Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strange, But Not Strangest

Wow. Rorate Caeli has this story that is indeed rather bizarre:
According to informations of the [religious news] agency I.Media, confirmed to La Croix by Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, Benedict XVI has backtracked on his decision to proclaim Saint John Mary Vianney (1786-1859) "patron saint of all priests of the world", on the closing [ceremonies] of the Year of Priests.

This solemn proclamation should take place after the Mass celebrated this Friday on St.Peter's Square in the presence of over 10,000 priests from all over the world. The figure of this French mystic, already "patron saint of all parish priests of the world" since 1929 and "patron saint of the priests of France" since 1905, has not in the end been considered very representative of the priesthood at the 21st Century, and not very universal.
I can't say I totally disagree. For pastors, parish priests, okay. But all priests? Including those who are just monks in monasteries? Including those who work in University settings or even (gasp) in the work-force in different ways? Including married men who are now priests (in the East, and under dispensations for former protestant pastors)?

And, as the article quoted in this post said:

Yet Benedict’s choice of Vianney caused loud and palpable groans in many parts of US and Europe. Modern-oriented Catholics and theologians see the choice as a political model of a priest closed off from society, overly idealized, hard for young Catholics to relate to, and one whose effect will be to increase a sense of distance between priests and ordinary people, and promote a view of priests more spiritually gifted than regular Catholics.
I'm not sure if it's true yet, but it would make sense if it is. Such a declaration would be another myopic move in the face of this scandal which has shown exactly that what we need is a new model of the priesthood, not a re-emphasis of the Counter-Reformation militarism.

Not that I have anything against St. John Vianney in himself. As I said in the comments section to that post, though:
the message sent by making him the patron[...]seems to some people (including me) to be implying that he was, in fact, a product of the current system rather than holy in spite of it.

It's like co-opting him as an example to try to prove that the current system "works"...when he was actually a huge exception to it. The system simply is not producing that many John Vianneys.

I fear the message being sent is that he was holier because he was a priest, or perhaps that he was a priest because he was holier.
If this backtracking isn't true, it's bizarre that anyone would bother to make up such a story.

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