Pope Warns About Narcissism in the Church

CNA’s Elise Harris: In listening to the words of the Holy Father in his many different homilies, audiences and speeches since his election, there is one incredibly clear message he is sending to us: the Church is narcissistic. We are a narcissistic Church, the product of a narcissistic culture. More on this here.

  • Tomas de Torquemada

    Oh, the Church turned the corner of narcissism some time ago smack dab into the dark dead end of nihilism.

  • I don’t know what Pope Francis is talking about, and maybe it’s none of my business, since it seems to have been addressed to priests. But if you or someone else would like to flesh it out a bit for me I’d appreciate it. I don’t understand how a person can move out of himself and still be himself, for starters. I can appreciate that we must forget ourselves, though. Maybe that’s what he’s getting at?

  • Tomas de Torquemada

    My two cents (which may be all it’s worth): The Me Culture is pervasive, and many of the relatively few Catholics remaining in the pews have inevitably been affected by it. Their idea of religion is a quest to find themselves, which is inherently narcissistic, rather than seeking God…let alone worshiping Him. Kneeling before the Lord? What an affront to one’s self-esteem. Heaven forbid! Heaven? Try the other place, the one considerably further south.

  • GeneDe

    I think it could also be similar to being Baptized. When a person is Baptized, he dies in Christ in order to live (spiritually). Does that make sense.

  • schmenz

    Well put, sir.

  • This reminds me of something I read and was impressed by about the Blessed Virgin: She wouldn’t have spent a single moment of her life thinking about herself.

    Maybe I’m too literal but at times when he’s being critical I wish the Holy Father would say ‘some churchmen’ or ‘some in the Church’ instead of ‘the church’. I can’t help but think ‘but the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ!’ Maybe he doesn’t have to make these distinctions when he’s speaking to priests.

  • Tomas de Torquemada

    The Church in her supernatural aspect is of course impeccable.

  • I guess I’m blessed to have had no first-hand experience with these types of priests. I know they exist, though. The lavender mafia springs to mind.

  • Yes, I understand that. I remember telling a Catholic friend that I needed to constantly keep in mind St. Paul’s practice of doing violence to my own will, and her stunned reaction and comment that I was being too hard on myself!

  • winteryblackknight

    You haven’t experiences some form of clericalism in the Church? There are enough priests out there that could practice a little more humility

  • GeneDe

    I think that when your Catholic friend heard you use the word “violence”, that threw them for a loop, not knowing what is meant by “violence” when it comes to the spiritual side. It is not, of course, physical violence, but taming, if you will, our wills in order to comply with that of God’s — being more humble (as I need to be).

  • What would be an example of clericalism?

  • winteryblackknight

    An example would be when a priest puts himself on a pedestal sort of and talks down to a lay person as if we know nothing compared to them. Generally it means the exercise of a cleric authority in an excessive or abusive manner.

  • I wasn’t a Catholic in the 70s but most Catholics I know who lived through the changes to the mass, etc., say it happened in this kind of atmosphere.

  • winteryblackknight

    Yes, I lived through it and yes that’s probably true to some extent. Many accepted the changes to a degree on trust. It took time to realize the negative results of the changes. One of the most obvious places was in the confessional. When a priest starts telling you not to get hung up on rules and regulations you begin to see they had accepted changes in outlook on the faith without thinking it through.
    A recent case of clericalism in my view was the harsh public criticism leveled at Life Site News a couple of years ago by a well known priest I will leave unnamed.

  • My whole life as a Catholic has been lived within easy access to good priests, Deo gratias. I know they’re not always easy to find.

  • winteryblackknight

    As a convert you were blessed. I grew up with a good priest but have seen a variety in my adult life, some good and too many so-so or worse. Fortunately we have had good popes to give us the right direction and points of reference..

  • Yes. It took me a few years to find my way. I left 3 parishes after my conversion before I found the traditional Latin mass.

  • winteryblackknight

    You’re fortunate to have ready access to the Latin mass and a priest so well formed. Many of us make do with occasional access and do the best we can with what is available.
    Sounds like you struggled through three parishes. But you are in a relatively strong diocese, Toronto, with a relatively strong bishop. I live in a weak diocese with a not so strong bishop, struggling with a real shortage of priests.