Horses, Friars, And The Pope
One of the issues touched by the Holy Father during his disastrous meeting with CLAR was the one of the dying orders that cling to the vast possessions they have; a state of affairs the Pontiff doesn't like because he would rather use the assets for other purposes (presumably, giving the money away) whilst the interested parties reply the money is necessary to provide for them before the old nincompoops stretch – as the cynical Italian would say – their paws.
It stroke me as odd that the Pontiff didn't even mention with one word the lamentable state of these orders, or wondered how they could slowly commit suicide in such a stupid way, or admit the unprecedented crisis of religious life; he also did not waste one second to mention in passing the enormous damage created by the lack of religious personnel for the coming generations. His concern was, apparently, centred on the fact the old boys cling to vast real estate, which the Pontiff would rather see sold and, if the now fashionable rhetoric is to be followed, spread among the poor.
I am informed that horses are extremely centred in the present, which is why they can, say, be bought and sold many times in a way that would, say, break a dog's heart. The horse only thinks of today, they say. He is not in the least interested in the past, nor remotely concerned about the future.
The Holy Father's free-wheeling reflections concerning the money of the dying orders reminded me of the horse thinking, with the Pontiff faced with the utter ruin of a vast number of once great religious orders and the great damage for future generations, but concerned about the fact they don't want to give him the dough.
Alternatively, I can only imagine that his repeated “what do I know” and “perhaps” reflect his real thinking, and this Pope subscribes to the disquieting theory that the Holy Ghost doesn't need or want religious orders anymore, as in this oh so brilliant new age of ours, in which divorce, contraception, sexual perversion and defiance of Christian values are in a new Springtime, He will transfer the task to the oh so new man, and the contracepting, aborting, divorcing laity will take care of things. In this perspective, it makes perfect sense that the Holy Father say “what do I know” about the fact these orders are dying, but does know he would like their vast resources. Again, we would be here in front of a Jesuit rather unconcerned with the almost extinction of his and many other orders. Once again, note he says “they have no vocations” and sees in that a fact he can't really explain. That there are no vocations because the orders foxtrotted things up in the most egregious manner doesn't even enter his mind. Such is the mentality of a product of V II.
I Imagine this, because if this were not to be the case the Pontiff would most certainly focus on the restructuring of the orders according to pre-Vatican II rules, and encourage them to use their generally extensive resources to finance their growth; a growth which, if you believe God wants to have solid religious orders, you must believe will come once these orders are made solid again.
Nothing of this is to be seen in the Papal reflections. The traditional orders are all more or less dying, and his words suggest a sort of confrontation or at least opposition to his wishes that has gone on for some time, with the Vatican gently suggesting the orders divest part of their assets and the orders gently answering that they need them to fund their old age.
Probably horse mentality is, therefore, not really at play. Rather, a perfect easiness with the dying of religious orders. This is, of course, coupled with the near-perfect blindness of the V II man, either unable to see that the traditional orders are growing fast, or willing to consider their growth a residue of the past, as if those people still believed they live, erm, cough, in the Forties.
But hey, what does he know.
In the meantime, give him the money.