Pope Francis ruffling a few conservative young feathers

Pope Francis’s courage is causing disquiet among those with “a very conformist and closed Catholicism”, the Archbishop of Dublin has warned.

At a Catholic leadership conference in Melbourne last month, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin spoke of a young curate who recently told his parish priest he was not happy with some things the Pope had said.

The young priest felt they “were not in line with what he had learned in the seminary”.

And the young priest suggested some of Francis’s comments were “making the faithful insecure and even encouraging those who do not hold the orthodox Catholic beliefs to challenge traditional teaching”.

Dr Martin said his immediate response was that it was the curate whose security was being upset.

The young priest was not the only one “upset by the way Pope Francis speaks about some things”, the archbishop continued.

“There are those who say that he is a communist because of his concern for the poor and his trenchant criticism of some aspects of today’s market economy”.

However, the archbishop concluded that the problem was “with us, with all of us”.

“We all fall into the temptation of reading Pope Francis superficially and selectively.

“All of us are pleased with what Pope Francis says when he says things we like.”

But Pope Francis’s thought is subtle and full of nuances, as seen in The Joy of the Gospel, and very often people don’t pick up on these and miss what the Pope is trying to say, Dr Martin cautioned.

Fr Seamus Ahearne of the Association of Catholic Priests said the Church in Ireland needs to hear more comments like Archbishop Martin’s.

He said the archbishop’s concern about the “young curate” was a familiar one as many were concerned that the few young priests there are in the Irish Church appear to embrace a very traditionalist view of Church.

They are “so locked into a past model of priesthood” he commented and said this manifested itself in “the way that they dress up, the way they celebrate Mass, and in their views”.


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