Back in November, I posted an entry, "what-do-we-expect-of-our-priests?," which received a number of comments. Some of them took me to task in a friendly way, for perhaps supposing the faithful have more demanding expectations than is really the case.
An email, reacting to some comments I offered (here and here) at The Cafeteria is Closed, brought that post back to me.
In the context of discussing clerical dress, and specifically, wearing a cassock (which I do, some but not all the time), my correspondent accused me of comments "unbecoming an alter Christi, and berated me for the following "embarrassing lapses":
1. I went on vacation.
2. Late on the evening of my return (after midnight), I was in my room at the rectory, still awake, and wearing a golf shirt and shorts; and as I had been traveling, it happened I hadn't shaved that day, so I was a little scruffy. A call came from the nearby hospital. The lay chaplain there was very urgent in asking me to come. "Do I have time to change my clothes," I asked. "It'd be better if you came right away," she responded. So I went right away, as I was. When I arrived, I immediately apologized to the family for my appearance.
My correspondent went on to remonstrate me for saying that, when I visited a nearby Protestant church, for an anniversary celebration, I would go in a clerical suit, rather than a cassock, which I thought would be a little showy. My correspondent called that "ecumenical face-saving."
My correspondent also complained about the presence of a zodiac sign on my profile. I plead guilty; Blogger put it there, and I have no idea how to delete it (if anyone knows, I'd like to know).
Now, my correspondent described his situation as "distraught" over the state of the Church, so I can understand some of these comments as arising from that.
Understand, this is one email; the number of comments such as this I've received, either via the blogosphere, or in my parish, are extremely few. I don't expect to please everyone, and am rather sure I don't! But I thought you might find interesting what expectations some folks do have.