Dorothy Cummings McLean reports for LifeSiteNews — Pope Francis has indicated that he was not impressed with priests who violated coronavirus lockdown rules to minister to the laity.
In a speech he delivered Saturday to primarily bishops, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers from the Italian region of Lombardy, Pope Francis contrasted priests who violated the ban on public worship with priests who ministered to their flock in “creative” ways, like buying their shopping.
“The pastoral zeal and creative solicitude of priests helped people to follow the way of faith and not to remain alone before sorrow and fear,” he said.
“This priestly creativity … overcame … a few, ‘adolescent’ expressions against the measures of the authority having the duty of protecting the health of the people.”
Francis said most priests were “obedient and creative.”
“I admired the apostolic spirit of many priests who visited by telephone, knocked on doors, called by homes (saying): ‘Do you need something? I will do your shopping,’” he added.
“A thousand things. Closeness, creativity, without shame. … They were a sign of the consoling presence of God.”
He said these priests were “fathers, not adolescents.”
The pontiff said Italian Catholics were able to feel like a community even without public worship.
“These past months, the people could not participate personally at the liturgical celebrations, but they didn’t miss the feeling of community,” he said.
“They prayed alone or with their families, even through means of social communication, spiritually united, and perceiving that the embrace of the Lord goes beyond the limits of space.”
Pope Francis praised doctors and nurses and other people in secular life who brought healing and comfort to the sick during the bleakest days of Italy’s early experience of the coronavirus pandemic. He asked his audience not to forget the “positive energy” generated at that time and said individualism as a guiding principle for society has been, more now than ever, shown to be illusory.
“God has created us for communion, for fraternity,” he said.
Among those present at the lecture were the Archbishop of Milan and the bishops of Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona, Crema, Lodì and Padua.
The coronavirus pandemic hit Lombardy early and hard before spreading throughout the rest of Italy, Europe and the United Kingdom. The first known Italian COVID-19 patient in the region fell ill in mid-February. On March 8, as the virus spread rapidly through northern Italy, Lombardy was placed with other northern and central areas under quarantine. This was only partially effective. As of today, there have been more than 93,000 cases reported for the Lombardy region, and the deaths of more than 16,500 residents have been blamed on the virus.
The quarantine, which included a ban on public worship and most travel outside the home, extended to the entire country on March 10. This left many priests uncertain as to how to minister to the spiritual needs of their people. In some places, authorities turned a blind eye to cautious Eucharistic and other devotional processions; in others, police fined priests for appearing outdoors without sufficient cause or even interrupted Mass.
One aspect of the coronavirus measures that troubled faithful Catholics in northern Italy was that churches were singled out for closure weeks before restaurants, swimming pools and other public venues were made to close their doors. On March 8, shortly after the nationwide ban on public gatherings, even private prayer in the churches of Rome was suspended. This decision was overturned on March 13 after Papal Almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski refused to close the doors to his titular church and displayed the Blessed Sacrament for adoration.
“It is the act of disobedience, yes, I myself put the Blessed Sacrament out and opened my church,” Krajewski said.
“It did not happen under Fascism, it did not happen under the Russian or Soviet rule in Poland — the churches were not closed,” he explained.
“This is an act that should bring courage to other priests.”
Christopher A. Ferrara comments for Fatima Perspectives — In an address to doctors and other health workers in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall on Saturday, June 20, Pope Francis did not miss the opportunity — typical of the globalist Left of which he is an active agent — to hurl invective at legitimate opposition to massively disruptive and destructive “lockdowns” that arguably did nothing to hasten the departure of the Wuhan Virus and may even have prolonged its effects, as this study shows, but certainly advanced the power-grabbing of Leftist leaders and elites all over the world.
During his address Francis, who has reduced Saint Peter’s to an empty theatre from which he broadcasts papal Masses by video as if they were TV episodes, could not resist his umpteenth insult of traditional priests who, rightly enough, refused to deprive the faithful of the Mass based on hysteria over a virus that has been depicted as if it were the Bubonic Plague. Quoth Francis:
“In recent months, people have not been able to participate in the liturgical celebrations, but have not stopped feeling like a community. They prayed individually or in the family, also through the means of social communication, spiritually united and perceiving that the embrace of the Lord went beyond the limits of space. The pastoral zeal and creative concern of the priests helped people to continue the path of faith and not to remain alone in the face of pain and fear. This priestly creativity has prevailed over some, a few, ‘adolescent’ expressions against the measures of authority, which has the obligation to protect the health of the people. Most of them were obedient and creative.
“I admired the apostolic spirit of many priests, who came with the telephone, knocking on doors, ringing houses: ‘Do you need anything? I do the shopping …’. A thousand things. Proximity, creativity, without shame. These priests who remained with their people in caring and daily sharing: they were a sign of the consoling presence of God. They were fathers, not teenagers. Unfortunately, not a few of them have died, as well as doctors and paramedical staff….”
An astonishing amount of nonsense — even for this Pope — is compressed into these few words. Consider:
- “the embrace of the Lord went beyond the limits of space”
So says Francis of priests, including himself, who refused to allow the faithful to attend Mass but rather streamed their Masses over the Internet. Ecclesiastical demagoguery of the worst sort that ignores the necessity of physical presence for reception of the Blessed Sacrament that is the beating Heart of the Faith and the source of communion and grace for the whole Mystical Body. Also, a typically Modernist pneumatological reduction of the Church to a purely spiritual community that might just as well convene over the Internet, when in truth Our Lord founded an incarnational religion that brings the faithful into His irreplaceable Real Presence — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity — through a Sacrament that can be received only physically: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.” (Jn 6:54-55)
- “‘adolescent’ expressions against the measures of authority, which has the obligation to protect the health of the people.”
So says Francis of the priests who provided Mass to the faithful rather than cower in fear of a virus that is asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic in most cases and directly caused a mere 12 percent of the deaths loosely attributed to it according to Italy’s National Institute of Health. And these deaths were almost entirely among the elderly with comorbidities, many confined to nursing homes rather than having been infected in the churches superstitiously depicted as deadly viral vectors with the help of this Pope.
What is “adolescent” here is the Pope’s seemingly insatiable appetite for petty insults directed at his perceived enemies within the Church, who are invariably simple orthodox Catholics.
- “Most of them were obedient and creative knocking on doors, ringing houses: ‘Do you need anything? I do the shopping’ … A thousand things. Proximity, creativity, without shame. These priests who remained with their people in caring and daily sharing: they were a sign of the consoling presence of God. They were fathers, not teenagers. Unfortunately, not a few of them have died…”
So, the “obedient and creative” priests who offered to do shopping for their parishioners were real men, real spiritual fathers, and “not a few of them” died. They died for shopping! But the priests who provide the very Bread of Life to willing parishioners, who think bringing sacramental grace to the people is more important than bringing them groceries, these are just “teenagers” who deserve only the Pope’s public ridicule.
The twisted mentality at work here defies description — at least for me. Suffice it to say that a Pope who reduces the Church to a merely spiritual assembly that can commune on the Internet and who thinks that grocery-shopping is an heroic act of spiritual sacrifice by a priest for his flock is the same Pope who has emptied the churches in the mainstream ecclesial establishment along with the coffers of Peter’s Pence.
Perhaps, in the inscrutable designs of Providence, that is ultimately a good thing. It will reveal that the few good priests this Pope mocks as “adolescents” and “teenagers” are actually the future of the Church and indeed the only adults remaining in the ecclesial room. From which horrendous state of affairs may the good Lord soon deliver His Church.