Does Pope Francis think that young people who want Traditional Latin Mass are rigid, defensive, insecure?

I’ve been on the road for a couple days, so I’m just now getting to this.

From LifeSite [with my emphases and comments]:

Pope Francis on the young who like Latin Mass: ‘Why so much rigidity?’



On second thought, I’m not going to put time and energy into this.

I would only ask the following of any Latin Church priest, of any ecclesiastical rank or role, who refuses to learn, or to use, the older, traditional Roman Rite:

Why the rigidity?

If young people are somehow defective in the matter of “love” because they want the older, traditional forms, then, by all means, show us how to be flexibly loving.

I have maintained for years, and still maintain, that Summorum Pontificum was one of the most important things that has happened in the Church in a long time.  It was certainly one of the most important moves of Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

No effort of renewal in the Church will succeed without a revitalization of our sacred liturgical worship.  Use of the traditional forms is key to such a revitalization.

We need more and more and more celebrations of the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite.   Let’s make that happen.

The moderation queue is definitely ON.

PS: Fr. Hunwicke has some good comments.   HERE  I liked this one in particular:

This is splendid: an authoritative declaration that the word “extraordinary” means “exceptional”. Let us hope that an appropriate Authority very soon makes it clear that the employment of “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” must only ever be a tremendously rare “exception”. Perhaps a simple rule such as this would suffice: “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion may only be used in parishes in which there is at least one Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form.” Could anything be more equitable than that? Anything more ad mentem Summi Pontificis?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. JMody says:

    “… or even something else”. I would say “guilt” would fit the pattern of speech, even though this is a translation — rigidity is driven by insecurity or guilt. Still praying for him.

  2. capebretoner says:

    I think rigidity has been confused with stability. In these days of chaos, confusion & darkness, who wouldn’t be attracted to something which is extraordinary, beautiful, orderly & proven to be stable over centuries?

  3. CalvinistConvert says:

    Forgive me for being dense or misunderstanding the word “rigid” …but which is more rigid?…allowing only ONE form of liturgy ….or allowing BOTH forms of liturgy?

  4. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    IMHO, three great mistakes of Benedict:

    Not designationg the N.O. as the E.F. and the V.O. as the O.F.


    Not becoming “Cardinal Ratzinger” again.

  5. Benedict Joseph says:

    When rendered speechless a moderation queue is hardly necessary.
    Nevertheless, it does lead one to wonder what exactly is the purpose of the talks between Rome and Econe? Indeed, what is the purpose of such statements in the first place? What perspective on the reality in which we live is actually operative here and what are its foundations?

  6. Huber says:

    When we hear things like the “rigidity” of those who a prefer quiet, contemplative, and reverential tradition compared to an instrument filled jamboree where participation means making the most noise, doing the most stuff, or shaking the most hands, I’m left wondering where this Pope gets his inspiration from (or if he has any).

    Then I read things like and I think Pope Tepidus has left the reservation entirely.

    Well… God help him, and God help the souls that may be easily led astray.

  7. MrsMacD says:

    Who says,”I like rigidity!”(?).
    I like beauty, constancy, predictability, order. I like reverence, focus, generosity, prayer. I like having my heart lifted to the threshold of heaven. I like to praise Him, to thank Him, to ask pardon, to beg graces and mercies and all good things. I love being inspired to be a greater person, to love more, to give more, to hope more, to boundless joy in the service of the ever living God. I love the way the old liturgy gives supports to my frail and fallen nature. I am so weak and He is so strong!

    But I make crazy sacrifices so that I can have rigidity? Sheesh.

  8. MrTipsNZ says:

    Oh I dunno…..Pope Francis was (rightly) pretty rigid in slamming the door shut on woman’s ordination recently. Although, it may depend on what your definition of “rigid is”, is.

    Latino heart on sleeve stuff really.

  9. Clinton R. says:

    “This prayer survived the scissor and paste-pot wielding liturgical experts who, under the aegis of the late Fr. Annibale Bugnini, revised and shuffled the ancient prayers for the Novus Ordo.”

    As Father notes this in his post about the 6th Sunday of Pentecost, it is no wonder why some many “rigid” Catholics love the Mass of All Ages. Those sweet, beautiful prayers in Latin that Bugnini and the modernists loathed, are the supplications that were made my so many saints over the centuries. This Mass should never have been reduced to being a “Extraordinary” form. It should always be THE form of the Latin Rite. True rigidity is found in those who would wish the Church to divorce herself from pre-Vatican traditions, teaching and practice and instead embrace the “spirit” of the Second Vatican Council with all of its ambiguity and seemingly endless novelties.

    One is drawn to the beauty of the TLM, as we find nothing like it on earth. It is our closest glimpse of the divine this side of Heaven. My hope is, that somewhere a young man is assisting at a TLM and said young man one day will be pope and restore it as the normative form throughout the Church.

  10. Geoffrey says:

    The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is a legal reality. I am far more concerned with this quote from the Holy Father: “To speak of the ‘reform of the reform’ is a mistake”.

  11. Lucas Whittaker says:

    It seems that the essential point regarding younger persons attending the Traditional form of worship is that they are seeking something that cannot be found in the Ordinary form. The essential question, then, is: “What have they found that so attaches them?” Sacred scripture tells us that we cannot judge the intention of another, what is in his heart (by calling or applying names). But we could speak to beauty having a correct form. As well as speaking about the intrinsic value of appropriate liturgical silence. The answers in the LifeSite interview given by young people and groups seem to speak to answers such as these latter two that I mention.

  12. Unwilling says:

    The NO ought never to have become. Renewal in the Church will succeed only in a spirit of obedience. The chimera of “choice” enforces an unasked for and unhealthy dis-obedience — it debases religious piety as it does maternal love (for the unborn). The unchanging nature of God was readily seen in the T forms of public worship. Logically, the indispensable value is eternity over space and time. But historically, perhaps, use of the T forms is the only actually available key to revitalization.

  13. If the Holy Father sincerely wishes to know why some young people are attracted to the EF why doesn’t he invite Juventutem to Rome and ask them? Great opportunity for dialogue.

  14. Sonshine135 says:

    The newer form of the Mass is what is rigid……You have to stand here, kneel here, sit here….say this, do that…

    The older form had no such mandatory participation. So, with an informed intellect, I must also state unequivocally that the newer form of the Mass is much more rigid than the older form.

  15. Fr Mark Elliott Smith says:

    I regularly sing a Missa Cantata for a group of young Catholics who, in my opinion are the least rigid, most joyous people I know. No defensiveness, no rigidity. Just commitment and a deep desire to know and love God.

  16. WesleyD says:

    If the pope believes that a certain group within the Church are rigid and have psychological issues, shouldn’t he address that group directly? Wouldn’t that be the “pastoral” response? Instead, he talks about this group’s (alleged) problems in a public interview.

    I don’t think he’s right about all the young Catholics who love the TLM. But even if he were, his response to their “problem” seems inappropriate.

    Let us pray for him, always remembering that he is our Holy Father.

    My child, help your father in his old age,
    and do not grieve him as long as he lives;
    even if his mind fails, be patient with him;
    because you have all your faculties do not despise him.
    For kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
    and will be credited to you against your sins.
    – Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 3:12-14

  17. JabbaPapa says:

    An internet denizen I respect has suggested that the Pope’s words have been distorted by means of hatchet-job quotation.


    Looking into it, here for example –

    … it is clear that some degree of dishonest quote-mongery is going on.

    Two separate quotes have been placed together to provide a false impression.

    1) “Cerco sempre di capire cosa c’è dietro le persone che sono troppo giovani per aver vissuto la liturgia preconciliare e ancora la vogliono

    (I always seek to understand what’s behind people who are to young to have experienced the pre-conciliar Liturgy and still want it.)

    2) “A volte mi sono trovato di fronte ad una persona molto rigorosa, con un atteggiamento di rigidità e sono chiesto… Perché tanta rigidità? Scava, scava, questa rigidità nasconde sempre qualcosa, insicurezza o anche qualcos’altro : la rigidità sta sulla difensiva, il vero amore non è rigido

    (Sometimes I’ve found myself in front of people who are too strict, who have a rigid attitude. And I wonder: How come such a rigidity? Dig, dig, this rigidity always hides something: insecurity, sometimes even more … Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid)

    Taken separately, there’s not much shocking in either quote.

    But smash them together as if they were contiguous, and bam, yet another lie emerges about the Pope from the more extremist Pope-bashers of these interwebs.

  18. Kerry says:

    Antonyms of rigid, rigidity: flexible, lax, loose, relaxed, slack.
    But Wait! There’s more: neglectful, negligent, remiss, slipshod, sloppy, slovenly, unfussy.
    This chair maker wants his joints fitted tight, and rigid, to the 64th of an inch, lest the gravity win.

  19. gracie says:

    It’s of a piece with when he pulled apart the hands of the altar boy.

  20. thomas tucker says:

    I would add a fourth mistake to Father Fitzpatrick’s list: not publicly celebrating the TLM. And a fifth: not mandating ad orientem celebration in all forms.

  21. Andrew says:

    Priests should accompany those who are rigid, meet them where they are, and show them mercy.

  22. LDP says:

    The Pope is obviously entitled to have certain opinions; I am also entitled to have certain opinions.

    To elucidate my opinion, I – a relatively young man myself – will be attending my first ever Extraordinary Form (Low) Mass later this month and am very much looking forward to it.

    On a side note, ‘LifeSiteNews’ also has a new petition out encouraging the President-elect to honour his pro-life pledges and gives anyone who signs the option – for the cost of $2 – to send Mr. Trump a personalised postcard reminding him of his obligations. I won’t give the link as I know Fr. Z isn’t too fond of that, but some here might be interested to sign it.

  23. Kyle says:

    Wouldn’t the correct questions for the Holy Father to ask be: “What are these young people searching for that they aren’t getting in the Novus Ordo and why aren’t they getting it?” or “If our youth are telling us that they want reverence and dignity in the Mass, shouldn’t we make sure that they can find it in the ordinary form as well as the EF?”

  24. donato2 says:

    Pope Francis obviously does not understand, much less appreciate, the spirituality of the traditional Mass. [It is probable that His Holiness filters a great deal through his Jesuit lenses.] This is hardly surprising given that he is a liberal and modernist. The spirituality of the traditional Mass is profoundly contrary to the spirit of liberalism and modernism. The Pope’s comment concerning rigidity is also consistent with the way liberals and modernists argue (which in turn derives from how they conceptualize the world). It is characteristic of liberal modernists to employ psychology (which ultimately amounts to nothing more than an ad hominem attack) rather than reason to counter those with whom they disagree and to have an antipathy to tradition.

    Personally, I lost faith in the “reform or the reform” long ago and thus I am not sorry to see the Pope reject it. The new Mass constitutes a massive Protestantization of the Catholic Mass. Flannery O’Connor wrote something to the effect that Protestantism is inherently unstable and ultimately resolves either into atheism or Catholicism. The same principle is at work with the new Mass. Insofar as the new Mass differs from the traditional Mass, the new Mass is Protestant in nature and ultimately, albeit probably not in our lifetime, will either disappear or resolve into the traditional Mass.

  25. frjim4321 says:

    Just my two cents, but I suspect that young people are drawn to a particular Eucharistic celebration,[Can we please call it “Mass”?] whether it be of the unreformed style or the reformed style, on the basis of the authenticity of the presider; not to mention his kindness, spirituality and generosity. My aversion to the unreformed style probably has more to do with the unkindness of people who advocated for it during my formative years than anything inherent in the style itself. I suspect if my experience at that age had been more positive I would have a different outlook at this point. [Perhaps you should start saying the old Mass and meet some of the people involved now.]

    [Happily, with the older form of Mass, the traditional Roman Rite, the priest doesn’t have the chance to impose himself, his own personality, to such a great extent. Mass isn’t about him.]

  26. Curley says:

    I’m getting so frustrated with this stuff. Why didn’t the interviewer just say, “Holy Father, could you please discourage some of the most faithful young people in the church?” I guess his willingness to dialogue goes so far. It’s not really hard to see why young people are attracted to tradition. Just ask Cardinal Sarah, I’m sure he could articulate it charitably.

  27. Joseph-Mary says:

    I think the rest of the comment was not only about being rigid but hiding something evil….can you believe that! Totally on the wrong track with such comments and the dear reverent young people that I know who prefer the Mass of the Ages are a delight.

  28. jhayes says:

    JabbaPapa, the article you quote is an Italian translation of the original English language article in LifeSite News.

    Here is Rorate’s English translation directly from Fr. Spadaro’s original Italian. Notice that the Pope’s statement is continuous, not assembled out of two pieces.

    [Pope:] “Pope Benedict accomplished a just and magnanimous gesture [translator’s note: the motu proprio ‘Summorum Pontificum’] to reach out to a certain mindset of some groups and persons who felt nostalgia and were distancing themselves. [NO. It was NOT for nostalgia! This is the premise that must be denied.] But it is an exception. That is why one speaks of an ‘extraordinary’ rite. The ordinary in the Church is not this. It is necessary to approach with magnanimity those attached to a certain form of prayer. But the ordinary is not this. Vatican II and Sacrosanctum Concilium must go on as they are. To speak of a ‘reform of the reform’ is an error.[This is another problem. Sacrosanct Concilium called for only a few things and made sure also to require that nothing done be a break with tradition and that it had really to correspond to a good. It also clearly prescribed the continuation of Latin, etc.]

    I ask him: “Other than those who are sincere and ask for this possibility out of habit or devotion, can this desire express something else? Are there dangers?”

    [Pope:] “I ask myself about this. For example, I always try to understand what is behind those individuals who are too young to have lived the pre-Conciliar liturgy, and who want it nonetheless. I have at times found myself in front of people who are too rigid, an attitude of rigidity. And I ask myself: how come so much rigidity? You dig, you dig, this rigidity always hides something: insecurity, at times perhaps something else… [sic] The rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.

    I insist: what about tradition? Some understand it in a rigid way.

    [Pope:] “But no: tradition blooms!” he responds. “There is a Traditionalism that is a rigid fundamentalism: it is not good. Faithfulness instead implies a growth. Tradition, in the transmission from one age to the next of the deposit of the faith, grows and consolidates with the passage of time, as Saint Vincent of Lérins said in his Commonitorium Primum. I read it always in my breviary: ‘Ita etiam christianae religionis dogma sequatur has decet profectuum leges, ut annis scilicet consolidetur, dilatetur tempore, sublimetur aetate’ (Also the dogma of the Christian religion must follow these laws. It progresses, consolidating with the years, developing with time, deepening with the age.)”


  29. pseudomodo says:

    Deepak Chopra: All belief is a cover-up for insecurity

    Questioner: do you believe that?

    Chopra: Yes I do

    Questioner: thank you!

  30. albinus1 says:

    A poster on another blog that I read remarked, in regard to this latest remark by Pope Francis, that he (the poster) is grateful to Pope Pius IX for defining explicitly the doctrine of papal infallibility, because now we know exactly when to regard a statement by the pope as infallible — and when not to. ;-)

  31. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Your Italian article translates one it links at LifeSiteNews which links to one at which refers to one in Crux without providing a link. I suppose it’s this:

    Have you been able to see the interview in “In Your Eyes is my Word [which] is currently only available in Italian”, to check the quotations and how they are situated?

    MrsMacD asks, “Who says,’I like rigidity!'(?).” My Italian is so bad I’m always looking things up in dictionaries: the one to hand gives ‘austero’ and ‘severo’ as synonyms and glosses each of them as ‘earnest’. Well, I like earnest things – and, in English I like things that are stylistically ‘austere’ and ‘severe’. I could image those terms applied in praise to “the pre-conciliar liturgy”, but pretty equally to the NO. But that does not seem to fit what is being quoted!

    And what of the Swiss Guard? My dictionary supplies ‘rigido sull’attenti’ glossed with reference to standing at attention!

  32. Aegidius says:

    If there is a young TLM attendant truly seeking God, I mean, who am I to judge?

  33. JabbaPapa says:

    Thanks jhayes

    The fuller quote does not change my analysis.

    His remark about “rigidity” is in answer to : I ask him: “Other than those who are sincere and ask for this possibility out of habit or devotion, can this desire express something else? Are there dangers?”

    So the “rigidity” comment is in response to a question about potential misuses and abuses and “dangers” in some cases of people who may NOT be sincere and devout.

    Pope Benedict XVI also condemned in Summorum Pontificum and its explanatory notice the misuse of the TLM by some groups to express opposition to Vatican II etc.

    To misuse the Mass politically in this manner is a Liturgical Abuse, whether it’s a misuse of the TLM to express rejection of Vatican II, or a misuse of the NO to express some sort of whacko “spirit of the council” rejection of Tradition towards opposite “liberal”-“progressive” extremes.

    The one thing I definitely disagree with is the Pope’s opinion that the attraction of the TLM is from “nostalgia” ; but then to be perfectly fair, Pope Francis told Father Spadaro he wonders why some young people, who were not raised with the old Latin Mass, nevertheless prefer it. He’s basically admitting that he’s unsure about why this is, which is at least honest, so the fact that the only reason he has come up with, “nostalgia”, probably shouldn’t be viewed too seriously. He’s just wrong IMO in some detail of his personal opinions on the question.

    As for calling the ‘reform of the reform’ an “error”, Pope Benedict disliked that phrase too ; I looked for the exact quote yesterday and couldn’t find it, but Fr Lombardi recently reiterated the same point the Pope Emeritus made, suggesting that “it is better to avoid using the expression ‘the reform of the reform’, in referring to the liturgy, since it can at times be a source of misunderstandings”.

  34. rwj says:

    I think the Holy Father has finally convinced me to go to the periphery he has created and learn to say the Extraordinary from of the Mass.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  35. Suburbanbanshee says:

    First of all, the title of the book is “Nei tuoi occhi è la mia parola”: Omelie e discorsi di Buenos Aires 1999-2013. In other words, this isn’t papal opinions; it’s bishop opinions.

    Second, we all know that Bishop/Cardinal Bergoglio thought that all traditionalists were represented by (now-ex) SSPX Bishop Williamson, who is a person who tended to go out of his way to be annoying and to say crazy unhistorical things, and who was also not from Argentina by birth or culture. So it would seem likely that all his remarks are based on his experience of Williamson and his close crew, or rather his shying away from Williamson and Co. In any case, however, the “discorsi” are at least three years old.

    Third, all public speakers and even priests sometimes say silly things they haven’t thought out, often just repeating something they’ve heard.

    Remember a few years back, when it was suddenly the thing to condemn introverted behavior as antisocial and evil? People went from saying, “Well, yeah, Catholics should proclaim the Gospel,” to having one local priest here imply that unless you participated in the evangelistic activities of the parish, you were not Catholic and couldn’t be saved. But when confronted, he was all sorry and apologetic, because obviously he hadn’t meant what he said — he just got all wound up and said stuff without thinking. (And he’s a much more thoughtful preacher now about what he implies, so there’s a silver lining.)

    Even if someone’s a bishop, I don’t feel obliged to take their every word as a teaching. Bishops going to the bathroom are not performing liturgical actions, and bishops yakking idly are not trying to invoke the magisterium of the Church.

  36. Fr_Sotelo says:

    This is part and parcel of how many of the elderly Hispanic priests speak to people. Blunt. Not very sensitive. Speaking from their personal experience, which is as rigid as the rigidity they reject. It is culturally a no-brainer for someone like me raised with Mexican grandfathers. But I think Francis needs to realize that culturally, his way of commenting isn’t making a translation to “the other side.”

    If one deals with a certain group of traditional Catholics, a certain mindset, one can easily walk away with a bitter taste in their mouth, and see rigidity and inability to deal with a Tradition which grows, deepens in understanding, and provides vigor for the present age. On the internet and social networks, this type of Catholic is especially nasty, sarcastic and unbending.

    But if Pope Francis takes the time to visit and interact with a traditional parish, he will be pleasantly surprised to see that that the stereotypes fall, and that traditional youth are a great hope and blessing to the Church.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  37. robtbrown says:

    this rigidity always hides something: insecurity, at times perhaps something else… [sic] The rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.

    1. I wonder whether the pope is aware of the maxim of psychological projection: What Peter says about Paul says more about Peter than it does about Paul.

    2. I have to hand it to the pope. He has been able to offend almost every faithful Catholic in the world.

    3. I do think, however, that if he is beatified, he’ll be the Patron of Straw Men.

  38. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Yes, many thanks!


    Everything I’ve read suggests this is a new interview prefacing the book, so by (to borrow a locution) ‘ The Bishop of Rome’ at least a couple years into that ‘ bishopric’ – but, have you seen specific details about it to date the interview pre-Pontificate?


    “I always try to understand what is behind those individuals who are too young to have lived the pre-Conciliar liturgy, and who want it nonetheless” seems to me to open abysms of oddity. How could someone who is bi-ritual himself say such a thing – or was he bi-ritual from immemorial infancy? Even should that be so, though, it seems to assume a complete lack of depth, of breadth, of interest as some sort of ‘ norm’: bizarre!

    Fr. Spadero’s ‘leading’ question does indeed seem to assume the same perspective quite uncritically (“habit” – and “devotion” presumably based upon that), while leaping with unhealthy suspicion to interject “dangers” as the only possible alternative – which is taken up equally uncritically in this response.

    There may be some kind of transition from “individuals who are too young” to “people who are too rigid”, but again only a grotesquely uncritical, unimaginative approach is displayed – as robtbrown suggests, a rigorous manifestation of a most grievous rigidity of approach.

  39. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Meanwhile, Edward Pentin addresses something I’d been wondering, about an even more recent interview:

  40. spock says:

    Why the rigidity ?

    How about “I wish to have a liturgy that more closely resembles the liturgy of our Eastern brothers than the Protestants.”


    At one point the Holy Father’s was against a clericalization of the laity. Would not EMC’S constitute clericalization of the laity ?

  41. Pingback: MONDAY EDITION | Big Pulpit

  42. PTK_70 says:

    Thanks for your honesty, frjim4321. I hope you’ll give the Missal of 1962 and/or the ‘versus cum populo’ posture another look.

  43. christopherschaefer says:

    Pope Francis: “Rigidity is defensive.” Correct: it defends the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church and does not bend, distort or disguise Her teachings to be “pastoral”, “to create dialogue” or to “accommodate” an increasingly depraved secular culture.
    “True love is not rigid.” Correct again: authentic love for Christ, His Church and the one, true Faith recognizes and humbly admits errors, then seeks to correct them—for example, the extraordinary destruction wrought upon the Church by the 1960s innovations: massive decline in Mass attendance, on-going exodus of 80% of young adults from the Church, closure of parishes and seminaries.
    Ironically, those Eastern Churches which never abandoned their ancient rites, such as the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, understand better than modern-day “Latin Rite” aka Roman Rite Catholics that ancient Latin maxim ‘Lex orandi, lex credendi’.

  44. OldLady says:

    In seeking to go through the Holy Doors we attended a Mass in a large old beautiful church unknown to us. Traditional building inside and out, ornate and amazing. But the tabernacle was off to the side in a darkened alcove while the priest was lit up front and center stage facing the people. To say the priest was hamming it up is an under statement. The entire sermon, at least a half hour, was about politics and personal experience of the priest. Nothing about the Gospel. The music during Communion was screeching and so loud I could not concentrate on Our Lord. I felt as if I were at a Broadway production. We never went through the Holy Doors and I left feeling sad. I kept thinking that this church has Holy Doors and it feels anything but Holy to me. This experience is helping me to understand how deeply secular culture has invaded the Church. The issue of importance is not rigidity but laxity. Rules are generally enacted for the common good. But God’s commandments are not laws of man and they are rather rigid. Forgiveness is meant to lead us back to God. But one has to know what the boundaries are to recognize when we need forgiveness. If that is rigidity, so be it. God should be front and center, not man. In the Latin Mass there is no question that God is the center of our adoration.

  45. robtbrown says:

    Fr_Sotelo says:

    This is part and parcel of how many of the elderly Hispanic priests speak to people. Blunt. Not very sensitive. Speaking from their personal experience, which is as rigid as the rigidity they reject. It is culturally a no-brainer for someone like me raised with Mexican grandfathers. But I think Francis needs to realize that culturally, his way of commenting isn’t making a translation to “the other side.”

    Good stuff, Padre, but I wonder whether we’re just seeing he’s a Jesuit

    I lived with Argentinians in Rome Good guys, and some became very good friends (one invited me to his episcopal consecration). I still keep in touch with a few of them. Two lay philosophy profs, the rest priests. I also had an Argentinian student at the FSSP seminary, who is now a priest.

    Argentinians are probably more European than Latin American–at the very least, they consider themselves so. Argentina was not involved in WWII and was still prosperous afterwards. Over 65% has French or Italian heritage. It also has a heavy Jewish population.

    IMHO, the comments from Francis are a function of coming 1) From a Jesuit, 2) From a nation where the Church is still pretty strong, and 3) From a nation that is to a certain extent not an active participant in post modern culture.

    1) There is only one Jesuit superior who is chosen democratically–the Black Pope. All the other positions are filled from the top, unlike, say, the Dominicans who chose their provincials and priors democratically.

    Perhaps even more important, Jesuit spirituality is highly individualistic. They are formed to have unusual self confidence And at morning prayer (NOT the Breviary) a Jesuit seeks to find what God wants for him to do that day. This produces very strong, very active priests capable of doing great things. There is the heroism of Isaac Jogues and the remarkable achievements of Fr Fessio, who alone started both Ignatius Press and the Ignatius Institute. It also can produce autocrats who overvalue their own personal opinions.

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