And that relationship is particularly dear to priests. That relationship is also supposed to exist between priests and their bishop. However, like so many parents, all too often bishops are friends or brothers to their priests. Worse they are business managers who play favorites and are only heard from when there are problems. But during my priesthood I have always had the feeling that the Pope was there covering our backs. That we were his priest sons even when we needed to be challenged and corrected. Now, not so much.
There is this commentary over at the register about anxiety over Pope Francis. Here is the relevant section on priests.
Pope Francis is capable of speaking with great tenderness about those far from the Church.
When discussing his brother Jesuits, even those who sent him into exile
and were active obstacles to the mission of Jesus Christ and the
Ignatian charism, the Holy Father speaks with nuance and delicacy. Yet
when he speaks of the parish clergy, his remarks are almost always
critical, inveighing against the lazy priest in his rectory, unmoved by
the suffering of the afflicted in need of mercy, reduced to a
functionary who has become an obstacle rather than a conduit of God’s
Priests need to hear that to be challenged and corrected, but fallen men that we are, it is not easy.
The Holy Father intends his criticisms — as he made clear recently in
Assisi — for the whole Church, not just the priests and bishops. Yet,
often, the clergy feel singled out for criticism or feel
underappreciated. Perhaps they ought to stop feeling sorry for
themselves and “man up,” but the phenomenon is real and explains part of