An Australian priest speaking, he claimed, on behalf of a large number of other priests, charged a few years ago that the leadership of the Church (the Pope and some bishops) is ‘out of tune with the attitudes, hopes and desires of the priests and lay people whom they serve’ and ‘they (and presumably he) would resign from the priesthood except for ‘their loyalty to their parishioners whom they love, and their parish which they wish to serve’.
He professes loyalty to his parishioners and expects the leadership of the Church to profess loyalty to the priests.
But isn’t this a fatal error? He has turned loyalty on its head and at the same time the hierarchical structure of his own commission to serve.
Jesus said: My food is to do the will of the one who sent me …(Jn 4:34)
He did not say: My food is to do the will of the ones to whom I have been sent.
These words of the Master seem to have been forgotten. This priest, like so many others, has transferred his loyalty from the One who sent him to those to whom he has been sent. No wonder he sounds frustrated and angry. He has set himself a pastoral charge he has no hope of realising.
Christ was sent to do the will of the Father, the Church is sent to do the will of Christ, and we priests are sent to do the will of the Church.
Everywhere one looks one sees the same disastrous inversion which finds, perhaps, its ugliest expression in the constant call to laity and priests to 'shape the Church of the future' whereas, in actuality, we should be allowing ourselves to be shaped by the Church of the present.