(LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, the recently named Cardinal Christophe Pierre, is being criticized for remarks about traditional vocations that are seen as being out of touch with reality.
During an interview with left-wing America magazine this week, Pierre appeared to admit that while “seminaries are now empty” it is still not a good thing that young men are wanting to offer the Latin Mass.
“We are in the church at a change of epoch,” the 77-year-old Pierre claimed. “People don’t understand it. And this may be the reason why most of the young priests today dream about wearing the cassock and celebrating Mass in the traditional way.”
“In some ways, they are lost in a society which has no security, and all of us when we feel lost look for some security,” he continued. “But which kind of security?”
Cdl Pierre tells @americamag how “seminaries are now empty.” But adds “we are in the church at a change of epoch,” & that clergy not recognizing “this may be the reason why most of the young priests today dream about wearing the cassock & celebrating Mass in the traditional way” pic.twitter.com/dHYxQpMXfS
— Michael Haynes 🇻🇦 (@MLJHaynes) November 3, 2023
While confessing that young people today do enjoy attending the Latin Mass, Pierre condescendingly asked, “is the liturgy [only] something you like? Is it a refuge? Is the church a refuge? If you look at it as a refuge, you isolate yourselves.”
“The church is missionary,” he said. “It’s not a reserve of people who feel well together.” It is “not the church that will protect me. It’s not the habit.”
Pierre’s remarks come one week after Francis himself made disparaging remarks about traditional-minded priests. Speaking to hundreds of attendees at the Synod on Synodality in Rome on October 25, Francis lamented how “young priests” are going into shops in Rome and “trying on cassocks and hats, or albs and lace robes.
“Clericalism,” he said, “is a scourge.”
In 2019, Francis likewise accused young men who wear traditional priestly attire of harboring “moral problems” and “imbalances.”
Fr. Dave Nix, who lives in the United States, provided LifeSiteNews with the following statement.
“It’s dishonest to pit the missionary spirit against the cassock. Even the modern day, baby-boomer Jesuit in his Hawaiian shirt will admit the greatest missionary saints of his congregation all wore the cassock: St. Francis Xavier, St. Peter Claver, St. Isaac Jogues and St. John Brebeuf.”
“You have to remember the old lefty clergy in the Church are truly activists who try to close down the contemplative orders,” he continued. “But they don’t know what to do with the greatest missionaries of their own congregations who had the richest contemplative lives possible.”
To Nix’s point, one of the hallmarks of Francis’ reign has been his relentless attacks on both men and women religious communities. Carmelites in Texas and Pennsylvania as well as a Benedictine order in Pienza, Italy are just a few women contemplative orders that have won his ire. The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate were also infamously targeted by the Vatican several years ago
Pierre also discussed the drop off of vocations in the United States. While failing to place the blame for the decline, even partially, on the modernist reforms of Vatican II, or Francis’ attacks on traditional orders, Pierre simply stated that the Church today faces “new questions.”
“The transmission of the faith in the United States worked through a kind of coherence between the organization of the church and the society… But the sisters have disappeared. You once had vocations and seminaries in 200 places, but the seminaries are now empty. So the church faces new questions and challenges today,” he said.
An anonymous priest of the Society of St. Pius X told LifeSite that Pierre’s remarks exhibit an off-the-charts level of cognitive dissonance.
“Mainstream seminaries are closing because they are wishy-washy. There is no doctoral punch. It’s ‘Mickey Mouse’ Catholicism. The modern church and updated liturgy effectively castrates men. Rome today encourages endless ‘dialogue’ instead of winning souls to Catholicism.”
“Archbishop Lefebvre went to Africa as a missionary and offered the Latin Mass, and everyone started converting,” he further stated. “It’s the Novus Ordo Church that isn’t missionary. It wants to sing kumbaya with heretics.”
“As far as the cassock goes,” he continued, “it is a walking sermon. As a young man raised without direction in the Novus Ordo, it was Catholic tradition that gave me the certitude to sacrifice my life to preach the Gospel to others. The SSPX has grown to over 700 priests since Archbishop Lefebvre founded it. Its seminaries are flourishing. Young men want to join the fight for Christ the King. Tradition is the future.”
Pierre, who is French, succeeded Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò as the Pope’s ambassador to the United States in April 2016.