The set decorator priests

I once kidded a highly placed bishop for picking up his own phone. He laughed and proceeded to needle me about a column I had written about how out of touch the JP2 bishops were.They appeared, and still do, like ghost figures whose life styles hardly embraced the human condition.In particular in the column the bishop alluded to, i jokingly said that you’ll know when the Parousia (end times) is arriving: you are at a jazz club and you look across the room and you see a bishop! Never happens in my experience. Early to bed early to rise and you never meet the regular guys.

40 years ago i wrote another article(in the flush of the great Vatican ll glow, that until you can tell a bishop to eff off, he wasn’t worth bothering about.
The Catholci people have had their fill of the “set decorator priests” as Eugene Kennedy once called them, all part of the princely past of hierarchical Catholicism. Kennedy quipped,”If they build the people will come.” Well they did build it and the people left because these wax dummies were so divorced from everyday life.Kennedy further stated, ”they share a bristling confidence that they are the defenders of the faith out to rid the Church of Vatican ll heresies… a new generation of true believers whose zeal for their father’s house earns them places of honour in the new restoration.” Those days are long gone when people slobber over an episcopal ring, refer to “You excellency” and worst of all, ignore your heartfelt letters because you disagree with them.

I used to meet a beautiful priest regularly in his day off. He was the real deal, had gone to Latin America, seen another reality, actually read critical books on the church.He had had it with the local bishop, a real piece of the Canadian shield and told me he was leaving. I never tried to convince him otherwise but really hoped he would stay, because he was authentic. 6 months later I ran into him—and he was back!
What happened?
He lived in his brother’s basement apartment, saw the struggle his bro had with his young family, contrasted it with his own privileged life and he came back to earth—still on the job.

Which brings me to the new archbishop of Newark, Joe Tobin .Next time.



1 Comment »

  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    Bring it on Ted! Bring it on!
    Dear Cardinal Collins,
    Why do you continue to ignore all calls for the highest level of excommunication for Ted Schmidt? Surely you see this man as an impediment to your continued prosperity yet do nothing about it. There is no Donald Trump available to replace Francis but you do have the power to remove this nastiness with the flick of the mouse. Git her done! Get the Ted gone lest he do you more damage!

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