The papal sweeps: don’t be collared!



One of the first rules of thumb regarding commentators on the papal election is to take anything a cleric says with a massive grain of salt. The reason is simple.Clerics have too much invested in the male patriarchal system to generally tell the truth.They  know there will be a steep price to pay for any criticism, no matter how harmess it may appear. Those who appear on TV with their Roman collars firmly in place will be sycophants jockeying for favour in the ecllesial system. They will off er up pure boiler plate, praise the Pontiff to the skies and never allude to the elephants in the living room. the terrible shape the Roman church is and how inffectual the reign of Benedict has been.They are  very sad people and have little respect among the knowledgeable  inside and outside the Church.

Lay people and ordinary church folk  would be astounded and disgusted if they knew how absolutely cruel some of these bishops have acted and will act.



Many priests  of course will freely speak “off camera”.They know all too well how “the system” works and keep their own counsel but privately are not shy about the disgust they feel about their bishops. As one priest said to  me about a bishop, “The boys are onto him.” They know their boss has been chosen for his slavish obedience to Rome—but not to Jesus and the reign of God. Most are an uninspiring lot, “grey men” as the theologian Richard McBrien has called them.

The priests  are intelligent men, many good pastors  and often are quite critical of the restorationist reign of Josef Ratzinger. This they will never say this  for public consumption. Their jobs are literally at stake.

They scan the Church news and know what happens to those who dare break  ranks (Roy Bourgeois, Tony Flannery ) with the official line–NO WOMEN PRIEST, NO CHANGE IN CELIBACY–They keep their heads down and “tend to their flocks” as best they can. They can be wickedly funny and almost cynical about the games being played.

So, first rule about any “Pope show”— See a clerical caller. Change the channel.


1 Comment »

  1. 1
    Elizabeth Whelan Says:

    Nice Ted. Too bad it’s true!


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