At least this is what the press is implying.
While following doctrine is important, those who focus solely on its strict observance can "reduce the Spirit and the Son to a law," Pope Francis said Oct. 6 during an early morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican residence where he lives...
“This attachment to the law makes one ignore the Holy Spirit. It does not allow the power of Christ’s redemption to come forward with the Holy Spirit,” he said. “This was the problem of these people: they ignored the Holy Spirit and didn’t know how to go forward. They were closed, closed in requirements: ‘do this, do that.’ We too, at times, can fall in this temptation.”
The second attitude, he continued, is to “sadden the Holy Spirit” when Christians allow their lives to be led by the “theology of the law” rather than “the freedom of the spirit.”
In doing so, he said, “we become lukewarm and fall into Christian mediocrity because the Holy Spirit cannot do great works in us.”
We all know what he's talking about here but his flight of thought did not arrive at its destination. Again.
In his own vocation, his rigid adherence to the discipline of celibacy is not stifling 'the freedom of the Spirit' or 'reducing the Holy Ghost to the Son to a law'.
Married people who rigidly avoid sexual attractions to others are not making the Holy Spirit sad.
Single Catholics who rigidly resist temptations to shack up with some eyecandy are not 'closed, closed in requirements' of 'do this, do that'.
Frankly, I don't take the shine to the Holy Father's ad nauseum use of the word 'rigid'.
It does a great disservice to Sanctifying Grace.
When you observe a person "rigidly" resisting temptation, what you are looking at is a person who is so deeply in love, all of their desires are invested in their beloved.
You are looking at a person who has experienced temptation when the going got rough but values the relationship with God and their beloved too much to pursue the temptation.
You are looking at a person who knows how to use the Sacraments and prayer to stifle temptation or remove oneself from the situation. You are looking at Sanctifying Grace in action.
Ironically, I "think" this is the exact point he is trying to make?
I am tired of having Sacramental Grace described as a flaw or vice with the use of the word 'rigid'.
Recently, I was making weekend plans with a friend. I casually mentioned Mass while trying to find a time for a rendezvous. She told me she could never find time to go to Mass on Sundays because she's busy.
Here is a person who has reduced Christ to a Son of the Law.
Millions of baptized Catholics have lost their intimacy with Christ. They see the Church as a legal dictatorship that prevents them from the 'happiness' of the friends with benefits and contraception secular culture.
They are the people who have reduced Christ to a Son of the Law.
They've distanced themselves from the love of God.
Implying a voice that lures us into mortal sin is the Holy Spirit and caricaturing the use of Sanctifying Grace to successfully resist temptation as some form of diabolical inflexibility -- this is not helpful. At all.
If any 'spirit' invites you to the 'freedom' to break a Commandment, it is NOT the Holy Spirit.
Communicating theology to the uncatechized and the diabolically disoriented is a skill that requires a connection to and understanding of the mystical world.
Any time an evangelist is working on conversion or catechesis, demonic activity will flock to the peanut gallery. They will quickly look for what isn't said and use it to their advantage.
This is why people experienced with this phenomenon communicate in a way that thwarts this activity.
It takes a lot of trial and error. Few do it perfectly. We are much better at it when we can take the time to think, write, edit or have something prepared. It is very difficult in off the cuff conversations. This is why two millennia of popes did not expose the papacy to demonic vultures. It is not a missionary role. The papacy is about supplying spiritual food to starving intellects and souls.
It's not about the money. It's not about food for hungry stomachs. It's not about the quality of air. It's not about the weather.
This papacy is going badly in its mission.
It is true that some of the things the Holy Father is saying are being misunderstood, such as this homily. But the problem lies with the communication of that theology not the reception of it.
But the problem is much bigger than communication.
Three years later, the only effort made by the Holy Father to fix his communication problem is the deliberate effort to undermine and replace faithful theologians with known heretics.
So, in the family, we are not worried about 'the Son of the law'. The laws are the tools necessary to build Sanctifying Grace.
We are worried about the replacement of the law with the son of destruction.
This phenomenon is leading the people we love to stop resisting temptation. And if that is not foolish, enchanted or men and women who sadden the Holy Spirit, nothing else is.