Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pope Francis latest homily



When reading the remarks of Pope Francis over the last few days, one cannot help but notice a theme emerging.

He perceives the Church before his arrival as a place that has been excluding and treating sinners harshly.


In his homily to his see, he portrays Jesus as walking around healing 'nearly everyone' He came upon.

That com-passion which made him draw near to every person in pain!

He most certainly did not.

The Christ we read about in Scripture makes very clear that His gifts are reserved. He was very selective about who He healed.

He excluded an entire race of gentiles, whom he referred to as dogs. You certainly don't see Him flitting about from town to town healing unrepentant sinners.

Perhaps he has once again not conveyed his thoughts clearly enough, but he seems to leave one with the impression that sin does not make a person unclean:

Compassion leads Jesus to concrete action: he reinstates the marginalized! These are the three key concepts that the Church proposes in today’s liturgy of the word: the compassion of Jesus in the face of marginalization and his desire to reinstate.

Marginalization: Moses, in his legislation regarding lepers, says that they are to be kept alone and apart from the community for the duration of their illness. He declares them: "unclean!"

The references about lepers are theological lessons on sin.

What's next?

An Adam and Eve who isn't thrown out of paradise?


He then goes on, if I understand his analogy correctly, to suggest there is an inquisition before a soul is absolved in the Sacrament of Confession, a 'study of the situation and all it's possible consequences' before restoring a soul to Sacramental Grace:

Jesus, the new Moses, wanted to heal the leper. He wanted to touch him and restore him to the community without being "hemmed in" by prejudice, conformity to the prevailing mindset or worry about becoming infected. Jesus responds immediately to the leper’s plea, without waiting to study the situation and all its possible consequences! For Jesus, what matters above all is reaching out to save those far off, healing the wounds of the sick, restoring everyone to God’s family! And this is scandalous to some people!

There is nothing in the pews but sinners who are struggling with their desires to sin.

What people does he suggest are scandalized by the very mission of Christ's Church? I have never met such an individual.

And more importantly, other than being a baptized Catholic, which is presumed, where are these examinations taking place?

I object to this mischaracterization. This is not what is happening. At all.

What is happening is, people sitting in the pews who object to Church teaching are forbidding it to be taught because they are offended by it. In the absence of teaching our children their religion, all kinds of stupid statements are being made. Like having same sex desires is not something our children have to make judgments upon, there is virtue in same sex or living together outside of the Sacrament of Marriage - to name a few. This then misleads children to reject the catechesis we teach at home. Ultimately, this model perverts the minds of catechized children. We've been there done that and have lost several generations of children to it.

Nobody even knows what kind of sex other people are having until they make an issue out of it. They make an issue out of it when Church teaching is presented to children belonging to families that practice our religion.

This is what is missing from the practices he is suggesting the Church formally adopt.


Jesus is not afraid of this kind of scandal! He does not think of the closed-minded who are scandalized even by a work of healing, scandalized before any kind of openness, by any action outside of their mental and spiritual boxes, by any caress or sign of tenderness which does not fit into their usual thinking and their ritual purity. He wanted to reinstate the outcast, to save those outside the camp...

There are two ways of thinking and of having faith: we can fear to lose the saved and we can want to save the lost. Even today it can happen that we stand at the crossroads of these two ways of thinking. The thinking of the doctors of the law, which would remove the danger by casting out the diseased person, and the thinking of God, who in his mercy embraces and accepts by reinstating him and turning evil into good, condemnation into salvation and exclusion into proclamation.

These two ways of thinking are present throughout the Church’s history: casting off and reinstating. Saint Paul, following the Lord’s command to bring the Gospel message to the ends of the earth (cf. Mt 28:19), caused scandal and met powerful resistance and great hostility, especially from those who demanded unconditional obedience to the Mosaic law, even on the part of converted pagans. Saint Peter, too, was bitterly criticized by the community when he entered the house of the pagan centurion Cornelius (cf. Acts 10).

The Church’s way, from the time of the Council of Jerusalem, has always always been the way of Jesus, the way of mercy and reinstatement. This does not mean underestimating the dangers of letting wolves into the fold, but welcoming the repentant prodigal son; healing the wounds of sin with courage and determination; rolling up our sleeves and not standing by and watching passively the suffering of the world. The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for eternity; to pour out the balm of God’s mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart. The way of the Church is precisely to leave her four walls behind and to go out in search of those who are distant, those on the "outskirts" of life. It is to adopt fully God’s own approach, to follow the Master who said: "Those who are well have no need of the physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call, not the righteous but sinners to repentance" (Lk 5:31-32).

In healing the leper, Jesus does not harm the healthy. Rather, he frees them from fear. He does not endanger them, but gives them a brother. He does not devalue the law but instead values those for whom God gave the law.

For the Pope to suggest this model does not devalue the law ignores 50 years worth of consequences and outcome of its practice. Debasing the law to make people feel valued has robbed generations of Catholics of Sacramental Grace and salvation.

It is a model we have no intention of accepting.

Even if one were to distort every Scripture reading of Christ and His ministry, one cannot escape the final exhortation and explanation of Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church:

He that hurteth, let him hurt still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is just, let him be justified still: and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still. [12] Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works. [13] I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. [14] Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. [15] Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.

I Jesus have sent my angel, to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and stock of David, the bright and morning star. [17] And the spirit and the bride say: Come. And he that heareth, let him say: Come. And he that thirsteth, let him come: and he that will, let him take the water of life, freely. [18] For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book. [19] And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from these things that are written in this book. [20] He that giveth testimony of these things, saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

[21] The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Christ we read about in Scripture makes very clear that His gifts are reserved. He was very selective about who He healed.

He excluded an entire race of gentiles, whom he referred to as dogs. You certainly don't see Him flitting about from town to town healing unrepentant sinners.


Carol, in your legitimate disgust for the Pope's misguided homiletics, you are taking one segment of Scripture out of context and using it to define Christ's entire ministry.

If Christ "excluded an entire race of gentiles," then why did He bother with a Roman centurion who came to Him asking that He heal his severely ill servant (Mt. 8: 5-13)? Why, after the centurion told Him that He didn't need to enter his home to heal the servant, did Christ proclaim, "I have never found anyone in Israel with such great faith"?

Why would He even bother to go to Tyre in the first place, since it was Gentile territory? Christ and His Apostles couldn't find rest in all of Israel? Why wouldn't He just tell the woman "no" if your interpretation is correct?

Have you considered the possibility that He was trying to draw out the woman in Matthew 15 to make a greater point? I suggest you take a look at this link:

http://christianthinktank.com/qcrude.html

You say that Christ didn't "flit from town to town healing unrepentant sinners." Well, how many people did Christ heal who refused to repent, afterward? You forget that Christ ate with sinners in St. Matthew's house (Matthew 9, Mark 2) and that He dined with a tax collector, Zacchaeus, who repented after Jesus publicly said He would eat with him.

You've also forgotten about the Samaritan woman in John 4. The fact that Christ even talked with her was a big social taboo at that time. Yet if he didn't talk to this woman living in obvious sin, He likely never would have made inroads in Samaria -- and she, likely, would not have repented.

You make it sound as if people had to be good enough to merit Christ's healing touch. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You have forgotten that Christ's ultimate mission was for the entire human race -- to the Jews first, certainly, but not to the exclusion of the Gentiles. His ultimate mission was to die on the cross to atone for humanity's sin, to redeem anybody who repented and accepted His sacrifice on their behalf (which atheists don't do) and to reconcile those who embrace Him to the Father.

I strongly suggest that you attend a regular Bible study, if you don't already, to expand your knowledge.

I also suggest that you do not become so infatuated with your anger that you become what you oppose.

TTC said...

I thought about incorporating these exceptions to Christ's exclusion of the race of Gentiles, and they are exceptions, but I cut that corner because I am speaking here to educated Catholics and felt it was too obvious to delve into these exceptions.

Who would deny that Christ excluded Gentiles, I said to myself!

This is what I get for cutting a corner!

In each of these exceptions, Christ made the Gentiles publicly express their faith and belief or remorse.

I can't go through every exception here. I would stay out of Christian think tanks to explain Scrpture. They do no have the fullness of the Truth and many of their materials are off of the reservation.



TTC said...

Also, kindly note, Christ's ultimate mission was to save the human race through the Sacraments of His One Holy Cathokic and Apostolic Church.

'DIS & 'DAT said...

Very good analysis Carol. I admire all the effort you put into it. Please continue.

Seems to me Pope Francis is suggesting Jesus went about healing folks willy-nilly with no requirements, no commitment and no motive. This is not the case at all as we well know.

In yesterday's Gospel the leper asked Jesus to heal him only if He wished to. Then "He told the cured leper not to tell anyone but go show yourself to the priest and offer what is prescribed". In other words there are requirements. It is necessary to do penance.

Jesus asked the leper for an acknowledge of change as He does us. Our job is to ask God how we can help Him to save us. In yesterday Gospel the leper (us as sinners) must go to the priest, confess our sins and do penance.

There is a cost to salvation: we must make our will God's will.

Michael Dowd

Anonymous said...

That was quite a condescending diatribe anon.....I guess you're not a regular here....me thinks you might just be one of those sourpusses the Bishop of Rome loves to talk about.

CathTradBoston said...

TTC thanks, as always, for taking the time to present this blog.

Pope Francis seems to be on a mission turn the Church in an institution that excludes and treats Catholics harshly, some examples.


"Old maid!"

"Fomenter of coprophagia!"

"Rosary counter!"

"Self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian!"

"Restorationist!"

"Ideological Christians!"

"Pelagian!"

"Rigid Christians!"

"Modern gnostics!"

"Superficial Christians!"

"Slaves of superficiality!"

"Museum mummy!"

"Renaissance prince!"

"Gnostic!"

"Authoritarian!"

"Elitist!"

"Querulous and disillusioned pessimist!"

"Children! Afraid to dance! To cry! Afraid of everything!"

"Creed-reciting, parrot Christian!"

"Watered-down faith, weak-hoped Christian!"

"Inquisitorial beater!"

"Seminarians who grit their teeth and wait to finish,
follow rules and smile [who] reveal the hypocrisy of clericalism - one of the worst evils!"

"Fundamentalist!"

"Smarmy, idolator priest!"

"Religious who have a heart as sour as vinegar!"

"Older people nostalgic for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world!"

"Young people addicted to fashion!"

"Christian hypocrites only interested in their formalities!"

So much sterility within our Mother Church: when because of the weight of the hope in the Commandments, that pelagianism that all of us carry within our bones, she becomes sterile. She believes she is capable of giving birth… no, she can’t!

'DIS & 'DAT said...

CathTradBoston. Love your list. Pope Francis is a funny guy, inventive too. We should look forward to his appearance on Saturday Night Live where he can vituperate to his heart's content.

Michael Dowd

TTC said...

I know, I forgot about some of these. LOL.

TTC said...

Matthew 10:7
Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

I wish I had more time to give a Scripture lesson on Christ's narrow gate.

The Catholic Church is a place to approach on one's knees. Sinful and sorrowful. Not puffed up with pride waving flags boasting about their adulterous sex in the faces of other families in the pews.

He evidently has no idea what the problem has been for the last 50 years and that is simply unnacceptable.





Anonymous said...

Message from your bishop:

Shut up! You're nothing but a woman, and women need to keep silent in the Church.

Oh, wait... we now want to hear from women and put them in positions of influence. Oops, okay. Sorry.

But wait... you're the wrong KIND of woman.

Shut up!

LOL.

DJR

TLM said...

Yet another one of the Holy Father's 'homilies'. His theme seems to be constant. Go to the sinners, take them into full union with the Church WITHOUT any repentance (and to be sure) not any 'Confession' nor penance. And woe be to the 'pharisees' that want to follow any 'rules'. Tradition is out and now it is 'anything goes'. This is exactly what I keep getting out of these 'homilies.' Same ol' same ol', but if anyone at this point questions where he is coming from, they aren't paying attention.

Seppe said...

Watching the Pope deliver his homily (via televised Mass), and observing his tone and emphasis, my reaction was the same as yours. Up until now, the Pope implies that the Church has been so cruel, so legalistic; but now HE is going to change all that. Now, HE is going to bring in all the "marginalized" (whether they like it or not)... Just think how "marginalized" those poor ISIS chaps must feel... why doesn't the Pope "reach out" to them and bring them to the Vatican to sing kumbaya with him?! They can sit in a circle and talk about the compassion and mercy of Allah toward all the "unbelievers"... Bring in the murderers, the pedophiles, the rapists, the LGBTs, they're all so marginalized... Anything goes now...

It also sounds like the Pope is setting things up, laying the groundwork, for the Synod on the Family, when he will really make a "lío" - a "rucus"... and ~finally~ make the Church the way it should have been all along, like HE says it should be, without all those silly, mean rules... is that not unbelievable pride?

Anonymous said...

The most troubling items I see with this particular homily is 1) pope Francis seems to be suggesting that our blessed Lord lacked prudence. he says, "Jesus responds immediately to the lepers plea, without waiting to study the situation and all its possible consequences"

Jesus makes rash decisions that's what we want our children to do don't think things through if you love someone just show them. Did Katie Perry write this homily?

2) he juxtaposed the thinking of the doctors of the law and the thinking of God. Did I miss something in this week's gospel? It didn't say what anyone was thinking it spoke about their actions. God gave Moses and Aaron certain regulations regarding lepers. Why do we villainize the religious leaders they treated them according to the regulations of the law. If we are going to compare and contrast these two ways of treating lepers and conclude that one way is bad. Did God then command them to treat lepers poorly and unjustly? Is God of two minds. Is there an old testament God and a new testament God? Isn't that a heresy? Manacheeism? This is what happens when you preach an agenda instead of the gospel you distort the picture, the face of Christ.the way the truth and the life

James Campbell said...

The most troubling items I see with this particular homily is 1) pope Francis seems to be suggesting that our blessed Lord lacked prudence. he says, "Jesus responds immediately to the lepers plea, without waiting to study the situation and all its possible consequences"

Jesus makes rash decisions that's what we want our children to do don't think things through if you love someone just show them. Did Katie Perry write this homily?

2) he juxtaposed the thinking of the doctors of the law and the thinking of God. Did I miss something in this week's gospel? It didn't say what anyone was thinking it spoke about their actions. God gave Moses and Aaron certain regulations regarding lepers. Why do we villainize the religious leaders they treated them according to the regulations of the law. If we are going to compare and contrast these two ways of treating lepers and conclude that one way is bad. Did God then command them to treat lepers poorly and unjustly? Is God of two minds. Is there an old testament God and a new testament God? Isn't that a heresy? Manacheeism? This is what happens when you preach an agenda instead of the gospel you distort the picture, the face of Christ.the way the truth and the life

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something in this week's gospel? It didn't say what anyone was thinking it spoke about their actions. God gave Moses and Aaron certain regulations regarding lepers. Why do we villainize the religious leaders they treated them according to the regulations of the law. If we are going to compare and contrast these two ways of treating lepers and conclude that one way is bad. Did God then command them to treat lepers poorly and unjustly? Is God of two minds. Is there an old testament God and a new testament God? Isn't that a heresy? Manacheeism?

Unfortunately, James, Manecheism is the de facto positions many (if not most) Christians take regarding the OT. That's true with Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, etc. It's not only a matter of biblical illiteracy. It's also a matter of not understanding that God does not change His fundamental character. If He did, then He would be as capricious and arbitrary as the gods and goddesses of other pantheons.

St. Paul wrote to St. Timothy that all Scripture is inspired by God and, as such, is good for teaching, correction, reproof, etc. (2 Timothy 3:16). Since the NT was not yet canonzied -- indeed, much of the NT had not yet been written -- St. Paul was referring to the OT. Unfortunately, too many Christians across the board -- especially in the clergy -- have forgotten or disregarded that fact.