Wednesday 7 December 2016

Hugh O’Flaherty: Like Pius XII, time will tell if Francis did right thing under a cruel military junta

Published 01/04/2013 | 17:00

Pope Francis waves during his ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (To the City and the World) address in St Peter’s Square
Pope Francis waves during his ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (To the City and the World) address in St Peter’s Square

IN Rome in 1960, before the second Vatican Council, a document was drawn up laying down conditions by which the clergy should live. It was hoped by many that this would remove old anomalies. For instance, while priests could go to the cinema, they should not go to the theatre; they could go to greyhound tracks, but not to horse meetings.

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Instead of removing such anomalies, the document endorsed them. Now priests should not go to the cinema or the theatre; nor to the greyhounds or the horse races.

This was the guide for the diocese of Rome but it was expected it would be copied by dioceses worldwide. While this was being debated, I met a prominent North American priest in Rome who was indignant about the way things were going. He said: "This is meant for Rome and everywhere else is meant to do the same, but this is the last place in the world where these rules will be observed".

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