Bruno Frappat, La Croix, March 2019
It’s not every day that it suits me to write in a Catholic newspaper!
This is especially so when the Catholic Church is beleaguered by everything intended to make it appear obsolete, corrupt, virtually defunct, disintegrating before our eyes, and hateful in many ways because of the behavior of those who are in the forefront of the battle it has led for 2000 years, in the name of Christ, against Satan, his followers and his evil work.
The latest sociology is preaching against the Church and, on the premise of the Church’s divine as much as peremptory knowledge, argues that — during one year this century (perhaps even in one hour) — the last priest, after centuries of Christianity, will die.
And with him (at last!) the Church will come to an end, an institution that has made our people, and many others, suffer so much: this institution that survived the French Revolution, which was when it should have perished in the first place.
And it will be typical if the name of this last priest and the name of the parish to which he was assigned are covered up – the parish where, he will, of course, relentlessly pursue choir boys, whose ignorant or perverse parents entrusted them to him.
At this future time, perhaps only Africans – you know, those naïve people who are unaware of the meaning of history and for whom reason is not connected to the soul – only those Africans who have resisted the siren calls of Islamism will continue to read and believe in the nonsense that is called the Gospels.
And only they will gather on Sunday, as the bells toll for the last of their numerous deities, and only they will hear their four truths being read to them by clerics who are authoritarian and usually married — twice, more often than not.
However, we shouldn’t be able to take shelter eternally behind history in order to claim that the Church, this institution of divine essence but all too human reality, will never disappear from our part of the world.
We don’t need the reinforcement of historical knowledge in order to assert this.
Rather, we need the reinforcement of faith, the faith that moves mountains: mountains of difficulties, linked to our time, and caused by sinners who are also men of the Church.
There is no reason that a cleric should escape his humanity. Christ himself did not escape his own humanity, having suffered weakness in the desert and as he died on the cross.
So, these gentlemen who stand in the pulpit every week to tell us the truth that they (and only they, some believe) possess, are just men, like all others. But they do not know it. They have been designated by the Church, in the name of Christ, to be the servants of God.
Does this give them human qualities that we other mortals don’t possess? Are they, because they dispense the sacraments, above those to whom they give them?
Do the truths they preach to us give them some essence of eminence compared to us, poor laymen at the foot of the tree of wisdom?
They are encouraged by their training, their entourage, the hierarchy and also by the faithful, to feel that they are essentially different …. and saying “different” quickly moves to thinking “superior.”
The problems that the Church throughout the world is now experiencing has to do with the well-known enemy of the Church, ensconced within its very heart, and courageously denounced by Pope Francis: clericalism.
Clerical are those who think themselves above the human flock, distinguished by their status as depositaries of all truths and, therefore, likely to assert power over others.
Clericalism plus male chauvinism results in the tragedy of nuns being abused by guru priests.
A shocking film broadcast on French TV the other week opportunely brought this scandal to the fore. From power over souls to power over bodies – an atrocious stain.
If the Church is seeking a future that is brighter than its dark present, it must urgently consider another status for its priests, and make them accept that they must renounce the least bit of power that they exert over others.
Forever giving lessons to lay people about issues related to sexuality or conjugal love, of which, in principle, they are ignorant, they often convey a scandalous image of duplicity and double standards.
The absolute horror of the cases of pedophilia that have occurred all over the world makes a radical reconsideration of the training and career management of priests imperative.
The Church, apart from its inspiration from above, is only made of wretched human beings who are just like us. They have the same inclinations as we do, but they ignore this too often, or pretend not to know it.
The ecclesiastical arrogance linked to the pride of difference must end. There are saints and heroes among them – true men of God. What are they hiding?
The archbishop of Strasbourg made a magnificent reflection in an interview with La Croixabout the weaknesses of clerics. Echoing an epistle of Saint Paul, he said, “We are carrying a treasure in a fragile vase.” Let us not break the vase to protect wrongful messengers.