montana, the husband expressed sympathy. The wife then said they knew someone who had moved to Florida from Montana. She named the women. I knew her and had in fact worked with this woman for many of the years I worked at the hospital lab where I spent 31 years of my working career. There was a look of amazement on their faces and we shared the quip about what a small world it is. Indeed it is. They took my name and then took my picture to send to this woman. The next couple I talked to was British. From the sounds of their bus trip…yes, bus trip….from England, I don’t think they were having a good time. We chatted on a bit and then they told me what they had earlier seen on the back streets of the Vatican. They say two young priests in “religious dress” walking holding hands and caressing each other’s faces. No scandal in loving one another but they seemed to have decided that if one monsignor has come out, maybe they should not hold back. I admire their bravery but wonder about their employment longevity. It says to me that perhaps after the Synod on the Family is completed, Papa F should do one on the priesthood. I would’nt doubt it has crossed his mind. Unless they begin to deal with the elephant in the living room, that the priesthood is in rough shape and not getting any better and has been for some time, the Church is in for some very grim years. I think they need to deal with all of the repressed sexuality, the high expectations that are frequently not met that celibacy imposes and the fact that a goodly number of them have no idea what “smells like the sheep” means. It will mean that we, us laity, will need to hold things together and that might just be a good thing. Maybe the Holy Spirit is behind all of this crisis in the priesthood because she wants us to take the lead in keeping the Church alive. Are WE listening?? I had a thought train just a few minutes ago that a lot of the “crisis” in marriage in the Church coincidentally parallels the years of the advent of the so-called “JP2” and “B16” priests who were trained under a more conservative and shall we say antiquated theology, one that focuses on repression of one’s feelings and passions. I don’t know about you, but I have had the good luck of being pastored by some very good Vatican II priests who knew that the didn’t know a heck of a lot about marriage and so would suggest professional help when a married couple came to them. I am not sure about the younger more “ontologically superior” ones that have been the norm in the last few years. Are they willing to admit they don’t know something? It may be a harsh judgment on my part, but I hear too many stories of how a younger priest has treated a couple coming in to schedule marriage and being questioned if they are living together. If they are, the priest refuses to deal with them. Or I have heard of married couples getting some pretty bizarre “counseling”, something that you would have heard 70 years ago. I just find it interesting that our current Pope is a Vatican II priest. Could it be he recognizes fully that the Church, as we all know, has failed in its ministry to married couples and their family life and that is why he called this Synod? Now if he can just get some more of the boys in magenta and red to listen to the Holy Spirit as he has…..we can only hope. He is wise and clever….both of them, the HS and PF.
There have been some interesting “interventions”, i.e. speeches given at the Synod from the hints given out at today’s news conference. I have yet to get my credentials as the editor of the Missoulian hasn’t come through yet but I did pick up things that you will find in the following links:
And as one commentator stated “Let the ‘Spinoid’ begin.” as everyone in the media begins to parse every word coming out of this event in the life of the Church. It will get more interesting as the weeks go on and even more interesting if I can get my credentials!!
And then there are the folks on the other side of what I suspect is the spectrum of most readers of this site. The one in the link below has been a very outspoken opponent of this pope for the last year or longer. He isn’t even clever in what he is trying to do in mimicking the famous Vatican II “anonymous” reporter for the New Yorker:
Keep praying, keep praying and several times a day!!