In one of the most stunning and symbolic about-faces of the entire Pontificate, and as we had reported yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI did not proclaim Saint John Mary Vianney as Patron Saint of all priests of the world following the closing Mass of the Year for Priests, celebrated this Friday in Rome.
The holy Curé d'Ars did not need this honor. He did not ask for this honor. His entire life was a life of holiness shining through humility and disregard for himself. But that had been the Vatican's decision, the logical end of the fact that the Year for Priests was set to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint John Mary Vianney.
In fact, when the Year was first announced by the Holy See Press Office, in March 2009, that proclamation was already mentioned:
During the course of the Year, Benedict XVI will proclaim St. Jean Marie Vianney as patron saint of all the priests of the world.
And that was confirmed by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations last month:
San Giovanni Maria Vianney ... in questa occasione sarà proclamato dal Santo Padre patrono di tutti i sacerdoti.
The meaning of this about-face? We cannot but share the view of our reader Martin in a comment in an earlier post:
It might be the case that St Jean Marie Vianney was not the best choice in the first place for monastic priests, but, since that decision had long been made, the revoking of it at the last minute would be one more blow to the "restaurationist" view of this papacy, a viewpoint which has already suffered some other severe setbacks.This is quite regrettable, for things started quite well back in 2005. But I am afraid that we are now again in fully frozen mode, and that the wolves are getting ready for the next conclave.
All in all, a very sad day for the dignity of the Papacy.
Sancte Ioannes Maria Vianney, ora pro nobis!