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VATICAN CITY, June 16, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — During a June 10 address to a group of Italian seminarians, Pope Francis urged the future priests to avoid the “perversion” of clericalism, advising that such a misuse of priestly authority leads to a kind of “rigidity,” a term the Pope has often used to malign traditionally-minded clerics and lay faithful alike.

In speaking to the members of the Pontifical Regional Seminary Pius XI of the Marche, Pope Francis first addressed those who are “primarily responsible for the formation of these young men.” he asked them to lead and form those under their instruction by their lives rather than by their words, in supposed imitation of St. Joseph, whom the Pope said formed Jesus in a “school of ‘creative courage.’”

The Pope requested that seminary leaders pass on their example of “obedience … industriousness … and generosity towards the poor” in their work of forming future priests. He then turned his attention to the gathered seminarians, whose role as students, he emphasized, is to follow the example of Jesus by being “docile” to their superiors, which is “a constructive attitude of one’s vocation and also of one’s personality.”

After explaining where he believes this docility should lead seminarians, namely, to becoming “experts in humanity” who “widen the limits” of their hearts, Pope Francis cautioned the group against “experiences that lead to sterile intimacies, of ‘gratifying spiritualism.’” The Holy Father warned that these “experiences” might “seem to give consolation,” but they instead “lead to closure and rigidity.”

While it remains unclear what exactly Pope Francis referred to by using the term “gratifying spiritualism,” the Pontiff did proffer a veiled explanation of what was intended by the phrase.

“Rigidity is somewhat fashionable today; and rigidity is one of the manifestations of clericalism,” the Pope said in what is now recognized as a recurring motif throughout the Argentine’s papacy. “Clericalism is a perversion of the priesthood: it is a perversion. And rigidity is one of its manifestations. When I meet a seminarian or a young priest who is rigid, I say ‘there is something wrong with him inside.’ Behind every rigidity there is a serious problem, because rigidity lacks humanity.”

LifeSiteNews contacted popular Catholic commentator and author Deacon Nick Donnelly, who explained and contextualized the Pope’s use of the term “rigid.”

“Pope Francis reserves the word ‘rigid’ for those who uphold obedience to the doctrines of the Church as a necessary characteristic of being a Christian,” Donnelly told LifeSiteNews, remarking that the Pope employs the moniker as a pejorative, despite it describing a fidelity to the Church’s bimillennial tradition. Donnelly continued by extolling such an obedience to tradition as being “rooted in the teachings of Christ (John 14:15) and the apostolic kerygma (Roman 1:5).”

However, “instead of seeing this as an authentic expression of discipleship, Pope Francis invariably suggests that such ‘rigidity’ is a sign of a sinister moral or psychological problem.”

“This must be the first time in the Church’s history that a pope disparages the honesty and integrity of the faithful for obeying Christ and his apostles,” Donnelly concluded.

Pope Francis has vilified young priests and seminarians as “rigid” on numerous occasions. On one such occasion the Pope suggested that those clerics who opt to don more traditional clerical garb, such as cassocks and clerical hats, possess a “rigid clericalism,” behind which there are “serious problems.” Additionally, young Catholics who love the Traditional Latin Mass have been accused of this same “rigidity.”

At another time, the Pope cautioned the faithful to be “careful around those who are rigid. Be careful around Christians — be they laity, priests, bishops — who present themselves as so ‘perfect,’ rigid. Be careful. There’s no Spirit of God there. They lack the spirit of liberty.”

Francis submitted that the faithful must therefore “be wary of the temptation to rigidity,” in a later address. “Let us always remember that behind every form of rigidity lies some kind of imbalance. Rigidity and imbalance feed one another in a vicious circle. And today this temptation to rigidity has become very real.”

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PETITION: Ask local Bishop to correct and admonish Notre Dame's promotion of homosexual 'pride' month
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The University of Notre Dame is promoting so-called homosexual 'pride' month on an official university webpage, complete with a guide on how to become an "ally" of LGBT activists.

But, such homosexual 'pride' events and "allying" should be avoided by Catholics as they seek to normalize both grave sin and disorder, as well as the destruction of the natural family and marriage between one man and one woman.

Please read the passages of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, below, where it very clearly states that:

"...'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."

Then, please SIGN this urgent petition, asking the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend (the diocese in which Notre Dame is located), Bishop Rhoades, to formally correct the University in this matter.

This petition is also CC'ed to the University asking them to stop promoting the homosexual 'pride' agenda.

If anyone has ever seen the some of degrading things done at so-called 'pride' events in the name of sexual license, you understand how dangerous these events can be to children's innocence and understanding of human nature, nevermind that of the adult participants!

Indeed, the danger to the Faith and morals are so serious that, two years ago, the Bishop of Rhode Island gave this stark warning to his flock: "A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ “Pride Month” events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children."

Please now SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks his brother bishop in Indiana, Bishops Rhoades, to formally admonish the University of Notre Dame from the promotion of these events which are contrary to the Faith and morals.


'University of Notre Dame embraces ‘pride month,’ touts Biden’s pro-LGBT statement' -

What the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on homosexuality (quoted here):

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

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By contrast, Francis has consistently suggested that the Church must change herself to meet the people and times in which we live, since “[t]oday we are no longer the only ones who create culture, nor are we in the forefront or those most listened to.”

The Pope has relied on an often misrepresented quotation of St. John Henry Cardinal Newman, canonized by Francis himself, in order to substantiate his argument that the Church must reform in accordance with “epochal changes.” In his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Newman wrote: “Here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, editor of “Newman on Worship, Reverence, and Ritual: A Selection of Texts,” told LifeSiteNews in 2019 that, while a “favorite line with modern Jesuits because for them it means progressivism: continual change, evolution, doctrinal creativity,” Newman himself meant something altogether different.

Kwasniewski explained that Newman was not advocating for justifying actions contrary to traditional morality or any other such reversal of ancient teachings. Instead, “He is talking about how the ‘idea’ (as he calls it) of Christianity expands, develops, diversifies, and enriches itself as it engages and is engaged with the world around it. It becomes more perfect in its self-understanding and self-expression through this interchange.”

“One need only think about how the challenge of heresies brought forth the great Church Fathers to defend the deposit of faith,” Kwasniewski added.


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