Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Pope Francis said this to African Bishops this past week:

Furthermore, I would like to emphasize an attitude that I do not like, because it does not come from God: rigidity. Today it is fashionable, I do not know about here, but in other parts of the world it is fashionable, to find rigid people. Young, rigid priests, who want to save with rigidity, perhaps, I don’t know, but they take this attitude of rigidity and sometimes – excuse me – from the museum. They are afraid of everything, they are rigid. Be careful, and know that under any rigidity there are serious problems.

Don’t get me wrong, I think, but I don’t really know, I understand what the Pope is saying about rigid priests, especially young ones. I think it means that they are not pastoral, they are more concerned about the finery of liturgy and sacerdotal outfits and could care less about the pastoral needs of their parishioners.

But I am not sure. I have known many priests who are very refined in all they do and in particular with the Liturgy. But they are very pastoral and concerned about their flock. They are not removed from their parishioners and share in their joys and sorrows. This includes priests who exclusively celebrate the EF Mass, I suspect, but don’t really know, what Pope Francis thinks is a museum piece.

The Holy Father has done this before, made himself out to be a psychologist, diagnosing the mental issues of others. I find this rather distasteful especially when the diagnosis is meant to shame the person he is critiquing. In addition, he is not clear as to what he means and thus I call this throwing out bombs in a reckless way. A pope is not to be elevated to a psychologist. That is very worldly and for a pope to elevate himself this way is worldly.

But with that said, I have known rigid people, be they clergy or laity, who hang on to their rigidity for their own sanity. As a vocation director, I would discourage a rigid person from considering priesthood or religious life if they can’t be pastoral or deal with people who are very flexible.

But that is another pathology, no? The flexible person can have no scruples whatsoever and anything goes in the name of pastoral care and accompanying a person. These kinds of popes, bishops and priests, not to mention deacons, are enablers of bad and/or sinful behavior not pastoral counselors by any stretch of the imagination.

The best candidates for the priesthood I see today, and this means even newly ordained priests, are those who are law and order men, but know how to be pastoral, to show the mercy of God but also challenge in a pastoral and kind way the one who needs to have his butt kicked. These are manly men who have also known the mercy of God themselves and have had it shown to them by good and holy priests, even those who say the black and do the red and wear brocade vestments, cassocks and other priestly finery.

The banner I have at the tops is from a psychologist. Obviously a would-be seminarian or an actual candidate for the priesthood or one who is ordained that exhibits these behaviors needs help and more than likely should not be ordained.

But we cannot take this diagnosis and stereotype any and every priest who likes tradition and rules and regulations and say they are crazy. That's just damn wrong. 


Dan said...

Francis keeps saying these type of statements because he knows that these labels will be used to attack priests who try to deliver the faith. Like what has happened to the pastor who removed the Harry Potter books from the school library

rcg said...

People are looking for clarity. This can manifest as rigidity especially in early stages of faith because the person is trying to complete his own understanding of his beliefs. Statements such as this are frustrating because they lack discernment. That places the Holy Father in the same genre as the rigid priest: he values greatly what he does not understand.

TJM said...

LOL - no one is more rigid than a "progressive" Vatican Disaster II kool-aid drinker. It's their way or the highway. I think Santita is engaging in projection. Not a smart strategy if you want a successful Peter's Pence collection

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Early in Pope Francis' papacy, I had a parishioner castigate me because I asked him to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until he had his current marriage validated in the Church, which meant he needed an annulment. He used Pope Francis against me. This particular parishioner was a troublemaker and causing some problems in the parish.

Yes, people who want their way, be it the Harry Potter debacle or some other decision a pastor makes for what he has discerned is the good of his parishioners often resort to Pope Francis as a club to hit the priest. This is horrible and the pope should stop making silly statement that have nothing to do with the faith and morals of the Magisterium of the Church.

Fr Martin Fox said...

The Holy Father continues to govern by insulting people.

Marc said...

Christ was rigid. He is “the Way” whom we must follow and obey to have eternal life. We must strive to enter through the narrow gate because only those who follow his commandments will be saved. Some are called to sell all they have to follow him. And the lukewarm he will vomit out of his mouth.

The problem is not rigid priests, whatever that means. The problem is people don’t like to be told what to do and they resist anyone with apparent authority telling them. Basically, people have a patent distrust of organized religion yet they insist on taking part. Instead of conforming to the requirements of their religion, they rail against them and seek to conform the religion to themselves.

Victor said...

Perhaps the most rigid person was Jesus Christ who said "He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth." (Matt 12:30) There is no middle ground.

Is not Francis being rigid himself when he makes such blanket statements that being rigid is always wrong?

I am sorry to say that my perception of Francis has worsened. This pope's idea of rigidity is political and derives from his Marxist background from which he developed his ideas that praxis is above doctrine, that reality is more important than ideas (sic), and through which he wants to change, change, change the Church to his way of thinking. These comments continue to reveal how incompetent he is as a Catholic leader who is meant to defend the Faith not construe creation as a political event. Yet they also reveal a certain cunning in consolidating power, typical of South American political elitists. They suggest that his goal is to radically change Catholicism to his way of thinking so that the Church becomes the Francis church for all future generations, making him a kind of Gregory the Great of the 21st century. We already see at the highest levels of the Vatican the pope being regarded as a supreme leader who is even above the Scriptures and tradition. There are plenty of anecdotes around of how ruthless and fearless (even of schism) this pope is in private with a very bad temper. It is no wonder that his fellow Argentinians dislike him immensely, and perhaps why he has not yet visited his home country:

Dan said...

AND Francis the insulter has said he's not afraid of a schism if it means "those rigid Catholics" fall away. At this point I think he means a Catholic is "rigid" if they believe the theology of the Faith. I still don't understand why it seems most of the push back against the watering down of the Faith seems to be coming from the laity. (Not just the American laity btw)

TJM said...


Hey,"Francis the Insulter" is right up with "Edward the Confessor!" Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Mark Thomas said...

Father-McDonald permitting:

I would like to reference the following beautiful, uplifting comments by Pope Francis via his latest press conference:

— "...they were people who wanted to be with the Pope."

"Then another thing that struck me – I saw it in three countries but I now refer to Madagascar, we left from there – the people on the streets, there were people there of their own accord.

"At the Mass in the stadium under the rain there were people who were dancing under the rain, they were happy… And also the nocturnal vigil, the Mass – they way there were more than a million, I don’t know, the official statistic says so, I would say there were less, let’s say 800 thousand.

"But the number is not important, what is important is the people, the people who went on foot the evening before, were there for the vigil, who slept there – I thought of Rio de Janeiro in 2013 [World Youth Day], they were sleeping on the beach – they were people who wanted to be with the Pope.

"I felt humbled, very small before the greatness of a people. What is the sign that a group of persons is a people? Joy. There were poor people, there were people who had not eaten that afternoon in order to be there, they were joyful."


Popes Saint John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis hailed the tremendous holy and inspirational fervor for God and His Holy Catholic Church that they encountered during their respective Apostolic visits to Africa.

Vatican II, as well as Pope Saint Paul VI's liturgical reform, have ushered in the New Springtime that the Church in Africa has enjoyed during the past several decades.

Deo gratias for our countless holy and joyful African brothers and sisters.

Deo gratias for their love of, as well as loyalty to, God and our holy Pope Francis.


Mark Thomas

TJM said...


Do us a favor,and quit peddling your nonsense here. You have been corrected time and time again and you repeat the same non-responsive nonsense to the issue at hand. One thoughtful commentator recited fact after fact how the Catholic Church IS NOT flourishing either in Africa or Asia but you persist with your fairy tales. You need to grow up.