Kudos to EWTN! It is refreshing to see EWTN addressing the scandalous statements made by Pope Francis that have caused so much confusion among the laity. Hearing this report from EWTN, a most trusted source for Catholics around the world is soothing. It means we aren't going crazy, the pope said some things that truly are bothersome and must be addressed honestly by Catholic media. I think Mother Angelica would be proud.
EWTN's National Catholic Register recently published an article by Msgr. Charles Pope on the confusing, hurtful and chaotic things Pope Francis has said, if you haven't read it yet, please do. It's an excellent article. I am going to quote a few parts here that stood out to me.
quote(in part): I write these remarks simply as a parish priest. I am not a canonist and certainly not a reporter. I react simply as a priest to what has been reported all week, and write here the reaction of one man and priest—me.And...
First, it is reported that the Pope said pastors should not be “putting our noses into the moral life of other people.”
Permit me to state my utter bewilderment at such a notion. As a priest, and especially as a confessor and spiritual director this is my duty! It is true that I am not to unnecessarily pry into the private lives of parishioners. But surely there is a requirement that as a confessor and a pastor I have some sense of the moral life of those to whom I minister.
quote(in part): But it is beyond lamentable that the Pope, as initially reported, should have called priests (or any human being for that matter) “animals.” Such a word should never have come out of his mouth, and I would hope for an apology for this offensive characterization, not merely a Vatican “clarification.” I certainly have some differences with brother priests, I would call my differences with dissenting priests significant. But this does not permit me to call them animals, and the Pope, who seems to have done so, has no business doing it either. Admittedly the recorded comments are hard to follow, but the cleansed Vatican transcript is more in the mode of “Let’s pretend this was never said as recorded” rather than a clear denial—“The Pope wants to say he not consider priest animals, even though he thinks some are too hard-lined on this matter.”And...
It will be admitted that Pope Gregory (in his Pastoral Rule) once said that silent priests who failed to rebuke sinners were like “dumb dogs that cannot bark.” But he was using a metaphor, and quoting Scripture. He did not univocally call them dogs, he said they were “like” or in the mode of dumb dogs that cannot warn of danger. But there is nothing in this recent Pope’s comments that suggests metaphor or simile. He just outright called priests whose prudential judgments he doubts “animals”. “They’re animals” he said.
I pray that never again will we hear reported such a rude and unnecessary remark from this pope or any pope. No human person should be called an animal by a pope or any anyone, for that matter. Metaphors and similes have their place in human discourse, but to univocally call a fellow human being and animal is out of line.
quote(in part): Please, Holy Father: Enough of these ad hoc, off-the-cuff, impromptu sessions, whether at thirty thousand feet or at ground level. Much harm through confusion has been caused by these latest remarks on marriage, cohabitation, baptism, confession, and pastoral practice. Simply cleaning the record in the official transcript is not enough; this is an era of instant reportage and lots of recording devices, tweets, and Instagrams.Please read the entire article at EWTN's National Catholic Register.
Just this priest’s perspective. But I can assure you, dear reader, that the impact hits priests hard, and I cannot deny a certain weariness and discouragement at this point. I realize that such remarks of the Pope are not doctrinal, but just try and tell that to gleeful dissenters and the morally confused or misled in this world.
It didn't stop there, EWTN's Raymond Arroyo gathered together his "papal posse" to address the problems with what Pope Francis has been saying.
I think Raymond's interview taking on these scandalous statements by Pope Francis was excellent. No head in the sand, pretending to be ostriches and no excuses. What the Pope has said is WRONG. Period.
There was a particular story Raymond tells about a friend who heard the Pope's words on shacking up in fornication and wanted a Catholic priest to "bless" his fornication because that is what he heard the Pope say. This confusion has spread around the world and the Vatican hasn't cleaned it up-yet (I believe they will).
It is extremely bothersome to me (and I am guessing many others) that every time Francis speaks his mind, the Vatican has to jump up and say "Wait a minute! The Pope didn't mean that, he meant...". I thank God that the Church is always there to correct the Pope, but I think its horrendous that this has to happen every time Francis speaks his mind. We are seeing what Pope Francis truly believes- and it doesn't match authentic Catholic teaching. This is a problem.
Great work EWTN for facing this problem and not pretending it doesn't exist.
Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner