Give that guy an upper cut

There have been a number of people, not least some of the cardinals gathering to elect the new pope, who have been critical of Pope Benedict’s decision to abdicate. Some have been concerned that it sets a dangerous precedent; others say the suffering and ailing health of a pope is a worthy example of ageing and moving towards a good death, as Pope John Paul II did.

An Italian priest, though, has taken things to a whole new level. He is very upset with Pope Benedict’s decision, and decided to express himself in a unique and pretty outrageous way, as a Sydney Morning Herald story from the Daily Telegraph explains:

An Italian parish priest has caused uproar after burning a photograph of Benedict XVI and likening him to the disgraced captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship during a church service.

Father Andrea Maggi shocked parishioners and was criticised by his local bishop after using a candle to set fire to the image of the former pontiff, who last week became the first pope to step down in nearly 600 years.

He likened the Pope Emeritus’s resignation to Captain Francesco Schettino’s alleged abandoning of the Concordia after he steered it into Giglio, an island off the Italian coast a year ago. “Am I sorry for having burned the photo of the Pope? No. He’s behaved like Schettino, he abandoned his flock,” said Father Maggi, 67, from the hilltop town of Castel Vittorio in the north-western coastal region of Liguria.

Father Maggi said Benedict should have acted as a “rock” to the Roman Catholic Church and remained in office until death. “If he didn’t want the job, he shouldn’t have accepted it eight years ago,” he said. “He’s hardly an ingenue or a novice. He created 90 cardinals – it’s not like he didn’t know what he was doing.”

I find this a very disappointing turn of events for a priest to show such a lack of compassion towards an 85-year-old man who has devoted about 70 years of his life to the Church. And he was completely unrepentant and even defiant when he was criticise for what he did.

the bishop of nearby Ventimiglia, Alberto Maria Careggio, said the “execrable” gesture had caused grave offence. The priest said the bishop should “mind his own business”.

Wow. I don’t even know what to say about that act of disobedience. The word “disgraceful” comes to mind.

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