During his daily off-the-cuff, non-magisterial sermonette today, Pope Francis spoke about priests. And he didn’t bash them! In fact, as a refreshing change of pace today, he said some good things about priests.
“On the contrary, it is impossible to understand – not only – it is impossible to explain how the Church could continue under merely human strength. This diocese goes forward because it has a holy people, many things, and also an anointed one who leads, who helps it to grow. This parish progresses because it has many organizations, many things, but it also has a priest, who carries the parish forward. We in history know but a small part – though how many holy bishops, how many priests, how many holy priests have given their lives in the service of the diocese, the parish – how many people have received the power of faith, the power of love, hope [itself] from these anonymous pastors? We do not know: there are so many.”
They are many, explained Pope Francis, “The parish priests of the country or the city, who, with their anointing have given strength the people, who have passed on the teaching of the faith, have given the sacraments: [in a word], holiness.”:
“‘But , Father, I have read in a newspaper that a bishop has done such a thing, or a priest who has done this thing.’ [He is talking about bad and criminal things here.] Oh yes, I read it, too. Tell me, though: [NB] do the papers carry news of what great charity so many priests, so many priests in so many parishes of the city and the countryside, perform? Of the great work they do in carrying their people forward? No? This is not news. [And now for the Francisism] It is the same as always: a single falling tree makes more noise than a forest that grows. Today, thinking about this anointing of David, it will do us good to think of our brave, holy , good , faithful bishops and priests, and pray for them. We are here today thanks to them.”
Maybe some feedback is getting through to him.
I wonder if Pope Francis will write a letter to priests for Holy Thursday. Last year it was, of course, not possible, since his election was so close to Holy Week.
Pray for your bishops and your priests… and your seminarians.