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‘Clericalism is a very ugly thing,’ Pope says

December 13, 2016

Pope Francis warned priests against clericalism once again, in his homily at a morning Mass on December 13.

The Pontiff contrasted the humble faith of repentant sinners with the arrogance of “intellectuals of religion.” He reminded his congregation that Jesus was judged and condemned by the high priests and elders. “With the law they themselves had made—intellectualistic, sophisticated, casuistic—they cancelled the Law the Lord had made.”

Today, the Pope continued, the same attitudes are evident in clerics who ignore or disdain “the humble and poor people who trust in the Lord.” He denounced priests who “feel they are superior,” and do not devote themselves to those who are in need.

“The evil of clericalism is a very ugly thing,” Pope Francis said. He said that priests especially should be mindful of how Jesus served the poor and reached out to sinners.


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  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Dec. 14, 2016 2:32 PM ET USA

    Clericalism is ot the Priest's problem so much as the layman's. I do not know, nor I have I ever known a priest who felt superior. It is we lay people who have not learned our own dignity and calling to holiness. We should stop beating the horse that is pulling the load.

  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Dec. 14, 2016 1:49 PM ET USA

    Has he no sense of irony?

  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 14, 2016 10:16 AM ET USA

    Pope's native Argentina has a caste-divided society that is open to disdain for the poor. Those divisions are generally unknown in the Western civilization, but I imagine places in the larger Catholic world, where this sort of teaching for the clergy would be relevant and needed.

  • Posted by: claude-ccc2991 - Dec. 14, 2016 3:28 AM ET USA

    He who engages in an esoteric monologue makes himself one of these "intellectuals of religion". Another example of aimless boomerang prolixity that misses the mark only to swing around and hit the speaker: "With the law they themselves had made...they cancelled the Law the Lord had made" sounds like the perfect definition of Amoris, so perhaps there is some truth being revealed. Watch out for that boomerang!

  • Posted by: VICTORIA01 - Dec. 13, 2016 10:18 PM ET USA

    "Who are the priests ignoring and disdaining the poor feeling superior?" I second Lucius here. In my state of Australia I have come across many dissenting priests some Faithful priests but no priest who ignores or disdains the poor. Pope Francis meets many more priests than I do and I would like these priests who feel superior to the poor to be named and the priests who show charity to the poor to be named also. By using a broad brush to criticise all are blamed.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Dec. 13, 2016 9:50 PM ET USA

    In the wake of the uproar over his vagueness in a crucial point in Amoris Laetitia, it's astounding that the Holy Father would repeat the same misstep with this vague slap at priests. For a man who proclaimed a Jubilee of Mercy, he seems to treat some with very peremptory severity.

  • Posted by: Travelling - Dec. 13, 2016 7:30 PM ET USA

    Baffled by this, needs to clarify.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Dec. 13, 2016 3:19 PM ET USA

    Pray tell, Holy Father, who are these "intellectuals of religion?" Some examples about whom you are speaking about? Again negative comments directed to priests. Who are the priests ignoring and disdaining the poor feeling superior? Is that possible? Yes. Is this manifest throughout the entire Church? Lots of generalities. Holy Father confirm the brethren; don't keep excoriating them!