In 1962, the noted Thomistic theologian Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange wrote a book titled, The Priest in Union with Christ. In chapter 3 of this marvelous work, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange explains the important role of a Catholic priest as “victim.” He says:
“The priest must be in his own way a victim. Why? Because Christ in offering himself during the sacrifice of the Mass offers also his entire mystical body, and especially his minister who is celebrating Mass. Therefore every priest has his own individual vocation to be a victim in order to become like to Christ.
The truth of this becomes even more evident if we consider the opposite error. Take the case of a priest who shares in the priesthood of Christ by virtue of his ordination and yet refuses to share in his state of victim. Such a priest is refusing the obligation laid on all the faithful of taking up the cross; and this obligation presses all the more urgently upon a priest in view of the fact that he is intended to be another Christ amongst the faithful. (emphasis added)”
So, if every Catholic priest has an obligation, by virtue of his ordination, to be a victim, and if refusing to do so is tantamount to refusing to take up his cross, what does this say about a priest who files a lawsuit against a lay critic? Such is the case of Vatican Spokesman, Fr. Thomas Rosica, who recently filed a lawsuit against David Domet, author of the Canadian-based blog, “Vox Cantoris.” Can any priest, claiming to emulate the victimhood of Our Blessed Lord, truly be living his vocation as a victim by suing a blogger for criticizing his public statements? Now, this is not to say that a priest may never defend himself, but as a victim, he has an obligation to assume a very humble role, striving for the good of the sheep, as opposed to himself. However, since the letter from the lawyer appears to be the first time Fr. Rosica has had any contact with Mr. Domet, can he truly be said to have followed the precepts established by Our Blessed Lord in the Gospel of Matthew? Our Lord instructed:
“If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
Whether Fr. Rosica is failing in his duty to be a victim after the model of Christ or failing to follow the instructions Our Lord gave for dealing with those who sin against us, there are two great ironies in Fr. Rosica’s lawsuit alone. The first lies specifically with regard to Fr. Rosica’s constant (and inappropriate) appeal to “mercy,” and the second is written in the lawsuit itself.
On March 18 at Loyola University Maryland, Fr. Rosica gave his comments on “the uniqueness of Pope Francis and his amazing impact on the Catholic Church and the world in just one short year,” at an event called “The Francis Factor.” In his comments, Fr. Rosica proclaimed, “We need the Francis revolution of tenderness and mercy now more than ever before.”
In discussing the mid-term Relatio of the 2014 Synod on the Family, Fr. Rosica spoke of mercy for same-sex couples, those in “irregular” relationships and the distribution of Holy Communion to divorced and re-married Catholics. He said, “it [the Relatio]looked at them with tenderness and mercy, while maintaining the clarity of a teacher and insisting on the importance of accompanying people in their different and often complex situations. This is not soft mercy or cheap grace, but blatant honesty that comes from the heart.”
In 2009, Fr. Rosica wrote an article about deceased Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral titled, Senator Edward Kennedy’s funeral: On mercy and misery. In that article, Fr. Rosica made multiple appeals to mercy with regard to the notorious senator, even to the point of calling out pro-lifers for their “lack” of mercy. Here are a few excerpts:
- “As a Roman Catholic Priest who is pro-life, I was proud of my Church last week, and grateful for the courageous and gracious actions of American Church leaders in Boston and Washington, who opened the doors of their Church to reveal a Gospel of mercy and hospitality, in the midst of sinfulness and ambiguity of public leaders who are in need of conversion, forgiveness and prayers, like the rest of us.”
- “Civility, charity, mercy and politeness seem to have dropped out of the pro-life lexicon.”
- “To recognize and bring out the sin in others means also recognizing one’s self as a sinner and in need of God’s boundless mercy.”
- “Let us pray that we will become more and more a people, a church and a community overflowing with mercy.”
While Fr. Rosica is so concerned about extending mercy to those who are living in a state of grave sin, he seems to have forgotten about his desire that “we will become more and more a people, a church and a community overflowing with mercy,” as he files what looks to be a rather expensive lawsuit against a Catholic blogger. In fact, according to Fr. Rosica’s lawyers, after making a bold demand that David Domet remove all references to Fr. Rosica from the blog and issue a formal apology to him, the lawfirm reserves the right to sue him anyway. So much for mercy!
But the supreme irony of the whole thing is found in the list of three main complaints against Mr. Domet. The list of complaints read, in part, “Each of the said statements, separately and collectively, expressly and by way of innuendo, are false and defamatory statements that … 3. They suggest that Fr. Rosica is willing to act unethically to further his own agendas and to do so at the expense of others.”
Really??? So, if we are to understand the complaint here in its proper context, Fr. Rosica is upset because a one-man blog has openly criticized Fr. Rosica’s public statements which conflict with the Traditional teachings of the Catholic Church. And, in the act of complaining that Mr. Domet’s comments “suggest that Fr. Rosica is willing to act unethically to further his own agendas and to do so at the expense of others,” Fr. Rosica is willing to file an unethical lawsuit at the expense of a family man in order to further his own agendas. Did Fr. Rosica approach Mr. Domet first in private, as Our Blessed Lord instructed? Did Fr. Rosica extend mercy to Mr. Domet by saying that even if Mr. Domet complied with Fr. Rosica’s demands he reserves the right to sue him anyway? Is Fr. Rosica acting in any way like the victim he was ordained to be? If the answer to these questions is “no,” then Fr. Rosica has made himself guilty of the very thing he complains Mr. Domet of suggesting about him on the Vox Cantoris blog.