It was not a simple commemorative gesture the one that Pope Francis made by going to the tombs of two “inconvenient priests”, don Milani and don Mazzolari. Indeed, only a Pope like him, certainly even more inconvenient than these two priests, did not struggle in recognizing himself in the two Pastors characterized by a dispassionate love for the last ones, for the youth and by the profound desire to orient the society, starting with the institutions, to the teachings of the Gospel.
These priests so different between them have in common with the “priest-pope” Francis the transgression. In fact, beyond the calumnies and the many barriers faced also “intra ecclesiam”, they were finally rehabilitated and appreciated for their teachings, for the inspired words, for the prophetic spirit. This visit, despite its brevity, will be remembered as a magisterial lesson of the Vicar of Christ, who made everyone understand the heroic need of the Church, even today, to affirm with the witness the values of faith.
The Holy Father recalled that don Mazzolari “tried to change the Church and the world through the passionate love and the unconditional dedication”, trying to fill the “distance between faith and life, between contemplation and action”. By observing the example of these two priests the Pontiff noted, in no uncertain terms, their strong and passionate love for Christ pointing them to the clergy as models to follow.
Don Milani was a sincere and direct man, beyond the usual parameters, but always faithful to the Church despite the great tribulation. In the same way was don Mazzolari, with his courage in recalling not only the society, but also the highest authorities, to defend the weakest.
In front of these two figures that edify the Catholic world we cannot omit to mention the condition in which the priests of today work. Although it is difficult in a few words to generalize and to analyse the situation in the world – because it is too complex – looking at the cradle of Christianity we cannot affirm that the priests today are in a good situation. They risk to feel increasingly detached from the people and they are not helped to walk together, indeed the theme of the fraternity is in a big crisis. Sometimes the priests are marginalized people, often mocked and outraged and most of the people do not find any more in them a point of reference. People expect from priests so much love and faith, so much humility and generosity forgetting however their humanity which should never be humiliated or denied.
Many, unfortunately, get lost in the maze of easy worldly traps and the few priests “prophets” are isolated even more than in the last century. Today an “inconvenient priest” is accused to be a narcissist or a star, a “soloist”; even the street priests are not considered heroes because indifference is now at the stars and the heart of man always more hardened and apathetic. Then we talk too little about those many wonderful priests who evangelize with their life and also putting their life at risk… but often they remain alone, their cry in favour of the poor is not only unheard, but even distorted and considered a problem to be possibly removed in some way.
This “inconvenient Pope”– that makes us uncomfortable with his actions and his words – can encourage all those who love the radicalism of the gospel, who not give in to the many flatteries and do not compromise with diplomacy. Today it is not easy to follow Jesus being a priest and this “pontiff-priest” clearly shows it to us explaining it with frankness and also putting himself in discussion with a deep humility.
Bergoglio is not an untouchable Pope, on the contrary he lets people approach him and he himself wants to reach the heart of the faithful without taking too much care about the poisonous serpents. He warns and rebukes these wandering people, starting from the most vicious that are found inside the Churches … but he does not dishearten. And thus he proposes to us revolutionary and saint priests, heroic priests for their obedience and still spiritually alive because, beyond their own limits, they have been able to put forward the amiable and sympathetic face of Jesus.