Read the pope’s response to the Argentine priest on the closure of the seminary

0

Pope Francis reads during the Vespers service on July 28, 2022 at the Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral Basilica in Quebec, Canada. | Vatican Media

WASHINGTON DC: Earlier this year, an Argentinian priest struggling to understand the Vatican’s controversial closure of one of the country’s top seminaries wrote to Pope Francis for answers.

The priest, maintaining his loyalty and that of his brother priests to the Second Vatican Council, as well as their devotion to the sacraments, to the spiritual life and to the sick, asked if a literal reading of Vatican II meant that the presbyterium was too rigid.

“Is this rigidity bad? Is it an ideology? Don’t we have a place in the Church today? He asked.

Pope Francis answered him.

“In your letter you point out to me that they took the Second Vatican Council at face value and immediately afterwards you ask me if rigidity is wrong,” the pope wrote.

“Dear son, rigidity is not a gift from God, gentleness yes, kindness yes, benevolence yes, forgiveness yes, but rigidity no!”

The candid exchange — set forth in letters obtained by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister news agency — sheds new light on the Vatican’s controversial closure of the Seminary of the Blessed Mother of God in November 2020, and the resulting tension that still plagues the Argentinian diocese of San Raphael.

The seminary controversy
The San Rafael seminary, located in the province of Mendoza, was one of the most successful in Argentina and all of Latin America, with many vocations.

He figured prominently in the tensions that developed in mid-2020 between some priests and faithful of the diocese and its then-bishop, Eduardo María Taussig.

Among the sources of conflict was Taussig’s announcement in June 2020, linked to the restart of public worship suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that Communion could only be received standing and in the hand, and not on the mouth and on the knees.

Among the sources of conflict was Taussig’s announcement in June 2020, linked to the restart of public worship suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that Communion could only be received standing and in the hand, and not on the mouth and on the knees.

A decree issued by the Holy See mandated the seminary’s closure in November 2020. The Congregation for the Clergy informed Taussig that this was due to difficulties maintaining a seminary rector – having had seven in the past 15 years.

The closure of the seminary sparked public protests and Rosary rallies outside the bishop’s residence, as well as car caravans through other towns in the diocese.

Pope Francis accepted Taussig’s resignation on February 5, 2022, about a year and a half after the decision to close the seminary.

The priest’s letter
Father Ramiro Sáenz, a priest at the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Diocese of San Rafael, originally sent a letter to Pope Francis dated April 17, 2022, telling him of the suffering of the local Catholic community and asking him questions.

“As you know, we have lived through very difficult times and with many misunderstandings. We are part of the Church of Christ entrusted to you. We love Christ, we love the Blessed Virgin, we love the Church over which you preside,” Sáenz wrote.

“We go to confession, we do missions, we preach retreats, we have several chapels for perpetual adoration (in almost all the parishes we worshiped all night on Maundy Thursday), we pray the divine office and the rosary daily , we meditate, we read the great masters of the spiritual life, we care for the sick and the most needy, almost all of us have risked our lives caring for COVID patients,” he continued.

“We are not perfect but we want to work for Christ and his Church. Your Holiness, please believe in our goodwill,” he wrote.

“Almost all of us were formed without breaking the fractures with Vatican II (Council). We took the decree on priestly formation and the decree on the ministry and life of priests [which relate to priestly formation] literally. Is this stiffness bad? Is it an ideology? Don’t we have a place in the Church today?

Sáenz then referred to an image – the polyhedron – that Pope Francis used, from when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, when he spoke of belonging to a global society.

The polyhedron allows each geometric side to have its own particular and unique shape, even if the entire shape is around a center, as opposed to a sphere in which the entire perimeter is equidistant and surrounds the center in the same way.

“Isn’t there a little face for us in the polyhedron?” Sáenz asked the pope.

“We had a diocese fruitful in priests and apostolic works. Do not let it stagnate. Today the world needs us more than ever. Through the wounds of Christ, I commend our diocese to you, its priests and its faithful “said the priest’s letter is over.

Pope Francis’ response
Pope Francis responded in a letter dated July 9, 2022.

“I appreciate your confidence and your sincerity. I know you are going through a difficult time; believe me, it’s for me too. peace through the sacraments and the Word,” the pope wrote.

“In your letter, you point out to me that they took the Second Vatican Council at face value and immediately afterwards you ask me if the rigidity is bad. I must tell you that it is one thing to walk in the law of the Lord, as the psalm invites us to pray (“Blessed is the man who walks in the law of the Lord”) and another is rigidity”, a declared the Holy Father observed.

“Dear son, rigidity is not a gift from God; sweetness yes; kindness yes; benevolence yes; sorry Yes; but rigidity not! Because, as you yourself intuit, rigidity is the prelude to the ideology that hurts so much and that led the rigids of Jesus’ day to condemn him for putting mercy on above the law,” wrote Pope Francis.

Later in the letter, the Holy Father writes that “of course, in the Church of Jesus, which is the same yesterday, today and always, we all have a place, ALL! This is why rigidity is not possible, because it closes the doors to “everyone” and only keeps them ajar for the “perfect”.

“I am sure that in your good shepherd heart there is also room for everyone. I take your words: ‘Today the world needs us more than ever.’ I count on you,” wrote Pope Francis, concluding by asking the priest to pray for him, as is the custom of the pope in his writings and speeches.

In December 2021, just over a year after the seminary closed, the Diocese of San Rafael reported that 12 seminarians had been sent to seminaries in four other dioceses. The diocese did not disclose how many seminarians left priestly formation due to the controversy.CNA


Source link

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.