The ubiquitous Jesuit Antonio Spadaro is perhaps Francis’ closest adviser and gopher. He is, among other, editor of La Civilta Cattolica and the administrator on his personal website, antoniospadaro.net, of a page dedicated to the homoerotic writer Pier Vittorio Tondelli.
Spadaro gave to historically anti-Catholic La Repubblica an excerpt of a transcript of a private, closed door meeting that Francis had with Jesuits during his trip to Maputo, Mozambique. HERE
Since Spadaro chose to include this section in the brief excerpt given to the Communist founded La Repubblica, it must be so important that Spadaro thinks no one should miss it.
Since it is so very important, I feel the need to share it with you, especially, my brother priests who read here. My translation and emphases and comments.
Q: How can we avoid falling into clericalism during the formation of priestly ministry?
Francis: “Clericalism is a true perversion in the Church. It demands that the pastor be always at the fore, establish a course, and punish with excommunication those who move away from the flock. In sum: it is precisely opposed to what Jesus did. Clericalism condemns , separates, beats, despises the people of God. Clericalism confuses priestly [presbiterale] ‘service’ with the priestly ‘power’. Clericalism is climbing and supremacy. In Italian it is called ‘arrampicamento’ [that’s not standard Italian, but it is clearly from arrampicare, which pertains to climbing, like in mountain climbing or cycling]. Clericalism is a direct consequence rigidity. [!] Have you ever seen young priests all rigid in a black cassock and hats in the shape of the planet Saturn on their heads? [One nickname for the Roman clerical hat in Rome is “il saturno”, along with “padella… frying pan”] There are serious problems behind all this rigid clericalism. One of the dimensions of clericalism is the exclusive [?] moral fixation on the Sixth Commandment. A Jesuit once told me to be careful in giving absolution, [?] because the most serious sins are those that have a greater ‘angelic’ character: pride, arrogance, dominion. [actually fallen angel, hence, demonic!] Those which are less angelic, such as gluttony and lust. We focus on sex and then we don’t give weight to social injustice, to slander, to gossip, to lies .”
A few comments.
First, since angels have no bodies, they do not have appetites as we do and their fall didn’t result from carnal sins. The sins of the fallen angels would have been of a higher (and therefore graver) order, such as pride. Among the sins that humans can commit, there are grave sins which are more of the lower, fleshy, order and those of a higher, spiritual, order. Pride, vicious thoughts about others, lying, are in general worse than gluttony or lust. However, whether they are more spiritual or more carnal, both can be MORTAL. There isn’t partly or sort of mortal sin. A lesser grave sin is, by definition, still a grave sin.
Also, as any priest knows who has heard confessions for a long time, true sins of that higher order, such as true pride and true malice, deeply rooted propensity to deceive, are by comparison rarer. Sure, people can commit sins of the graver spiritual order occasionally. Sins of the flesh are more common. And they are dangerous. While sins of the more angelic/demonic character are graver, those of the lower order, provided that they are of full consent, etc., are nevertheless enough to merit separation from God. They are still mortal sins.
Moreover, as spiritual writers are consistent in warning, one sin leads to another, one kind of sin can weaken one so that it is easier to sin more gravely. For example, there is a classic connection leading from gluttony to lust, not just acts of lust with the body, but objectifying people in the mind and imagination. If you don’t say no to one basic appetite, you won’t say no to another. Those carnal sins can lead to dire spiritual sins, such despair, presumption, deceit, etc.
Above, we read: “We focus on sex and then we don’t give weight to social injustice, to slander, to gossip, to lies.” And earlier: “…exclusive moral fixation on the Sixth Commandment.”
Still, of course we focus on sex! We don’t focus only on sex. We focus on sexual sins because they are a) common, b) gateway sins, and c) enough to get you damned.
People tend to die the way they lived. If we strongly habituate ourselves in this life to goods that are less than God, goods which take us away from the ultimate and highest good which is God (which is what we do in a mortal sin), then we will lock on to those goods. That will result in separation from God and hell.
So, of course the diligent priest is going to focus on the Sixth Commandment. It is, after all, not a Commandment with an asterisk… as if God said, “Here are 10 Commandments, but … wink wink … this one… well, you know.”
I don’t want to go to Hell for not attending also to preaching on sins against the Sixth Commandment. False mercy will get you to Hell just as efficiently as true mercy, founded in charity.
Also, I want to underscore the line of thought.
Francis went from judging an outward appearance, cassock and hats, to an assertion that, someone who looks unusual to him, must be psychologically ill. But then he brings in demons and their sin. People like this are crazy and maybe like demons.
Does that seem right to you? That’s strike me as smacking of the very things that Francis mentions negatively at the end of the excerpt: it is unjust, calumnious, and – since it was in a small private meeting and not in front of microphones and camera – it smacks of gossip.
And this is what Jesuit Antonio (2+2=5) Spadaro urgently wanted everyone to know, via the historically anti-Catholic La Repubblica.
I am sure that my brother priests have been deeply moved by these remarks. I trust they will take action.