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Pope Francis: “Ideology” blocks people entering the Church? October 18, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, disconcerting, episcopate, General Catholic, Holy suffering, martyrdom, Papa, persecution, sadness, secularism, shocking, Society, the return.
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Pope Francis stated recently that those who accept what the Church believes and proclaim it strongly drive people away from the Church.  Whither apologetics, in this environment?

 When a church is closed, people walk past it and can’t enter. “And, even worse, the Lord cannot be close to the people.” The same thing can happen to the whole of Christ’s Church if the “scholars of the law” block its doors – those who make an ideology out of faith and in so doing keep all others away from the gardens and wells of God’s grace. Today Pope Francis spoke about them in the homily he gave at this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House.  [I would say at the top that Pope Francis is creating a straw man here, I think he's fighting a chimera. Even among very traditional Catholics, I don't know many, if any, who "keep all others away" from the Faith.  I don't see this huge Mass of raging traditional and/or orthodox Catholics blocking people from the Faith.  Good Lord, is this really a great crisis afflicting the Faith - people being too hung up on "rules?"  How many Catholics accept all the Church believes nowadays - 5%?  10%?  I rather thought the problem was the other way around.  I am forced to wonder if this is not an attack on the previous two pontificates.  Where else has the Faith been taught whole and entire, with strong focus on the Truth we must adhere to, in the whole worldwide Church, but in the past two papacies?  Where else was the wrongness of contraception preached (ok, yes, traditional parishes), or the fact that divorce and remarriage constituted adultery, or any of a number of other topics. Perhaps I don't comprehend how the Church in S. America operates, but from the many bits I've read, they don't seem to point to a Church hung up on "rules" there, either.  I'm just not getting where all this heavy rhetorical artillery is directed.  At the tiny percentage of Catholics who are orthodox?  That's worthy of this frequent, severe criticism?  And, ok, let's jettison all that "difficult" talk about morality, etc., and just preach a message of love.  What kind of converts do we get, then?  Will these people really be converted to enter the Church and change their lives, or simply be, very comfortingly, confirmed in their sins?]

Even today there are those who think they have the key to knowledge and don’t open the door. Or even worse, they stop at the entrance, form a picket line and don’t let others in. [Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world (Matt 28:19)]  By doing so they sabotage Christ’s teaching, which says the opposite: “Go, go out into the world. Teach. Baptise. Go to street crossings and beckon everyone towards you. Good and bad. That is what Jesus says. Everyone in.”  [Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his
angels (Matt 25:41)]

According to Francis, the attitude of “keeping the key to the Church in his pocket, with the door closed” is part of a “spiritual and mental process”. This happens when “the faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology.” Pope Francis also traced some of the traits of the ideological caricatures of the Christian faith. “In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness.”  [And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew (Jn 2:15)] These “are rigid”. “The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements.”  [If you love me, keep my commandments (Jn 14:15)]  As happened in Jesus’ time, when  scholars of the law closed the door with lots of rules. “When a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought.”  [Like Scholasticsm?]  When Christianity begins to be seen as an ideology, it becomes repellent, keeping people away from the Christian experience, often giving a sense of self-satisfaction. “Ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people.” [But "unless you repent, you shall die in your sins" (Lk 13:3).  And how do we repent?  By "doing all that I command you" (Jn 14:15)].

“It is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians” but it is not new, Francis said. The Apostle John spoke of this in his First Letter: “be rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness. [I couldn't find this quote.  Perhaps 1 Cor 13:1]  This can be the question, no? But why is it that a Christian can become like this? Just one thing: this Christian does not pray. And if there is no prayer, you always close the door.”If a good Christian rebukes them, they react as the Pharisees did towards Jesus: “When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him.”  [But did Christ really oppose the Pharisees because of their rules, or because they had hard, sinful hearts that did not love God?  And how do we show our love for God, if we do not obey His Commands?  Commands to love, clothe, feed, and care for our brother, yes, but also commands not to fornicate, not to steal, not to kill the innocent, not to lust, or have great greed - or create false Gods.  "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but within you are full of rapine and uncleanness" (Matt 23:25).  The Faith is a whole. Perhaps those who strive to obey and practice all the Church believes, including the "hard sayings" of our modern times, could use more charity. I know I could. But, conversely, those who favor soft sentimentality could also use far more observance of the 10 Commandments.]

Everyone, even Popes, bishops and priests can be tempted to distort Christianity, turning it into an ideology. [Even popes and bishops......Even popes.......]  According to Francis what is at the root of this distortion is a failure to pray: “The key that opens the door to the faith is prayer.”  “And if there is no prayer, you always close the door.” He who does not pray is “arrogant, is proud, is sure of himself. He is not humble. He seeks his own advancement.”  “I say to pray, I do not say to say prayers, because these teachers of the law said many prayers” [perhaps this explains the ridicule directed at those who "count Rosaries?"]

————End Quote————–

There is actually quite a bit of challenging material in there.  Challenging in the sense that, I need to improve. I need to pray more. There is no question.  My prayer life has, I don’t know if stagnated is the right word, but it’s not grown like it probably should have.  I accept that.  But I don’t know if this straw man has to be built up and torn down to get to that point, to convince me to pray more.

I think there is a kernel of a point in this sermon that is valuable, but I think it is surrounded by rhetoric that may be profoundly destructive.  The fact that all apostolates must be founded on prayer, which should give way to humility and from there to charity, is a truly foundational, wonderful point.  But I think the straw mem surrounding  what is really a deep insight are not helpful, I imagine, on the souls who really could be reached (that is, the orthodox ones), as they will be turned away (at the door) by the picket line of rhetoric that seems to damn them for that very orthodoxy.

It is thought by some that the Holy Father’s rhetoric towards what is being perceived as a softer, warmer, fuzzier kind of Catholicism will bring lapsed Catholics back to the Faith. But what we are seeing is not a whole lot of souls suddenly demonstrating willingness to shed their pride and their error and their sin and re-enter the Church in great humility, but a great big progressive hootenany, with wild yelps of joy and much excitement, as the culture concludes that it was right all along, and the Church wrong.  People are being confirmed in their sin by this rhetoric, whether it is intentional or not. Those claiming a renewed interest in the Church, are doing so on an almost diabolically flawed basis – that the Church will no longer call their sin, sin, and that they are free to continue in it, while being “good” “Catholics.”

Thank goodness, I won’t have to think about this stuff for a week and a half.

Dominus vobiscum!

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Comments

1. Woody - October 19, 2013

He is a product of his upbringing, both physically and spiritually. I agree with your point about what the Church must be like in South America. Also, he is a Jesuit who was taught in the 60’s-70’s. I think that in order to understand where he is coming from you have to have a good grasp on liberation theology. I don’t. So, like you, I just go along and scratch my head. I want to understand but I just don’t. Thank goodness Jesus gave parables to the apostles to help them understand.

2. Don - October 19, 2013

From the Mirror of Justice site —

Here is the “Message of Pope Francis for World Mission Day 2013.” (Clearly, this is not — his unremarkable expressions of concern about inappropriate “proselytizing” notwithstanding — the message of a pope who wants Christians to put aside evangelization!). Here is a bit:

The work of evangelization often finds obstacles, not only externally, but also from within the ecclesial community. Sometimes there is lack of fervour, joy, courage and hope in proclaiming the Message of Christ to all and in helping the people of our time to an encounter with him. Sometimes, it is still thought that proclaiming the truth of the Gospel means an assault on freedom. Paul VI speaks eloquently on this: “It would be… an error to impose something on the consciences of our brethren. But to propose to their consciences the truth of the Gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ, with complete clarity and with total respect for free options which it presents… is a tribute to this freedom” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80). We must always have the courage and the joy of proposing, with respect, an encounter with Christ, and being heralds of his Gospel.

3. LaGallina - October 19, 2013

“I say to pray, I do not say to say prayers, because these teachers of the law said many prayers”

That’s exactly what one of my modernist priests told me once in confession (oops, I mean reconciliation). “Don’t worry to much about saying certain prayers. Just talk to God.”

That’s not what the Blessed Mother said to the children at Fatima. She told them to pray their rosaries and pray them well.

Advice like that (‘I do not say to say prayers”) is the death of Catholic prayer, the most powerful weapon we’ve got. Protestants don’t pray. Not really. They might talk to God and ask Him to “please help me with this and please help me with that, and thanks for such and such.” But that does little to add artillery to St. Michael’s army — like reciting the rosary does.

Now the pope is dissing Catholic prayer!!!

Fr. Clifford Smith - October 19, 2013

The Holy Father is right with respect to Catholic teaching on prayer, and you have missed the point. He said “I say to you pray.” Prayer is at its heart nothing less than conversation with God. Prayer is not merely a matter of words … Jesus said: Do not pray as others who presume they will get a hearing by the multiplicity of words. Formulae prayers, the Rosary and other sacraments should serve as jumping off points for deeper meditative and contemplative prayer. If you pray the Rosary will reflecting on its mysteries you are praying; if you pray (recite) the Rosary while planning your grocery shopping you are not praying … merely reciting words.

Why would you presume that protestants, in conversation with God, are not “really” praying? Talking to God is prayer! Read the section on prayer in the Catechism … read John of the Cross and Theresa of Avila. There are many protestants that pray the Rosary and be in line ahead of many Catholics entering into Salvation.

By the way, the proper name for the Sacrament is Penance, not confession or reconciliation.

Fr. Clifford Smith - October 19, 2013

That should be “sacramentals” in the first paragraph, not “sacraments.”

LaGallina - October 19, 2013

I grew up Protestant. I know that praying was at the Wed. night prayer meeting. And those prayers said for a blessing on a trip, or a request for healing, etc.

But the long hours spent in prayerful meditation, rosaries or St Michael prayers or Divine Office does not happen. That’s why they know scripture so well. They don’t have a way to spend extended hours with God in prayer so they read scripture. Reading scripture is great of course, and we Catholics need to do it more. But our rosaries are what is fighting the spiritual battle. And the average person could not even read until fairly recently. But they could certainly pray.

Yes, praying is talking to God. And. I often just “chat” with Him, but admonishing us not to pray in rote like the Pharisees is a Protestant idea. Protestants pride themselves on not needing “canned prayers” like the
Pharisees.

Praying the rosary while grocery shopping IS praying. I pray while I spend long hours in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. That doesn’t count as real prayer? I also get up before 5 am to pray and spend time alone with God before my 7 kids wake up. I am convinced that my Catholic prayers are the most powerful weapon that exists.

The same priest who told me not to “say prayers” also told me not to go to confession too often. I’m tired and heartbroken by my Catholic priests (and now pope) telling me not to be too Catholic.

St. Benedict's Thistle - October 20, 2013

I’m a protestant convert also. The Rosary is, in my humble estimation, the most powerful prayer I’ve encountered. It invites reflection on the Scriptural mysteries. New insights are a frequent occurrence for me.

Yes, occasionally my mind wanders, but I can say that my mind wanders when having a “talk” with God, too. This is just part of being human. It has nothing to do with the efficacy of the prayer.

The Rosary gives me a beautiful framework from which to pray for the world, the Church, my family, friends, vocations, etc.

It is very troubling to think that the Rosary is being actively suppressed in some instances.

LaGallina - October 19, 2013

Forgive me, Father. I should have started my little spiel by saying, “With all due.respect, Father.”

Woody - October 19, 2013

You are incorrect with regard to reciting the rosary while doing tasks during the day. It does count. YOU ARE PRAYING. Instead of doing the mundane task of “planning your grocery shopping” you pray the Our Father or Hail Mary or Memorare or The Angelus, etc.It takes a thought and effort and practice to suddenly say “I could be saying a rosary right now instead of thinking of nothing.” Those “multiplicity of words” are heard.
Also, while taking you to task, you are incorrect with your Cliff Notes on taking communion ONLY from priests and deacons. It is not superstition but reverence for our Lord Jesus Christ which drives some to only receive from ordained hands. Go read Redemptionis Sacramentum again.

Catechist Kev - October 21, 2013

Well Fr. Smith, I do not see the words “proper name” for the Sacrament in the CCC, but it does say:

I. WHAT IS THIS SACRAMENT CALLED?

1423 It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin.

It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.

1424 It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a “confession” – acknowledgment and praise – of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.

It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace.”

It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God.” He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother.”

Rev. C. G. Smith - October 22, 2013

Check the Decree by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, 1973: “Vatican Council II decreed that the Rite of Penance and formularies for the Sacrament of Penance are to be revised so that they may more clearly express both the nature and effect of this sacrament. In view of this the Congregation for Divine Worship has carefully prepared the new Rite of Penance so that the celebration of the sacrament may be more fully understood by the faithful.”

Rev. C. G. Smith - October 22, 2013

Perhaps a more thorough reading of the Catechism would help:1464 Priests must encourage the faithful to come to the sacrament of Penance and must make themselves available to celebrate this sacrament each time Christians reasonably ask for it.70

1465 When he celebrates the sacrament of Penance, the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return, and of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful. The priest is the sign and the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner. (983)

1468 “The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship.”73 Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation “is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation.”74 Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true “spiritual resurrection,” restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God.75 (2305)

1482 The sacrament of Penance can also take place in the framework of a communal celebration in which we prepare ourselves together for confession and give thanks together for the forgiveness received. Here, the personal confession of sins and individual absolution are inserted into a liturgy of the word of God with readings and a homily, an examination of conscience conducted in common, a communal request for forgiveness, the Our Father and a thanksgiving in common. This communal celebration expresses more clearly the ecclesial character of penance. However, regardless of its manner of celebration the sacrament of Penance is always, by its very nature, a liturgical action, and therefore an ecclesial and public action.91 (1140)

1480 Like all the sacraments, Penance is a liturgical action. The elements of the celebration are ordinarily these: a greeting and blessing from the priest, reading the word of God to illuminate the conscience and elicit contrition, and an exhortation to repentance; the confession, which acknowledges sins and makes them known to the priest; the imposition and acceptance of a penance; the priest’s absolution; a prayer of thanksgiving and praise and dismissal with the blessing of the priest.

1446 Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.”47 (979, 1856, 1990)

422 “Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.”4 (980)

Woody - October 22, 2013

Both of you are nitpicking. They are all names for the same sacrament. And if you insist on proper names, Father, the proper name for a lay minister of communion is EXTRAORDINARY Minister of Holy Communion. You might want to update your Cliff Notes on that one. My emphasis on the word “extraordinary” since you don’t follow that instruction anyway at St. Marks.

Molly - October 23, 2013

I have often wondered if rosaries said while I walk or drive somehow “count” less…but then I read this today:

“The 86-year-old retired pope “is well,” Archbishop Ganswein said. “He prays, reads, listens to music, dedicates himself to his correspondence, which is a lot, and receives visitors. Every day we walk together in the woods behind the monastery (where they live), reciting the rosary.”
(from an interview published Oct. 22 in the Rome newspaper Il Messaggero, English text copied from CNS)

And I think I am in good company.

4. Chris - October 19, 2013

I don’t think I’m stupid – granted, I have a lot to learn to about the Catholic faith – but I have absolutely no idea what Pope Francis is talking about. What does he mean by making an “ideology” out of faith? Who is keeping people away and closing the doors of churches? I think he’s speaking in riddles. My fear is that I may have to go to National Catholic Reporter to discover what he really means. And yes, of course, I too need to improve my prayer life, but I just don’t get the connection with what precedes this part of the sermon.

I really believe I’m developing too negative an attitude about Francis and that’s spiritually dangerous. I’m going on hiatus from Pope Francis and concentrate on prayer and examination of conscience.

Mal - October 20, 2013

Our ‘faith’ should not be just an ideology – a set of abstract ideas -with which we are comfortable and prepared to defend in debate. This attitude might keep others away from the Church.
The Pope is telling us this faith should be deeper than these ideas; it should be a product of our living and prayerful relationship with God. It is the faith and the love in this relationship that can bring others to God.

TG - October 20, 2013

Chris, I’m at the same frame of mind as you. I don’t really know what Pope Francis means and don’t want to judge him so I just don’t read it anymore. It remind of a lot of homilies I’ve heard, thinking afterwards – what the .. did he say. I too feel negative toward Pope Francis and want to stay away from criticizing him or even commenting. The Lord is in charge of his church.

5. Hannah - October 19, 2013

I’m so confused. There’s so much confusion. Does the Holy Father not know what’s he doing? *sigh*

6. Michael P.Mc Crory. - October 19, 2013

To be honest, I have not read all of your above blog but consider this.
All sincere informed catholics IE. Both you – the unhappy with this Pope’s approach- and I , the overjoyed with it ,all know that, for years,Pope after Pope have all said so many inspiring things about Christ and his teachings
( like Pope Francis is saying) YET how many people even heard ANY of it, and if some did it was mainly because the secular media reported it or, in much fewer instances, a minority of practicing Catholics got it from the catholic press etc
NOW the whole world is talking about . “…what the Pope says.”
Isn’t that awesome, fantastic- an incredible breakthrough, a watershed moment in our history? People really want to talk about the Popes thoughts on moral issues. You HAVE to see good in that, surely. Are you blind or something?
I can tell you that ( while it proves nothing) for over 40 years I have prayed two hours daily before the Blessed Sacrament – learned my Faith tolerably well, been an activist against bad trends in a declining Church (and bad priests ) and have little to show for my troubles. Honestly! I am an outsider in the Church I love.
I’m ready to try again – his way.
The Pope is right about ME for one. I need to start anew and follow his lead.
Give the man a break AND time. He is Jesuit trained, a clear thinker, smarter and more prayerful than many of us and has clearly done paid his dues in working in the trenches . He has sacrificed more than us ( me for sure) to become what he is.
This is not about beutiful Benedict and ‘bull in a china shop’ Francis. That’s daft talk.
It is the height of nonsense to talk that way about ANY Vicar of Christ.
As they say in Ireland:
Just WHO do you think you are?
The Church needs your gifts, your knowledge ( I learn much from you) but not your small mindedness – no doubt stemming from you still smarting over his
“I’m not exactly mad about promoting the Latin mass”
statements.
Read. ” The young of the world will NOT be brought into the fold nowadays via a Latin language unknown to them- regardless of what the bold Michael and you might think.”
That’s just not realistic is what the Pope is saying.

You harp on about how the young are flocking to Latin masses but give no figures about the far greater number coming into the fold via the English mass, imperfect as it still is in most parishes. As a reporter Michael should know better than to mislead folk this way. And I happen to agree whole -heartedly with him that the silence of professional Catholics when they ought to have spoken up has been deafening and cowardly.
Enough for now.
Just, please, lay off your anti- Pope Francis rhetoric. I promise you will rue the day if you don’t. You’re on a hiding to nothing with YOUR approach.

7. Michael P.Mc Crory. - October 19, 2013

Again!
“It is absurd to argue as torture people into believing.”

8. Martina - October 19, 2013

The Pope is a liberation theologian, the pupil of Lucio Gera and F. Scannone SJ, the” greatest Argentine theologian alive” who gives interviews about the “theology” of his pupil. The sooner we all realize this the better.

http://publicvigil.blogspot.de/2013/10/the-theology-of-pope-francis-interview.html

In the last months on Vaticaninsider and elsewhere all still living liberations theologian praised the Pope.: Leonardo Boff, Ernesto Cardenal, Carlos Maria Galli, Guiterrez even visited him etc.

Boff even thinks that the Pope will rehabiliate them:
…”that Francis could rehabilitate the more than 500 theologians condemned by the Church during the years when it was ruled by Ratzinger and Wojtyla, but that he doesn’t think he’ll do it “as long as Benedict XVI is alive.”….

http://iglesiadescalza.blogspot.de/2013/07/pope-francis-requests-copy-of-boff-book.html

9. Frank - October 19, 2013

See: Holiness is more than being “Nice.”
By: Msgr. Charles Pope.

http://shar.es/EOvqs

10. ex Che - October 19, 2013

Coming–not from Argentina–but from a part of the world with its fair share of Jesuits and liberation theologians, and having studied as well in the West, I can say from experience that the only ideologues I know are Jesuits and liberation theologians, and that they absolutely despise the rules of the Church. Who those ideologues are that cling to Church rules, I really don’t know either.

Woody - October 19, 2013

Do you know why? What is it that makes them want to break away from the past, say 500 years , of Church theological liturgy development?

Lorra - October 19, 2013

Quite right. And the oddest thing about these ideologues is that they never notice their own ideology. Or maybe they do. They just don’t want you to notice it.

11. TerryE - October 19, 2013

I venture that His Grooviness is not setting up one straw man after another with the attacks on traditionalists. He has a target. Traddie laity are a mere nuisance to the clerics of the Church Of What’s Happening Now. HG has set his sights on criticizing his clerical colleagues with traditional leanings. He has resumed the revolution and is on the offensive. If HG can destroy traditional Catholic champions in the hierarchy and traditional Catholic institutions, the traditionalism will fade away. I venture that this is HG’s vision.

12. Marg - October 19, 2013

Why do I get the impression Pope Francis is criticizing those Catholics who are trying to be faithful to the teachings of the Church as if there is something wrong in that? Case in point. Why is it that women praying outside of abortion mills for babies who will never see the light of day are villified as judgmental and uncharitable? While the slaughter that goes on inside is an issue we shouldn’t dwell on? Our Pope seems to be in a time warp where little old ladies are still fingering their Rosaries during Mass and our wise youth “needs to mess up the Church”. Well, time warp aside, the Church has been “messed up” for the last 50+ years already and villifying those who are trying to hang on to the last vestige of their faith in a deviant-defined culture is, in my opinion, incomprehensible.

Lorra - October 19, 2013

Because, whether Francis realizes it or not, he is criticizing faithful Catholics. And marginalizing them.

13. MMC - October 19, 2013

So we aren’t to call out sinners for repentance? Or else like the Pharisees they will get together and plot against us? Our Lord called out sinners (non-Pharisees) ALL the time:

1- The first words out of Our Lord’s mouth, the words that began His entire earthly ministry “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.” (Matthew 4: 17)

2- The Lament over the Laketowns (Matthew 12: 20-24) “Then He began to reproach the towns in which most of His miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent….”

3- Correcting the Jews about divorce “Now I say this to you: the man who divorces his wife-I am not speaking of fornication- and marries another, is guilty of adultery.” (Matthew 19:9)

4- The real reason He ever ate with sinners “It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)

That’s just the beginning of His remonstrations to people in general…let alone an entire chapter admonishing the Pharisees (Matthew 23) where He also includes all of Jerusalem “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you refused! So be it! Your house will be left to you desolate, for, I promise, you shall not see me any more until you say ‘Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:28) He condemns the lawyers in Scripture too (Luke 11: 32).

Pope Francis does not quote Scripture often, well or in context maybe b/c Scripture is entirely against what he speaks. Prayers for this Pope! God bless~

Mal - October 20, 2013

MMC, I had the same thoughts for quite some time. Just as Lorra (below) has! However, I have begun to understand this man of God.
He does want sinners to repent and come to God. He spoke very passionately about sin, repentance and confession. It is clear that he believes that Catholics need to establish an unconditional and true relationship with God. He does not want us to be superficial Catholics or cultural ones – like the Pharisees.
He believes that we could only successfully evangelize with a renewed spirit which is strengthened by sincere prayer.
Jesus is not an abstract idea ((for the ideologues) but the Holy One who redeemed us, reconciled us to God
Francis believes that Jesus needs to be shown in our lives and not used to win intellectual debates.

TG - October 20, 2013

Mal, that what my sister thinks about Pope Francis. I understand that point because from my own experience, nothing anyone could have told me would make me repent and come back to the church. For me it was the death of my father which led me to think about eternal life. With my own children in dealing with them with love, they respond better to me. My son and I had a lot of tension when I was being “judgmental” (at least that’s how my son saw it). When I acted with love and just try to witness in small things, he is responding better. He lets me take my grandson to religion class to receive his Holy Communion and doesn’t look at it as negative and supports it. So I pray the Holy Spirit is not done with my son. I hope that is what Pope Francis is trying to do. However, it is discouraging when he seems to be insulting traditional Catholics.

14. Lorra - October 19, 2013

I wonder if he realizes he has his own ideology?

Mal - October 20, 2013

He does, Lorra, and this is why he feels the need to pray constantly. He does not want us to present our faith as a set of abstract ideas, but as a loving and meaningful relationship with God.
He believes that we should fervently pray; not just say prayers.
An ideologue’s love could be confined to words, but a Catholic’s love is seen in action.
I am old but it is time I realise how ideological I have been.

15. ton in ohio - October 20, 2013

The first paragraph is the best one. To whom is this accusation of “closing doors” addressed? And is an obsession with rules really a problem in today’s church?. Hone in on that in subsequent paragraphs instead of using the words Jesus will use (they are not ours) at judgment time. I have been Catholic for 13 years and heard sermons on contraception twice, except in FSSP churches (which I started to attend a year ago). It is not legalism that is the problem today but permissiveness. I have heard an explanation of our position on abortion maybe twice as well. Almost every wedding in our parishes has been between cohabitators. ETC

16. Kevin A. McGrath - October 20, 2013

I think Americans often forget that Pope Francis (or any Pope) is trying to address the entire world and not just (if even) the American situation. I don’t think we need assume that Pope Francis has any particular situation in mind, but is rather addressing what can often happen in the Church.
Mostly on the blogosphere, I have seen Catholics who have created a blend of Catholic teaching, libertarian principles and tea party politics, basically accusing anyone who opposes the government shutdown, thinks maybe it’s a good thing for the government to provide assistance to the poor, or that we should give a hoot about illegal immigrants as being bad Catholics.
Likewise, I have been involved in Catholic groups ['faith-sharing groups,' e.g.] where not accepting the Democrat platform hook, line and sinker is a kind of apostasy.
It cuts both ways. When our version of the ‘Faith’ is simply a basket of things that represents ‘the world as I see it’ – that’s what I think the Pope means by ideologies in the Church. And they really DO keep people away from the doors of the Church.

17. lisag - October 20, 2013

Pope Francis seems to want to rattle cages. He must have had these “feelings” for a long time. I agree that the description he gives of an mean unfeeling do not exist anywhere that I know of. What Catholic feels threatened by “harsh” rules? Most Catholics do what they want when they want to including gays, unmarried, married and the undocumented. Then why is Pope Francis trying to make everyone uncomfortable? Is he just tying to wake his flock up because he knows something is coming soon?

18. Vince - October 21, 2013

Vatican Council II opened the doors to the Church to just about every innovation possible. Perhaps the Church in Argentina is in dire straits and he’s judging all Churches by the divide that exists there. Don’t know but to say the Church is closing in on itself makes no sense. Even country clubs have some rules. Why shouldn’t the Catholic Church?

19. Mary Griffin - October 21, 2013

I think you are completely missing the point that Pope Francis is making, and you’re missing the point because of your ideology. Pope Francis is telling us that ideology is opposed to faith, which is exactly the same thing Pope Benedict XVI said. If you’re interested, see my post on this at:

http://catholicinbrooklyn.blogspot.com/2013/10/are-you-driven-by-faith-or-ideology.html

20. MMC - October 21, 2013

Love is not a “feeling” it is a “willing the good” for the other. And the heart of love is truth. We cannot base how we treat other based on their possible negative reactions to us, especially when they are emotional addicts, possible agents of the enemy, and clueless beyond belief. We are called to judge another’s actions…not their hearts or salvation…in order to help them avoid sin and grow in holiness. The most “loving” thing you can do with lost people is to educate, train, lead, and correct them in kindness. “Admonishing the sinner” is a spiritual work of mercy…i.e. authentic love.

Our country is addicted to emotions…lives them, breathes them…and it’s time to grow up and start letting our intellect and will drive the bus with Jesus/the Church as navigator. Emotions lie…emotions are fickle and change with the wind. Emotions are meant to be managed and we are meant to lead lives of a purified mind, heart and will.

Pope Francis may speak about confession and sin but he also rips the carpet out on the other side and does not speak in terms of absolutes which is Truth itself. He also promotes enabling (“God does not reject that gay person but walks alongside him in mercy”). FYI: God also removes Himself from the person who practices and promotes homosexual behavior (no more sanctifying grace)…He removes their Guardian angel too and tells us in Matt 18 and 1 Cor 5 to remove them from the Church and to treat them like pagans if they are formed Christians and refuse to repent. God also allows them to be put into an iniquity,(Romans 1) calls their sin one of the four worst, allows disease, disorder and death into their lives and if they refuse to repent, loves them right into eternal hell. Yes, there is mercy in that He doesn’t kill them instantly and gives them time to repent, even using actual grace on them to help them wake up but He also uses justice. With us Catholics, it’s always BOTH. And that’s what Pope Francis never talks about. Justice, truth, the reality of the way things truly are. That is true kindness and mercy.

Pope Francis is supposed to be OUR Shepherd…not the worlds. He is supposed to lead OUR faithful flock, not turn into a wolf that mocks those who see rules and rote prayers as the beautiful gifts they are. He is supposed to be feeding Christ’s faithful and instead are feeding the wolves that we have to deal with on a daily basis. If Pope Francis spoke like a true Catholic, none of us would be having these conversations and the world would not be celebrating him. My faith is not an “ideology” it is lived out truth of who I am, where I came from, and where I am going. And virtually every single thing this Pope has said in the two interviews (America, atheist) felt like a demonic attack. He needs our prayers. Thankfully we will always have Our awesome God and King…and our beloved Queen and Mother when the times get bad. Viva Christo Rey! God bless~

LaGallina - October 22, 2013

Exactly.

21. Michael P. Mc Crory. - October 22, 2013

Quote from Regis Martin:My own theory is that amid all the materialism of modern life, the ever expanding comfort zone of bourgeois culture, a world unwilling to set limits on the pursuit of appetite and pleasure, a terrible forgetfulness of God began, as a result of which too many Catholics found themselves unprepared for the excesses if the sixties. There were no more reserves, as it were, of heroic sanctity on which they could draw.

Is there a way out? Certainly there is and Pope Francis, the latest in a series of wise and holy popes, has given us the road map. In his remarks this past July to the young people of the world, who had come to Brazil to reconnect with Christ and the Church, he urged them (and urges us) to heed the advice of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. When asked what needed to change in the Church, she replied that the starting point is always and everywhere the same: the soul of each human being whom Christ came to redeem. “This woman showed determination,” the Pope exclaimed. “And today I make her words my own and I say to you: shall we begin? Where? With you and me! Each one of you, once again in silence, ask yourself: if I must begin with myself, where exactly do I start? Each one of you, open his or her heart, so that Jesus may tell you where to start.”
Sound words.
I am seriously looking to make big changes in my life as a Christian, as a result of the example of this wonderful, exciting man, Pope Francis. Please pray that I do and GET BACK TO ME.

22. Mal - October 22, 2013

I did say a prayer for you, Michael. We all need prayers, even the Pope who regularly asks people to pray for him.
Thank you for reproducing that very meaningful statement made by the Pope: “Shall we begin? Where? With you and me!”
Yes, it does start with you and me.
The self-righteous young man, the Pharisees and Sadducees who observed the law – and bragged about it – were not our Lord’s followers. However, the sinners and prostitutes, who were touched by the Lord, repented and followed him.
Imagine this scene: A mob had dragged a very frightened woman along the pebbled streets to the edge of town. She was condemned as a sinner having committed adultery. They formed a circle around her to complete the process. They have more than enough stones for the purpose.
Jesus comes into the scene. He changes the focus from this sinner to the condemners, sinners who fail to acknowledge their own wrongdoings. Grudgingly they walk away.
The woman is saved. She sees love and compassion in our Lord. She was now prepared to listen to him when he said: Go and Sin no more.
The Pope wants us to evangelize but knows that we need to have the love of Christ in us so that we could show this love to others and, hopefully, influence them to turn away from sinful ways.
To tell you the truth, Michael, we all fall short and only faith and prayer can sustain us.

23. Marguerite - October 22, 2013

So all the previous Popes who issued encyclicals and articles of faith were just a bunch of Pharisees loading regulations on the backs of Catholics and impeding them from loving one another? The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that dogmas and doctrines are the lights that keep one’s faith secure. As someone above wrote, feelings should be guided by intellect and truth, not the other way around.

24. Vince - October 22, 2013

Let’s face it,the Pope is anti-doctrinal. Plain and simple. So now the weapon of choice to bludgeon faithful Catholics is called “ideology”. Our doctrines are to serve one purpose—to lead Catholics to truth. They are not antithetical to charity. Doctrine should not be dismissed because one particular pope does not find them important. I wonder how many enclyclicals Pope Francis will write during his Papacy?

25. Vince - October 22, 2013

Sadly, anything Pope Francis says now I, unfortuntely, will scrutinize with a raised eyebrow as to it’s relevance. Case in point is today’s headline: “Pope meets with embattled German bishop to discuss diocesan spending”. With the Catholic Church in Germany going under for the third time, this is the most important thing to discuss?

26. Marguerite - October 22, 2013

A Lutheran friend of mine, married to a Catholic, once questioned me why the Church wouldn’t allow her to receive Holy Communion. I explained why as best I could but she thought the Church was being divisive and mean-spirited. It put some stress on our friendship but I had to tell her the truth without compromise. Long story short, she subsequently found her way into the Catholic Church despite my being a meany and “alienating” her from receiving Holy Communion. She is now a staunch Catholic (remember that word) and teaches RCIA at her church.

Caritas in Veritas –Charity in Truth . I think this is an Encylical of Pope Benedict XVI.

27. skeinster - October 22, 2013

We had an excellent homily this Sunday on how we should handle possible disconcerting statements, etc.
From my notes:

He began with an account of the papal shenanigans at the late ninth century Synod of Rome and afterwards re: Pope Formosis and his successors.
We weather the storms because the Church is the work of God.

What we can do:
Keep calm and retain perspective. Stay in the Ark; it can’t sink. It’s a salvation issue- union with Christ involves union with the Pope, our bishop and our priest. If we keep our spiritual life strong, we will have calm hearts. The kind the Lord can work in. The Devil fishes in turbulent waters.

The Pope cannot change anything essential to salvation. This doesn’t mean that he can’t make your life difficult, though.

Get closer to Our Lady, who remained faithful at the foot of the cross. Use the Scapular and Rosary.

Don’t be scandalized (i.e. led into sin by another’s words or deeds.)

Beware “ecclesiastical p@rn”- the books, newspapers and websites that inflame the passions. Replace them with good reading. Like real p@rn, I think we can recognize this when we see it- and feel the effects.

If this appears on audiosancto, it’s a good one to hear in its entirety.

28. Samiul Sheikh Jahid - October 22, 2013

Ecclesia Catholica Romana
This website is humbly dedicated to the Queen of Heaven, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Ave Maria! Please feel free to browse around this website. You will find many resources, in different languages, online forums, audio and video resources, and much more. There are a lot of features now, and in development. Sign up for a free account to access much hidden content. Hail Holy Queen!
Go To :>> http://www.ecclesiacatholicaromana.org/

29. Michael P. Mc Crory. - October 23, 2013

From ST Pius X
Therefore, when we love the Pope, there are no discussions regarding what he orders or demands, or up to what point obedience must go, and in what things he is to be obeyed; when we love the Pope, we do not say that he has not spoken clearly enough, almost as if he were forced to repeat to the ear of each one the will clearly expressed so many times not only in person, but with letters and other public documents; we do not place his orders in doubt, adding the facile pretext of those unwilling to obey – that it is not the Pope who commands, but those who surround him; we do not limit the field in which he might and must exercise his authority; we do not set above the authority of the Pope that of other persons, however learned, who dissent from the Pope, who, even though learned, are not holy, because whoever is holy cannot dissent from the Pope.

This is the cry of a heart filled with pain, that with deep sadness I express, not for your sake, dear brothers, but to deplore, with you, the conduct of so many priests, who not only allow themselves to debate and criticize the wishes of the Pope, but are not embarrassed to reach shameless and blatant disobedience, with so much scandal for the good and with so great damage to souls.

Saint Pius X
Allocution Vi ringrazio to priests on the 50th anniversary of the Apostolic Union
November 18, 1912
Labels: Anniversaries, Pascendi Centennial


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