Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Back Off the Benny Bashing






Nothing more cowardly and unmanly than to make fun of an elderly man. Only someone who is insecure in their own masculinity has the audacity to launch verbal attacks on a true gentleman and scholar. It is pathetic when a person is reduced to making petty insults and puerile epithets just to mask their own theological inadequacies. Any moron can resort to ad hominem attacks but an intellectual person seeks and respects the truth. Sadly, a cardinal, a prince of the church, recently made schoolyard-bully insults via twitter the very day Pope Francis was elected:

"So long, Papal ermine and fancy lace! Welcome, simple cassock, and hopefully, ordinary black shoes!"

"Moving from HIGH Church to LOW and humble Church! What a blessing that we are encountering Jesus without trappings!"

You do not have to be an astrophysicist to figure out who was being implied in His Eminence's remarks. Trashing a former pope while he is still alive (albeit abdicated) is not just bad manners, it is like dissing your elderly grandfather after he goes to the retirement home. Disrespectful and DISTASTEFUL. Shameful, not to mention embarrassing that the non-Catholic world has to see a Cardinal show such disdain for a Vicar of Christ and Successor of Saint Peter.

DE GUSTIBUS NON DISPUTANDUM EST.  Pope Francis has a different style than his predecessor. So did Pope Benedict XVI to a smaller degree. It is UNJUST and dare I say, it is SLANDEROUS to accuse, allege or imply that B16 was in any a proud pontiff. It took great humility to resign from the most powerful office on earth. Pope Benedict abdicated for the sake of the common good of Holy Mother Church. She needed a shepherd who was healthier and more vibrant. BOTH popes, however, are HUMBLE. Humility can be expressed in different ways.

Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Francis of Assisi are perfect examples. One was a brilliant theologian and intellectual giant while the other was a pioneering spiritual reformer. While there may be some friendly competition between the Dominicans and the Franciscans, neither Aquinas nor Francis were in any way, shape or form bitter rivals or enemies.

The secular press, however, and some in the Catholic media (and one notorious and infamous Cardinal) make it sound as if only Pope Francis showed humility. They imply and infer that Pope Benedict was a proud aristocratic who veiled himself with trappings of imperialism.

Pope Benedict merely showed the Church and the world that CATHOLIC means UNIVERSAL. Just as we have both an Eastern and Western (Latin) Church in Catholicism, we also have in the Roman Rite the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. We have traditional and contemporary taste in ART, MUSIC and LITURGICAL ATTIRE. If Pope Benedict wore a lace alb it was merely a matter of personal TASTE, not a political statement.  If someone is looking for hidden agendas and latent messages, I would not look at the old fashioned vestments, rather, peek into the moral activity of those who cast the first and largest stones. Before the sex scandals broke in the press, many a seminarian was persecuted for wearing a little lace in his alb or surplice while a classmate who frequented gay bars or who preached dissident theology in his homilies got sterling evaluations. 

It is not the liturgical lace that church bureaucrats need worry about. Instead, they should be concerned about the women's lingerie some deviant clergy were wearing as has been reported in newspaper articles a few months ago. We do not need the Dark Ages of the Witch Hunt for conservative and traditional seminarians and priests as we had in the '60's, '70's and early '80's. Almost like Elizabethan England when finding a rosary got you drawn and quartered, many of us remember the intimidation, ridicule and often offensive persecution for practicing private devotions and personal piety.

Some people like formality not because they consider themselves better than others, rather, they want to HONOR someone or some event by making an extra effort to dress up. Casual has become the icon of our modern age. When I was growing up, everyone, be they poor, rich or middle-class, had 'church clothes' that you wore every Sunday. Jeans were for manual labor, not for office or school, nor dining in restaurants and NEVER in church. Wearing the proper wedding garment had nothing to do with the cost of it. Attention to small details is not always a sign of obsessive compulsive behavior. It can also be a sign of RESPECT. When good china and real silverware are brought out, along with the linen napkins and tablecloth, it is the OCCASION and/or the GUEST who is being honored. Paper plates and plasticware are inexpensive and convenient but they do not bespeak anything SPECIAL. Some people or some events are special. Some places are special (like Church).

Pope Benedict XVI had CLASS. He is a true gentleman and a man of polite manners. He would never make the disparaging remarks like the ones made by an American cardinal calumniously attacking him just for his choice (and it is an option) of liturgical attire. If more attention had been spent on cracking down on BAD THEOLOGY (dissent) and BAD MORALITY (sexual misconduct) as well as BAD LITURGY (rubrical abuses), many scandals could have been avoided and prevented.

I am sick of those who keep trashing and bashing B16 as if he were some snobby Czar or glib monarch who dines on caviar while the poor masses eat stale bread. What Pope Benedict did was to show us that SACRED WORSHIP (Divine Liturgy) is about God and it comes from God. Man did not invent divine worship. God created and ordained HOW and WHERE He was to be adored and worshipped as we see Moses being told by God to tell Pharaoh, 'let my people go so that they may worship me in the wilderness.'

It was JUDAS who reprimanded the woman that anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive aromatic nard. Christ did not stop nor did He chastise her. He instead thanked and blessed her. Cain made a sloppy second, convenient sacrifice whereas his brother Abel offered the best sheep of the flock. Whose offering was accepted and whose was rejected?

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta INSISTED that silver or gold vessels be used at Mass in all her chapels where the Missionaries of Charity worshipped God around the world. She said the worship of God deserved only the best and the poor should not be deprived of offering the best to God merely because they themselves cannot afford it.

I find it is clerical men who are more like girly-men and nancy-boys (i.e., those insecure in their own masculinity) and who launch vicious attacks on their peers and colleagues for wearing more elaborate, formal and more traditional vestments. Real men do not bully the perceived 'nerds' or 'geeks' who dress less casually than the jocks. Real men are secure in manly VIRTUES and have no need for histrionics and melodrama. HUMILITY is not what you wear, but how you ACT and how you TREAT others.  One can be CHEAP and have nothing to do with saving money. Being CHEAP is not about spending less, rather, it is about being too lazy or too conceited to do what might be inconvenient but what is expected by convention to show RESPECT and APPRECIATION to someone else. Cheap Catholicism is like cheap grace; neither is efficacious. REVERENCE is not a matter of price-tag but it is a matter of deliberate effort to show respect.

Pope Francis is entitled to his personal taste, opinion and prudential judgments. We are not in any position to render any comment as he is the supreme shepherd of the universal church. That being said, those of us who APPRECIATE and LIKE the former style of Pope Benedict are FREE to continue his example just as those who wish to imitate and emulate Pope Francis, Pope John Paul II, Pope Paul VI or even Pope Pius XII. In matters of faith (doctrine) and morals, we must all be on the same page with the Vicar of Christ. In matters of taste (DE GUSTIBUS) there is no argument or debate (NON DISPUTANDUM EST). When will some people finally figure that out?



31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said father!

Lynda said...

It is not "Jesus" that he and his ilk are encountering but the Devil. They thrill at every sign of the degradation and defilement of the Church.

Kelly said...

Amen. Amen. Amen. Papa Bene Emeritus is loved and missed! Pope Francis Is loved and welcomed. Comparing is useless. One pontificate builds on another, it doesn't repudiate it.

Isaac O. said...

Thank you, Fr. Trigillio.

You expressed exactly what our family has been thinking.

We love and miss Pope BXVI! He was a tremendously humble man throughout his entire life.

Let us pray for both BXVI and Pope Francis.

ALG Bass said...

As a member of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, let me say this: The 'High-Church''Low-Church' paradigm is an illegitimate development within Anglicanism that has *no place* within Catholicism.
There is simply the Liturgy, according to the texts and rubrics, period.
Anything else is an importation from Protestantism. It is not part of the Patrimony of the Latin Church. It should not be considered as part of the Patrimony of Anglicanism that can be brought into the Ordinariates.

James Kohn said...

Wow, Father thank you for saying this, some of us out here are getting tired of the media and people of the cloth like his Eminence trying to split Holy Mother Church. Thank you for being a Beacon of Light!

+JMJ+

Erika said...

Amen and Alleluia! Papa Bene Emeritus differed in taste, personality, and emphasis when compared to Papa Francis. However, that difference is definitely NOT resin to degrade Papa Bene Emeritus or Papa Francis. I saw a meme that expressed it perfectly IMO: JP II = taught us what we believe, Papa Bene = taught us why we believe, & Papa Francis teaches us how to believe/worship/serve. (Sorry JP II should have a Papa in front of it too, but I can't edit). I grew up with Papa JP II, but must say the scholarly traditional manner of Papa Bene (plus his German heritage that I share) endeared him to my heart. Papa Francis challenges my spirit to better emulate Christ in service and simplicity. I love the Church and therefore I love the Pope!

Brian F Hudon said...

Thank you for defending our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Thank you for recognizing that praise, if and when insincere, can be as insulting as indifference. The maker of the comments you quote here I believe offered praise to neither person and perhaps insults to at least one of them.

Anonymous said...

I love and appreciate the traditions of our Sacred Catholic Church. One of the ways we show honor to God is to dress in our "Sunday Best." That includes our Celebrants as well as Mass attendees. It sets the tone as we enter into the Heavenly Liturgy and show respect for Our God who has given us everything.
Thank you for mentioning that Pope Emeritus Benedict was and is a "class act." Our new Holy Father Francis is a good man as well. Our hearts are big enough to embrace both of them and appreciate their love for God and His people.

Keyser Soze said...

Thank you Father Triglio for setting the record straight.

Many of us still love Pope Benedict, which takes nothing away from the new pope.

History will reveal that Benedict's all-too-short pontificate was the first step toward stabilizing a Church that had been in a chaotic free-fall for too long, in part because of so many bishops like the pathetic Cardinal who made these unfortunate remarks.

And the Cardinal? His record speaks for itself. I suppose when your credibility is spent, all that's left is cheap shots. Thank God the sun is setting on Amchurch.

Matt C. Abbott said...

Well said, Father!

Cardinal Mahony is certainly in no position to throw stones.

priestofthechurch said...

Hear hear!

We are going to have to speak this message much over the coming years, I suspect.

Suellen said...

Thank you, Father! I wrote my own little thoughts on this same subject here: http://ephphatha13.blogspot.com/2013/03/humble-in-his-red-shoes.html

God bless Our Holy Father and Our Holy Father Emeritus!

Anonymous said...

Father, all I can say AMEN! I wish Cardinal Mahoney would read it.

Katalina said...

While I heartily agree with Fr John when it comes to the constant comparisons between these two Popes it is not helpful. ALL POPES WILL BE DIFFERENT. It has always been this way but sadly since the days of "Good Pope John" we have these kinds of unfair comparison which really achieves NOTHING. As we have seen Francis shows a great respect and appreciation of Benedict. Actually 8 years is long almost a whole decade

Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Here's what St. Francis himself has to say about proper liturgy (and it's as "high church" as Benedict XVI, but also more vehement in tone that Benedict XVI):
http://monkallover.blogspot.com/2006/10/from-st-francis-of-assisi-letter-to.html

Anonymous said...

Fr. Giovanni Trigilio. I love the strong, unqualified (and being Italian myself) manly anger in defense of our beloved, kind, holy, unselfish Benedict who is being mugged mercilessly by the small, imperfect, no longer active cardinal from LA who left behind a blemished (to be kind) legacy and a fruitless vine. A 77 year old man who can find nothing better to do with himself than twitter rubbish about Holy Father, deserves the kick in the pants you gave him.

Essence of Prayer said...

Thank you, Fr. John!! God bless you.

Katalina said...

As we see in today's headline about Pope Francis and his "hardline" attitude about clergy abuse in the AP the impression is made again that Benedict falls short compared to Francis. Let's face it-He's been resented by some since his election because he was more quiet and unassuming unlike the 2 Popes who came before him. The average Catholic needs to keep perspective on the Personality Cult

Angie said...

Thank you for defending our Beloved Pope Benedict XVI, there is an old saying consider the source. Pope Benedict XVI will probably go down in History as one of our Greatest Popes, and in many peoples opinion equal to Pope Gregory The Great. Just as the High Priest Caiaphas was jealous Of Christ, You can see the jealousy that some lesser persons had for Pope Benedict XVI who is a truly Holy Man, a Scholar, cultured, extremely humble, But never denying the importance of The Papacy just as Christ never denied he was a KING & The Son Of God. The Pope is Christ Vicar on Earth and Benedict in my opinion was very aware of this enormous responsibility. I am so grateful to have had the privilege of being alive during Pope Benedict XVI REIGN as Christ Vicar On Earth.

James said...

Amen, Father ! A spirited and vigorous defence of our beloved Benedict. I think the Cardinal in question ought to be more concerned about the state of his own soul and whether or not he can enjoy his retirement (for which we are ALL grateful)as a free man. You were too polite to say that...I'm not.

Tom Ryan said...

Will people at least now concede that Mother Angelica was right about Cardinal Baloney?

Phil said...

Great post, Father! There seems to be far too much talk of the alleged dichotomy between our Pope and our Pope Emeritus. I find it sad that it is now coming from a cardinal within the Church. Such talk only encourages division among the faithful and confusion among our non-Catholic friends. Pope Benedict XVI gave us wonderful witness, and his legacy will surely continue to grow. Pope Francis will certainly be a great blessing to us as well. Both have shown and are showing us ways to true Christian humility, which I believe is all the better to demonstrate the different ways in which all of us, with our varied backgrounds and personal tastes, can become more humble.

Ken said...

I was surprised to see this column written by a priest. WOW. Thank you, Father... No fear! I was a seminarian years ago when then Archbishop Mahony came for a visit. After his lengthly speech, we all looked at one another dazed and confused. What did he say? Nobody really understood what this man was talking about. He coined the nickname Archbishop Ambiguity. He walked the halls like a celebrity and made certain that his VIP (very important person) status was recognized. Some time later he was made a cardinal and many of us were surprised and I believe that this was the beginning of the "scandalous decade of the nineties". In my opinion, Pope Benedict fell on the sword in order to rid the church of these types that have facilitated incredible damage. Let us pray that Pope Francis spends a lot of time in the garden just behind the great Dome of St. Peter's.. there reside a truly humble man with the skinny on who's who.. may the broom begin to sweep out the dirt and filth. Cardinal Mahony is like the Clintons.. they just won't go away. Lord have mercy!

Anonymous said...

Mother Angelica was always right.

Anonymous said...

Father, this is not OK. Jesus asked us to be better than this. I look at the headlines and see all the agression and the violence and all the ways human beings hurt other human beings-and for what? Why hurt people? Why hate people? It's pointless and it offends God.

Anonymous said...

Naysayers don't realize that the Holy Spirit guides the selection of our Pope because different times require men of different styles and talents. God bless Pope Francis and our retired Pope Benedict!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. Father. I guess the Cardinal wants to show just how much of a 'regular guy" he is. His comments remind me of the scene in the Chronicles of Narnia where Aslan is attacked by weak and unworthy foes and chooses not to defend himself. Nobility and honor; so poignant, so rare!

Ella M.

Nandarani said...

Wow! I am exploring around your blog.site. "I love your frankness!" - which so far is permeating everything I've read through. Yippee. Here's someone who has known he wanted to serve as a priest since 7 years old, and he is speaking his mind without reservation. I found a picture of you with a gray cat, and wondered what his/her name is. Perhaps I will find it.

Edmund Yap said...

Thank you for this. It is really a breath of fresh air knowing that you and many others around are there to defend for what's right and true

Cindy Dy said...

You have a wonderful blog. This is really worth to read and it helps a lot of people to learn new information. Please keep on posting. Thank you.

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