Rome is a religion of images. It flies in the face of God's command: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image." (Ex. 20:4) Now she wants to graven-image her priest and produce clerical samples. The Daily Telegraph (July 23, 1999, p. 11) reports:
Roman Catholic priests have been warned not to eat and drink too much and to watch their manners in a letter from the Vatican.
The 44-page missive, issued in seven languages and distributed to every priest this month, reminds clergy that their flock are watching them in and out of the pulpit.
The faithful "see, observe, feel and listen not only when the Word of God is preached, but when he eats and when he rests," says the letter.
Written by the Congregations for Clergy, the document clearly warns priests against becoming Friar Tucks with too much good food and wine.
It says visitors to the priest's home should be "edified by his temperance and sobriety and rejoice in his simplicity and priestly poverty".
When they talk to him and discuss common interests, they should be "comforted by his spiritual outlook, his courtesy and his behaviour in treating humble people with priestly nobility".
The letter has been entitled "The Christian priest and the Third Christian Millennium, Teacher of the Word, Minister of the Sacraments and Leader of the Community".
The letter is clearly intended to pull slack and wayward priests into line and improve the reputation of the priesthood for the Millennium when eyes will be on the Church. It warns priests against having "undue attachment" to individuals and seeking popularity. It also advises them not to become authoritarian or let their high-profile position go to their head.
"The priest enjoys a certain prestige amongst the faithful and in some places with civil authorities," it says. "He should be aware that such prestige should be lived in humility and used correctly."
The image of Rome's priests is the reality of their own making.
They are sensual, heavy-eating, heavy-drinking and more and more exposed as sexual perverts from their bishops down to their lowest or 'low' priests.