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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

MARCH 16, 2013

 The photo I post below, while a work of art and thus to be appreciated, conveys sentiments about the hierarchy of the Church as out of touch and not with much to do. It’s a princely life or at least a church caricature of it.  

When I was a seminarian in the late 1970’s, I remember being scandalized when I learned that the retired Cardinal of Baltimore, Cardinal Sheehan had a chauffeur and a Cadillac limousine to boot.

And when I visited Philadelphia for the first time, I was shocked to see the mansion in which a lone cardinal lived in the most exclusive part of Philadelphia.

Both of these shocking images were a far cry from what I experienced of the Catholic Church in humble Augusta, Georgia and the Diocese of Savannah. 

And thus this is what Pope Francis said three days after his election as the Supreme Pontiff:

 VATICAN CITY — On his election to the papacy, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose to name himself after Francis of Assisi because the 12th-century saint "is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation," Pope Francis said Saturday.

"How I would like a church that is poor and for the poor," he told about 5,000 journalists gathered for an audience with the pope.

That’s a far cry from the sentiments of this image:

17 comments:

TJM said...

I think PF is getting his wish as the Church continues to shed Catholics and their contributions

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

There is an article over at Rorate today you will find interesting:

Dr. Michael Fiedrowicz on Traditionis Custodes: “Frighteningly reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984”

DJR said...

I have always found it extremely difficult to take seriously the words of a person who lives one way while advocating an opposite lifestyle. It would be like listening to Liz Taylor expound on the benefits of permanent marriage.

Most poor people in the world would think that the pope lives in absolute luxury, much like the sentiments depicted in the accompanying picture.

Pope Francis doesn't worry about where his next meal is coming from. He doesn't worry about rearing and educating children or caring for them when they are ill, paying for health care for his family, affordable housing, inflation, et cetera. He is able to jet around the world at no cost to himself (adding to global warming, no doubt) and basically gets to hobnob with the rich and famous of this world whenever it pleases him.

How can anyone take his words on this issue seriously, particularly a truly poor person? How many poor people have chauffeurs and chefs?

The difference between Pope Francis and Saint Francis is that one of them actually did live in poverty; he didn't just talk about it.

John Nolan said...

It depends on how you define poverty. If the Church has no money, either at parish level or at the highest level, it can't evangelize and the poor will remain spiritually and materially impoverished.

'Poor and for the poor' is an oxymoron. The 19th century 'slum priests' (Anglican and Catholic) did not see poverty as an ideal; they saw it as the cause of many evils in society.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

We do not take a vow of poverty as diocesan priests, but we are expected to live materially simple lives.

Watered silk cassocks, flashy jewelry, expensive cars (which often are an added expense to the parish since our gas and insurance are paid), and the other trappings of a well-to-do-life should be avoided.

There's a powerful scene in the movie "Doubt" which contrasts the priests at dinner in the rectory and the sisters at dinner in the convent next door. They guys are enjoying a fine meal of prime rib, fresh veggies, and wine and beer in an elegantly furnished dining room while the sisters, in a sparsely furnished room, are having a simple meal with milk as their beverage. See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpwkIYB3ZEY

I remember that when I was on sabbatical in 2004 a priest from Tanzania asked, out of curiosity, what my salary was. I said, "Castus, right now it costs a parish about $55,000 or $60,000 a year to keep a priest." "Oh!" he responded, "I get $60 a month." And that was his total "remuneration" package - no travel expenses, money for continuing ed, or medical insurance, or retirement funds.

As the program was coming to an end, he asked if I knew where he could buy men's pants inexpensively. I asked the folks there and they suggested the Goodwill thrift store near downtown. We went - I had my car, of course - and he bought two of the largest suitcases he could find and loaded them up with used men's blue jeans which were about $2.00 a pair to take home. His father in Tanzania was a tailer and could repair and alter them for the men and boys that were being trained at a catechetical center that Castus ran.

I remember Castus whenever I feel the tug of consumerism...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

DJR - There are other slight differences between Pope Francis and Saint Francis, the first being that the saint lived 800 years ago in a vastly, almost unimaginably different culture. That "small" detail has not prevented you from using an absurd and meaningless comparison to say disparaging things about the Holy Father.

And if you want priests today to start taking on the responsibilities of rearing kids, housing them, paying for insurance, buying food, etc., you'd better be prepared to put your money where your mouth is in your own parish and TRIPLE if not QUADRUPLE your weekly offering.

(Please make tailer "tailor" in my 12:21 post!)

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

Another strawman argument from you. I doubt any of the traditional posters here are calling for married priests. But since liberals want the government to do their charity work for them, I would not count on that group, which probably would like married clergy, to contribute more. They seldom put their money where their mouth is unless it is money for Planned Parenthood

DJR said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said... "And if you want priests today to start taking on the responsibilities of rearing kids, housing them, paying for insurance, buying food, etc., you'd better be prepared to put your money where your mouth is in your own parish and TRIPLE if not QUADRUPLE your weekly offering."

Father, this comment made me laugh. Here's why: For the record, being a registered parishioner of an eparchy (aka "diocese" to you), I receive the sacraments regularly from a priest who, inter alia, reared three sons, housed them, paid for their insurance, educated them, and bought their food (although he is not the pastor, and the current pastor is not married).

You can view him here: https://www.soufanieh.com/MULTIMEDIA/2002.08.USA/20020825.USA.ENG.ST-MARY.BOARDMAN.FR%20GAGE%20HOMILY.mp4

The priest at the next parish (several hundred miles away) has three children as well: two daughters and a boy, all under age 10. You can see him here: https://www.stannesbyzantine.com/

The former pastor at the parish in my hometown also has three young children. You can see him here: https://parma.org/news/parma-has-new-protosyncellus

In summation, my money has been where my mouth is for longer than you've been a priest! Lol.

But back to the point of the article and my post about it, what I stated has to do with the pope's comments about being "poor."

The pope is not "poor," yet he wants a "church that is poor and for the poor." I actually find no problem with "a church that is poor"; it's just that his lifestyle, which is actually one that most people would refer to as "rich," does not reflect his words. If he led by example, like Saint Francis did, that would be different.

To talk constantly about wanting the church to be poor, which Pope Francis tends to do, while living in luxury, is usually referred to, by most people, as "hypocrisy."

I have no doubt whatsoever that most poor people would agree.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

DJR - The Pope and 99% of the Catholic priests (my guesstimate) in Europe and the USA are not Eastern rite.

So when you complain that the pope or the vast majority of priests, who are not priests of an Eastern rite, should worry about reading and educating their children, paying for health care for their families, housing them etc., you're speaking to non-Eastern riters. And when you say that, unless a priest is living in destitution, he can't speak to the dangers of consumerism and materialism without being a hypocrite, then you're way off base.

When prelates put on gem-encrusted miters and crosses, when they don watered silk or damask vestments, when the ornate "high" altars of churches are covered in gold, or when the "Princes of the Church" parade down the aisle in fine lace and a 20 yard long cappa magna, folks here defend it as "all for the glory of God!" When Francis doesn't have Prada red shoes made for him, doesn't wear a signature rolex, when he eats in the St. Martha dining hall, he's a complete hypocrite.

Francis simplicity of life in Buenos Aires and in Rome is well known. It is ignored and disdained only by those with an imaginary axe to grind.

ByzRus said...

DJR,

My priest, Passaic Eparchy, has 2 children. We are a very small parish, comparatively speaking, relative to those of our Roman brother and sisters. It is a commitment and, somehow, we pay the bills. Yes, it changes the parish's dynamic; however, I've found it to be enriching particularly as it has always been part of Eastern culture. I believe the OCA and ROCOR, where priests are not married, are monastics assigned to a parish and are a igumen/hieromonk.

TJM said...

Father K, like a typical leftist, does not seem to realize that a lot of artisans make money and support their families creating beautiful vestments, crosses, etc. They would otherwise be unemployed and living off of the taxpayer, a leftist's idea of "paradise." Instead maybe he should be focusing on his Party's politicians becoming fabulously wealthy off of government, the Clintons, the Obamas, and the Bidens. Harry Truman used to refer to people like this as crooks

DJR said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said..."DJR - The Pope and 99% of the Catholic priests (my guesstimate) in Europe and the USA are not Eastern rite. So when you complain that the pope or the vast majority of priests, who are not priests of an Eastern rite, should worry about reading and educating their children, paying for health care for their families, housing them etc., you're speaking to non-Eastern riters."

You have completely missed the point of what I stated, and you have totally misrepresented it.

The pope is the one who keeps harping on wanting a "poor church for the poor." If he wants such a church, he should lead by example.

What in the world do you think poor people -- and I mean truly poor people -- think of his lifestyle? They see a person who talks about "the poor" but lives in luxury.

He doesn't talk about merely living a life of "simplicity," as you put it; he wants a "poor church." For whom? What's he talking about? What does that mean?

Are you poor, Father?

If the pope wants a "poor church," why doesn't he take the lead? He can, as you put it, put his money where his mouth is. Or, in this instance, put the poverty there.

OR he could just stop talking about wanting a "poor church." It's just words, that's all. There's little substance to it.

It's very similar to all the nonsense about climate change. The pope jets around the world and then publicly frets about climate change. Ditto with all the wealthy people who do the same, fellow travelers such as Jeffrey Sachs and Bill Gates.

Normal people call that hypocrisy.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

DJR - You point certainly seems to be that if the pope is not as materially poor as the poorest person, he cannot encourage us to live simply so that others may simply live. Going beyond that, you accuse him of hypocrisy.

Your point and your accusation are balderdash.

Pope Benedict would fall under the same accusation were you to read his message for the World Day of Peace, January 1 2009: "FIGHTING POVERTY TO BUILD PEACE"

Saint Pope John Paul II would fall under the same accusation were you to read his Message for Lent 1998" "Come, 0 blessed of my Father, for I was poor, marginalized and you welcomed me!"

I suspect popes as far back as Peter would, in your view, be hypocrites.

You ask if I am poor. No, I am not poor nor will I ever be poor. I will always have a roof over my head, sufficient food, and very good medical care. That does not in any way preclude my reminding the people I serve of the biblical command to care for those in need and to do so with great generosity. I live a relatively simple life in terms of material possessions.

Scripture does not condemn wealth, however that may be measured. The rich man at whose doorstep Lazarus used to sit and beg was not condemned because he was rich, but because he did not help Lazarus.

All that being said, your point REALLY is this: You don't like Francis so you try to invent reasons to condemn him.

DJR said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said... "All that being said, your point REALLY is this: You don't like Francis so you try to invent reasons to condemn him."

Wrong. My point is included in the first sentence: "I have always found it extremely difficult to take seriously the words of a person who lives one way while advocating an opposite lifestyle."

No doubt, you would take seriously the words of Donald Trump on, say, sexual morality or perhaps even poverty.

Where did I "condemn" the pope?

My post had nothing to do with "liking" the pope or "not liking" him; it had to do with hypocrisy.

Wanting a "poor church" and complaining about climate change, while jetting around the world, is what most people consider hypocrisy. It matters not whether it's the pope, Father Kavanaugh, or any other person doing it.

This article just so happened to be about the pope. If it were Donald Trump advocating those things, I would have made the same comment and just changed the names.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Where did I "condemn" the pope?"

When you condemnd him as being guilty of hypocrisy.

"I have always found it extremely difficult to take seriously the words of a person who lives one way while advocating an opposite lifestyle."

Does your pastor who has a comfortable, non-poor life, speak of the need to be mindful of the poor, to care for those in need, and to do so with great generosity?

I suspect he does - I hope he does.

Is he, too, a hypocrite? If not, why the difference?



TJM said...

PF has never missed a meal in his life. He is all buzzwords and no substance. He uses the term “mercy” while crushing Faithful Catholics.

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanagh,

Between Pelosi ans Biden, your kind of “catholics,” you must be struggling