The Irish Synodal Path document sent to Rome is critical of some younger priests and calls them ” rigid”.
Some of these young priests have taken to the media to say that they are hurt by being written off as rigid.
In what senses can a priest be rigid?
It could be by throwing the doctrinaire Catechism of the Catholic Church at people and telling them that they MUST obey every word and line in it – and not taking into account the individual’s circumstances and subjective morality.
It could be by interpreting the Bible, especially the Old Testament, ansolutely literally. Using Leviticus to condemn homosexuality and not telling people that the book equally condemns the eating of prawns.
It could be expressed in the Liturgy – by insisting on the superiority of the Latin Mass over the vernacular Mass and insisting on using pre Vatican II vestments and smothering themselves in girly lace, linen and silk.
It could be by appearing to be a pharisaic pillar of virtue on the altar on a Sunday and swimming in bodily fluids in a gay sauna on Monday.
You see, many of us who have watched some other specific younger priests come along – the ones named on this blog in the past – have noticed that they live double lives – rigid on others and totally permissive in their private lives.
And that type of living is blatantly hypocritical and absolutely unacceptable.
Don’t forget how “rigid” the Pharisees were and how Jesus lambasted them.
This Blog has shown over the years how rigidity can often be a cover for hypocrisy.
Recently I visited a consultant about the osteoarthritis in my hands.
He was a middle aged Catholic and surprised me whenever he said:
“I see lots of priests of your age. You were of that generation of priests who got on on the street and got stuck into community action and ended up with broken hands”.
Nowadays many of these rigid young priests have moisturised hands and visit nail clinics.
That’s a far cry from the Nazarene who had one garment and who fished and cooked and whose companions were tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers and outcasts.
Jesus was not rigid!
Neither should his disciples be!
People become rigid whenever they deify and practice man made laws.
The cure for rigidity is allowing the Compassionate Jesus to turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.