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http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/hom...sia-15396/

Quote:“The usual nest of vipers, but today the real problem is rampant mediocrity”


“I’ve spent my life studying the history of the Church and attending Church, though more sparingly. I’m hardly going to be shocked.” Vittorio Messori is in the abbey of Maguzzano, a wonder nestled between the Moraine hills and Garda Lake, a place that the history of the Church has crisscrossed for 15 centuries, from St. Benedict to St John Calabria. Here, Messori has set up a study where he can take refuge when he is under pressure: like now, when he has only a few weeks before he has to deliver a book on Lourdes to Italian publisher Mondadori, a project that is very dear to his heart. Its title is Bernadette did not deceive us.

Is someone in the Vatican deceiving us instead? I ask Messori what a practicing Catholic may feel when hearing of how cardinals fight each other tooth and nail, when hearing of files slipped to journalists, of letters stolen from the Pope, of bank intrigues, murderers buried with state honours. “The Roman Curia,” he answers, “has always been a viper’s nest. However, in the past at least, it was the most efficient state organisation in the world. It ran an empire the sun never set on and it had an unparalleled diplomatic corps. What is left of that today?”

Strolling along the cloisters and then among the olive trees, this is how Messori describes the decadence: “The priests in the Roman Curia used to enlist the best people from all the dioceses in the world. Bishops had plenty of clergy around them and had no problem letting them go. Today seminaries have either closed or they’re half empty. So if a bishop has a good priest to hand, he keeps hold of him. And the Pope is like Charles V, who had to run a vast empire and cried out in a depopulated Spain: ‘Give me men’.” But in Africa, I try to object... “The boom in vocations? I’m not kidding myself. In Africa men enter the seminary for the same reasons they did here when we were dying of hunger. It’s a way of making a living. And apart from that, celibacy is incomprehensible for African culture so the Church – let’s put it this way – turns a blind eye. Many priests have wives and children. What are you going to do, send them to Rome? To be bishops?”

He adds: “The decline in quality is obvious. There aren’t even any Latin speakers that are up to the job any more. When Luciani was elected Pope, they were even forced to stop the press at  L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See's newspaper because there was a mistake in the Latin on the front page headline. Even John Paul II’s last encyclicals had Latin mistakes, imagine that.”

In short, the man who wrote two books with the last two popes feels that “the way the Church is limping along is down to the mediocrity of its personnel.” However, is it simply a question of ineptitude? We seem to be faced with resentment, rivalry, greed, maliciousness and infidelity. “Malicious pettiness is often a characteristic of mediocre personalities. Talented people don’t need to stab others in the back.”

The scandal remains and Jesus said beware of those who sow discord. Could one lose one’s faith over it? “No, Christians know well the distinction that Maritain used to make between the Person of the Church, which is sacred, and the people of the Church who, as in any human institution, are bounded by limits, by the sin that is in each of us. The important thing is that the Church must announce the Gospel. If the person then announcing it is holy, then thank God Almighty. If he is a rogue, never mind: he is nevertheless a keeper of Grace.” However aren’t the rogues too many and too powerful today? “The clergy of the Dark Ages, the Renaissance or that of the powdered bishops of the eighteenth century were much worse. And let us not forget one thing: today the clergy is second-rate, however the quality at the top has never been so high. From the Napoleonic era on, every pontiff has either been canonised or was worthy of it. That hasn’t always been the case.”

He leaves me with these words to explain his calm: “Jesus had predicted that the Son of Man would be handed over to men who would do what they wanted with him. He said this at the Last Supper, but many Bible commentators and many mystics see these words as a prophecy not only of the Passion, but of what was to happen later. That’s why scandals don’t surprise me. The Christian God wished to need Mankind, with all the consequences that come with this.”


On Edit: Hang on, I pushed POST by mistake, I wasn't through editing the quote from the article to finish what I was saying.  I'm going to delete it and then re-post in a couple of minutes,

:pray:
Quote:Strolling along the cloisters and then among the olive trees, this is how Messori describes the decadence: “The priests in the Roman Curia used to enlist the best people from all the dioceses in the world. Bishops had plenty of clergy around them and had no problem letting them go. Today seminaries have either closed or they’re half empty. So if a bishop has a good priest to hand, he keeps hold of him. And the Pope is like Charles V, who had to run a vast empire and cried out in a depopulated Spain: ‘Give me men’.” But in Africa, I try to object... “The boom in vocations? I’m not kidding myself. In Africa men enter the seminary for the same reasons they did here when we were dying of hunger. It’s a way of making a living. And apart from that, celibacy is incomprehensible for African culture so the Church – let’s put it this way – turns a blind eye. Many priests have wives and children. What are you going to do, send them to Rome? To be bishops?”

So much for the notion that the Third World is going to save the Church, which we've been told incessantly for some time now.

Quote: The clergy of the Dark Ages, the Renaissance or that of the powdered bishops of the eighteenth century were much worse.
Even if this were generally true, back then Popes didn't hesitate to depose such clergy or bishops.

Quote: And let us not forget one thing: today the clergy is second-rate,
That's putting it mildly.

Quote: however the quality at the top has never been so high. From the Napoleonic era on, every pontiff has either been canonised or was worthy of it. That hasn’t always been the case.”
This is a joke, right? Other than Popes Pius IX and X, and maybe Pius XII and Leo XIII, most of the Popes from the Napoleonic Era onward have been mediocre at best to disasters at worst, and that's being generous.

I likewise have a pretty dim view of the Church hierarchy's current state of affairs, except that I don't even think so highly of the recent popes.

(05-27-2012, 04:48 PM)CrusaderKing Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote: The clergy of the Dark Ages, the Renaissance or that of the powdered bishops of the eighteenth century were much worse.
Even if this were generally true, back then Popes didn't hesistate to depose such clergy or bishops.

Well.... it depends. I do think the 18th century bishops were mostly worthless. The popes were practically rubberstamping atheists to the French episcopacy because of how the Ancien Régime was structured. And I don't really mind how the Renaissance popes had mistresses, waged stupid Italian wars, or had pet elephants..... but they really dropped the ball with the entire fiasco known as the Reformation. Thomas Cranmer, anyone?
(05-27-2012, 04:48 PM)CrusaderKing Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote: And let us not forget one thing: today the clergy is second-rate,
That's putting it mildly.

Quote: however the quality at the top has never been so high. From the Napoleonic era on, every pontiff has either been canonised or was worthy of it. That hasn’t always been the case.”
This is a joke, right? Other than Popes Pius IX and X, and maybe Pius XII and Leo XIII, most of the Popes from the Napoleonic Era onward have been mediocre at best to disasters at worst, and that's being generous.
[/quote]

Indeed. I think the mediocrity is much farther reaching than the author gives credence to.

I particularly like this bit:
Quote:“The Roman Curia,” he answers, “has always been a viper’s nest. However, in the past at least, it was the most efficient state organisation in the world. It ran an empire the sun never set on and it had an unparalleled diplomatic corps. What is left of that today?”
Since when have just African men held the patent on being in cultures that look on celibacy with a weary eye?

I know of no society today which understands the point of celibacy at large. Growing up as a Pastor's kid, I can tell you from firsthand experience that married priests running around in the last thing anyone needs- and Protestant pastors, despite all the stupidity they thrust on themselves, make work for themselves whereas a priest just has to show up to a parish and he has a full plate. Between the duties of a minister and a husband, when one is faced with both, one will win out and the other will lose.

If there is such a huge problem with this in Africa, then either they need to open marriage to African priests, or just lay down the law, which I'd prefer.

It's insulting to the sacrifice of the truly celibate priests who might otherwise love the having of cake and eating it too, but don't for the good of their ministry.

I realize I addressed only a small part of the article, but it was the only thing that jumped out. In summation of the entirety of it: people suck and always have; punishment keeps people in line, and blind eyes turned induce chaos.
I hope he isn't right about the African clergy. I have met several priests from Africa myself and they were very sound. They had good backgrounds in philosophy and theology and when you spoke to them they thought American seminaries were a mess and well I just didn't find anything bad about them. As to things in Rome I always remind myself of what Hillaire Belloc said of the Church:

"An institute run with such knavish imbecility that if it were not the work of God it would not last a fortnight"

C.

An all-celibate clergy is destined to disappear sooner or later.

And that's good news.
(05-27-2012, 06:11 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: [ -> ]An all-celibate clergy is destined to disappear sooner or later. And that's good news.

Is there an organization that has an all-celibate clergy? 
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