It almost sounds like a joke, the combination of words, and the way some Catholics are fussing on this. Bishop Tony Palmer plus funeral Mass. He wasn’t a Roman or a Catholic. Oh, and from Pope Francis, a consideration of the man as a friend and brother. Dwight Longenecker doesn’t think much of the bother, and his commentariat takes him to task over it. PrayTell is on it too.
The usual empty objection is raised here and there that the only priests and bishops are Catholics. That’s not quite true. Priests predate Christianity by millennia. Plenty of non-Romans are bishops. Now, some RC’s might object that women and non-Catholics are ordained in Christian religious traditions. But there’s not a darn thing they can do about it. The Church does not control the secular arm of policing society. The Inquisition is impotent here. People, two or three or more, can even gather under a steeple, and call themselves a church. Nothing the Temple Police or the CDF can do about it.
In comparison, some in communion with Rome aren’t in communion with their own flocks, it must be said. Cardinal Bernard Law, notably, wasn’t a heretic or anything officially bad. He was just a scandal and he transgressed morally. Though not in the way that usually gets Vatican notice. Eventually Pope John Paul II caught up with the local church and accepted his resignation.
Now, Bishop Tony Palmer I knew nothing about before Pope Francis and I know not very much more since. I didn’t attend the funeral of Bishop Palmer, but I can safely wager he did not receive the Eucharist. His Catholic wife and children likely did.
I heard prayers were used for a bishop, and shocker: Pope Francis gave that the thumbs up. The sky is falling.
More likely, people are dismayed they lack the power to move and shake as they did during the years 2000-ish to 2013. The funeral is a fact. It was celebrated. Under due authority. Hardly any complainers were harmed or directly affected. If they feel it’s a scandal, I’m not sure what to say to that. I’m inclined to laugh, but that’s not going to help, really.