Would you find it ironic if I used a large platform to demean and demonize those whom I find distasteful for my own ideological reasons. What if I were, through a series of ridiculous anecdotes and mindless non sequiturs, to project everything evil on to those I really know nothing about. And then, then I were to claim that my doing so was a call to arms against narcissism and a defense of the gospel.
That would, along with being ridiculously stupid, be very ironic, no? Somehow I think that the irony is lost on Anthony Stevens-Arroyo of the On Faith blog.
Stevens-Arroyo accuses younger priests of a more traditional bent of clerical narcissism. His attempt to prove his case reveals a mind so narrow that the chasm between his ears requires a donkey for tours.
I was prompted to sound this alarm when reading about the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. The group describes itself as “an association of 600 Roman Catholic Priests and Deacons pledged to the pursuit of personal holiness, loyalty to the Roman Pontiff, commitment to theological study and strict adherence to the authentic teachings of the Magisterium.”
Absent from their list of priorities is the Gospel, pastoral concern for lay Catholics, or commitment to social justice teachings. I have no reason to doubt that these priests would outshine me in personal holiness and outdo me in virtue. Perhaps they would say that Gospel values are already included when pledging loyalty to the Roman Pontiff or that they do not view the pursuit of personal holiness as opposed to ministry. But the Confraternity must assume responsibility not only for what it says, but also for how it is understood.
The pursuit of personal holiness is anti-gospel? Say what? What come next boggles. Boggles. As evidence Stevens-Arroyo relays a third hand anecdote about a young priest who didn’t want to do bingo night. Then he tells tale of seeing a young priest in public and the fact that he didn’t like the cut his jib in a coffee shop because he was so showy– he wore a cassock. A CASSOCK! But just in case you didn’t know that cassock wearing priests are evil narcissists, he tells us that the young priests order was later expelled from the diocese.
Stevens-Arroyo conveniently leaves out the fact that the order was suppressed by former Bishop of Scranton, Joseph Martino. A bishop who Stevens-Arroyo would likely accuse of many of the same sins as that young priest. Scratch that likely part. This is some of the descriptors used in the past by Stevens-Arroyo for said bishop. “The obnoxious, spiritually deformed, obnoxious, micro-managing, Republican sounding, out-of-step, theologically faulty, hated, Palin-esque, Roberto Duran-ish, obsolete, inefficient, polluting, control freak Bishop Joseph Martino. “
I don’t know about you, but some might consider attacking those whom you don’t like by means of third-hand anecdotes, innuendo, name calling, and guilt by association might be considered narcissistic by some. Others might disagree. I think what we can all agree on, it certainly isn’t Christian. So much for the Gospel.
Perhaps if Stevens-Arroyo pursued a little personal holiness, like the priests that he casually derides, he would be better off. I know we would be.