Well. I think it’s only worth everyone noting, both laity and clergy, that yes, the Pope is right. DEFINITELY. It’s important for clergy and seminarians to have friends, and it’s DEFINITELY important that they’re not all from the same place or way of life. However, I feel that the Church has it’s own problems in manifesting this, and allowing clergy or seminarians in being able to use their own initiative and judgement to do it. LAITY: PLEASE make friends with clergy, it’s a good thing to do, and nobody should be alone. You’ll both learn so much from each other, and i’m sure you’ll both enrich each others live. but please bear in mind, it can be very difficult for people to be allowed to make friends, and whilst encouraged, on the other side of the fence, it’s a little bit of a different story.
CLERGY: PLEASE make friends with laity. They can be heroes for you, as i’m sure you know. They’re amazing. My most fond memories are of having been chatting to them, and having just a ‘normal’ time. You’re only human. Have a drink, have a laugh. Let loose, and please stop being so paranoid. I’ve seen so many priests, monks, and seminarians cut themselves off and be constantly on guard of and for themselves, and become burnt out. You have to be vulnerable sometimes too. You are in need of friends, sometimes, too. Embrace it. Not all heroes wear robes, and the heroic thing you might need is just to have a conversation - a normal, fun, or venting, or random small-talk conversation.
I wish that the official guidelines and practices of the church made it easier, and less pressuring about this and human formation. I know that a lot of it comes off the back of the awful, hideous things that have happened, but I can’t help but feel that this direction isn’t the best way to do it. It appears, and I’ve seen, and I’ve experienced, that you can’t really ‘share in each others’ lives, and accompany each other’ if you’re not allowed to do just that. I wish that the church and the Church was able to work in a more constructive way, a more human way, to being able to construct friendships, without feeling like you have to constantly look over your shoulder for scandal, and self inflict its stigma.