Pope Francis’ glorious challenge to “faithful” Catholics

by squeaker

The mark of a great coach is to push all his players to become better, whether they’re plumbers or superstars. In Evangelii Gaudium, I sense the Holy Father is masterfully aiming to accomplish this by pushing on Catholics who consider themselves to be faithful.

Pope Francis knows that “faithful” Catholics assent to the Church’s doctrines, but often fail with respect to evangelization and acts of mercy. We often delegate this responsibility by cutting a check to some soup kitchen or organization that does evangelization. That’s not good enough, he says. We need to step out of the witness protection program. The Holy Father is rightly pushing us to become more than we are. His words can be uncomfortable to read, but if we’re honest, most of us will recognize ourselves in one or more of these excerpts.

Some of us love leisure too much:

At a time when we most need a missionary dynamism which will bring salt and light to the world, many lay people fear that they may be asked to undertake some apostolic work and they seek to avoid any responsibility that may take away from their free time.

Some of us are paralyzed pessimists:

One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, “sourpusses”. Nobody can go off to battle unless he is fully convinced of victory beforehand. If we start without confidence, we have already lost half the battle and we bury our talents.

Some of us have checked-out prematurely and run for the hills:

Many try to escape from others and take refuge in the comfort of their privacy or in a small circle of close friends, renouncing the realism of the social aspect of the Gospel. For just as some people want a purely spiritual Christ, without flesh and without the cross, they also want their interpersonal relationships provided by sophisticated equipment, by screens and systems which can be turned on and off on command. Meanwhile, the Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction.

Then there are perennial critics:

Instead, we waste time talking about “what needs to be done” – in Spanish we call this the sin of “habriaqueísmo” – like spiritual masters and pastoral experts who give instructions from on high. We indulge in endless fantasies and we lose contact with the real lives and difficulties of our people (…)

It always pains me greatly to discover how some Christian communities, and even consecrated persons, can tolerate different forms of enmity, division, calumny, defamation, vendetta, jealousy and the desire to impose certain ideas at all costs, even to persecutions which appear as veritable witch hunts. Whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act?

And the nostalgics and thinkers:

In some people we see an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time. In this way, the life of the Church turns into a museum piece or something which is the property of a select few (…) The mark of Christ, incarnate, crucified and risen, is not present; closed and elite groups are formed, and no effort is made to go forth and seek out those who are distant or the immense multitudes who thirst for Christ. (…)

We cannot demand that peoples of every continent, in expressing their Christian faith, imitate modes of expression which European nations developed at a particular moment of their history, because the faith cannot be constricted to the limits of understanding and expression of any one culture. It is an indisputable fact that no single culture can exhaust the mystery of our redemption in Christ.

Finally, those that anonymously frequent the sacraments and don’t create a sense of community:

Isolation, which is a version of immanentism, can find expression in a false autonomy which has no place for God. But in the realm of religion it can also take the form of a spiritual consumerism tailored to one’s own unhealthy individualism. 

Ouch. I certainly recognize myself in some of those quotes. While these words are painful, they are most welcome and needed. The Holy Father has a gift of cutting through the pleasantries and getting to the core of the matter. It’s as if he’s telling us that we’re kidding ourselves if we think that assenting to the right doctrines is somehow sufficient to dispense us of evangelization and acts of mercy. Dare I say that some of us have almost dissented from Jesus’ call to evangelize, because we don’t feel the imperative to do it. He’s not the only one to notice this problem.  Dr. Janet Smith recent wrote:

It is undoubtedly true that some of us love truth more than we love those we serve. That is not a Christian attitude. (Source)

The Holy Father is on to something. Without realizing it, some of us have veered close to a form of Gnosticism.

God bless Pope Francis for challenging us to greater things.

4 thoughts on “Pope Francis’ glorious challenge to “faithful” Catholics

  1. The mark of the pope we *need* is that he doesn’t always say things that jives with what and *how* we think and feel. I definitely feel “convicted” in his words.

    You know, the pope’s thinking is behind my ideas about how there is a lack of interpersonal relationships in this Church, and how we focus on documents, catechisms, etc and not person-to-person experiences.

    • I agree. On your last point, his expression “spiritual consumerism” comes to mind. We tend to go to mass like we go to a movie. When it’s over, we go home and don’t contribute to any sense of community or belonging. I’m sure we lose TONS of people because of this.

      • After twenty years of attending dozens of parishes in a big city, I have yet to see anything more than “spiritual consumerism.” The whole parish system is actually designed to support this. Most parishes exist only to allow Catholics to fulfill their “Sunday obligation” and nothing else. Call me a sourpuss or whatever, but everyone knows it is true.

  2. How interesting how some read what they want into this Pope’s words. Many Saints sought time of solitude and were weel aware of reality and were not “sourpusses”. Also it is basic Christian
    stuff to do one’s own moral inventory. Also God says stay away from Modernists and those following what He Himself has not said is true. We are not called to be in some fake happy clappy “community ” that is always looking around at each other whilst at the Sacrifice at the Mass nor did this take place many years ago, nor did Priests joke and talk about the latest hockey games etc. and try to twist teaching and the lack of preaching on their part into what is not in keeping with true Catholic teaching. It still does not take place at the Latin Mass, THank Heavens, there is till some reverance taking place for You Lord.

    Yawn yawn how the Modernists keep growing and trying to
    make those who will not follow their way seem like they are all of the above . They are only showing their own resentment masquarading in full pride. Exactly what The Church is now full of since Vatican 11 and those who only follow what they feel like and when it suits them.

    They pretend to be calling this charity it is not. It is not what God taught nor did He want HIs Church to be one big 12 step
    type “eceunemical” meeting. See where all of the people who at one time saw some light have drunk the very kool-aid they (I guess it was not genuine,) warned others of.

    Just like Putin does not care about family, and what is happening in Russia is in NO WAY a sign WHATSOEVER of it changing for the better as some in la-la land want to think because they only pick and choose what suits them and not even close to reality and Truth and what Mary desired which is for Her Immaculate Heart to Be Consecrated, to Russia, and then and only then would a period of real peace follow. Or horrific chastisement that is so horrible one cannot describe it.

    These very same people have their own little Magic circles and only agree with one another never adhering to Christ necessarily or Our Blessed Mother alone. They even compare solitude with these insulting shallow and utterly transparent in descriptions ,and, of which to say anything else is not worthy. or deem themselves in any way ready to come to such conclusions and make such general statements.

    More manipulative twisting jargon to keep the hungry masses full. Some of it is good of course, some common sense, a lot of it just to fill the hungry hearts the same ones who are satisfied with the middle of the road stuff on E.W.T.N cause ey maybe they were on it themsleves, or they just are so desperate for anything remotely Catholic… they “settle”.
    Even Mother Anjelica removed and distanced herself from E.W.T.N. I wonder why that was. Because she saw compromise, a twisting of God’s Truth and deception I imagine. Just a word here for Truth’s sake, automatic writing is not from GOD!!!Nor is syncronicity, etc. etc. all new age, all occult. Truth shines light on all false things masquarading as His Light. Again allthis extra stuff and the Charasmatic movement is not a good movement and did not originate from a good place. Stop with the so-called “healing cafes” that are again places originating from modernism, with some new age blended in, ever so cleverly.
    Jesus, in His One Holy Blessed Sacrament contains all the healing one needs that, is if one is properly disposed,and HE deems it to Be. in which case not such “healing’ service of a scary origin will help you anyway accet it will lead you further way from Truth. The only other Heaing Sacrament acceptable is the One for the sick and dying., instituted by Jesus in His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. So…please adhere to what God says and stop with the mixing in of occult or Protestant dangerous heresies, and handing me cards of some :”healing” cafe. I am not interested. If anything it took me along time to get back to my real roots after being sucked up thrust around in this devilish whirlpool of deception mixed in with Truth which is in all Truth heresy.Maybe if the people handing out these cards did some deep examination of themesleves and frequented the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Daily Mass in the Traditonal form and visited the Blessed Sacrament weekly or daily even , and amended their livesd to follow EXACTLY what Jesus says they would not follow all their little false distractions, and would become truly Catholic ridding themsleves of these poisonous false observances and habits that are contrary to what He says. They are often addicted to the feelings these “experiences” bring them and are all caught up in some new agey scary place. It makes me shudder even thinking about it. In reality the main reason is again the devil has gotten inthere and mixed up True Catholic teaching and Who He Is with a little of this a little of that , which is never good and as I said usaully occult based. The devil always tempts the flesh with what appeals to the senses so it will always appear good of attractive to the senses. Thus the charasmatic theme of “feeling” or “experiencing” and of course it must appeal to the self. The age of “me” the Church of “me”
    away from Him and would not feel the need to fit in with those who do nbot even love Him…not really.
    When one loves Jesus and Mary they have everything, and Their hearts alone along with Joseph’s protection (they are Family after all) and all the Angels and Saints and the Holy Catholic Faith will lead them to do God’s Will alone, and also will , if they do, lead them Home to be with Him forever In Eternity
    As some Saints said they chose solitude rather then mingle with phoneys and people who are full oif themsleves and their own misguided ways, that does not make one wrong. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to mee the people God wants them to meet. Perhaps if these same people practiced some humility (they often live in their comfortable suburban middleclass homes and go to their modern slanted Charasmatic gatherings that are all full of fake luv. often bad music full of egos and too many meaningless “ministries”, more egos, and people who are full of their own prideful ways_ and actually spent some time in real solitude and real examination of conscience and realized their own puffed up idnetiities that they avoid looking into because it is too uncomfotable because they are always looking aroung at their version of the “Mass”,
    which has all but lost any real meaning to them, because they have never at any time really understood that it is about Him not them. Where is the humility in any Pope or they, themsleves saying
    “I have humility” Oh ,I forgot they these idoloters choose to forget that one too. People who are really serious about humility never think they attain it nor do they boast ever!
    but they do admit they are or were wrong and repent. They also hate what God says is sin with and want to eradicate it from their lives.
    They do not turn away from their fellow Pro-Lifers when same people have something very special stolen from them at a Pro-Life event that was held at a so called reputable confernce centre and ignore and act like it never happened,
    and try to put the ball back in the court of the one wronged. SORRY according to God and Sacred teaching when their is an offense or something stolen one is not forgiven until the ITEM stolen is returned or proper restitution is made. It seems some “Catholics” or “Christians” are only that when it suits them.
    God sees everything and He knows waht is True and Just.
    He does not care how many photos one takes but He does see
    if ones words and their claims to be charitable are for those they”choose: or the people He puts in front of them.
    God knows what happened at that evnet how all the people who knew about it responded and if one thinks He thinks it is fine (and this is just an example…since we are leading up to the next “March For Life and it Rose dinner event), then such a person is just like I said deceiving Himself, and is purposely forgetting the wrong incurred and not seeking to make the restitution that they should.
    This is what God is talking about. Rigorous honesty in ALL things. Too often people say a great talk they do not walk the
    Christ walk. If for example, all these so called people who call themsleves
    Pro-Lifers were really, where are they? they certainly are not down on Bank St., only whey they “feel” like it or the cameras are rolling or some special event. “just sayin”. There are a lot of Catholiocs anbd or so called Christians that are doing a lot of other things but will not take the time to do the cery important things. Yhey choose to ignore the fact babies ared being slaughtered, almost 5 days a week , they trun their minds away from this, and some think because Godhas blessed themn withe children they are doing their part. Not all of course but some. Why??If one is blessed with God’s children thenall the more one should desire to stand up dor the lives of those who have noopne to be there for them before they may be tortured or how about be ther for the women and men going in to see you. You are not there. Don’t say you are there in spirit. COP OUT. YOu are not there because you won’t make the effort or because its too “uncomfortable” (what about the child???0, or others , your “friends” are not going to be there.
    You people who say this toi yoursleves you do not really care.

    Interesting how certain people pat themsleves on the shoulder and then
    when photos are being taken they bow their heads and these same people one may notice, talk only with the “special” little groups that they think are their own magic circle. How sad.
    They do not even see their own sin, because they have done the very thing they used to tell others to watch out for. This is where one sees either Truth or deceit, or compromise. Either way…I am happy God says follow Him and what He says.
    Yea Pope Pius X. Thank You Lord for those who follow You not just when the cameras are rolling or when their “friends” are watching. Glad to know who Your true followers are.
    Oh, one last thing. This latest P.R. thing about the mafia being told (and of course it was in a gentle way) they they may end up in Hell if they do not change their ways, why did the Pope not say that to some of the Jewish peolple who refuse to accept Jesus as the Messiah or the Muslims who hate all that is Catholic and desire to blow up or torture any infidel but then say it is justified because after all they had a choice either join them or else? Or better yet the freemasons and homosexual mafia in the Vatican or all the peole who are happily contracepting away in the Catholic Church as well as over at ol Rolling Stone magazine, or all the so’called dissenting fake Catholics who fillup the pews pretending to be Catholic who are trying to buy their way into Heaven and live like pagans when they leave the “Church”. The “Catholic” pro-abort,, pro lgbt whatever politicians? just asking?
    Lord Have Mercy
    Thank You Blessed Mother and Good St. Joseph
    I adore only You
    Dear Father God, Son Jesus Christ and Beautiful, Blessed Holy Ghost

    Pope Francis says that Muslims and Jewish people serve the same God. If He is really interested in gathering as many souls as possible for Christ why does He not speak Jesus’ Truth into waht He says, and no…all you who follow what is the popular
    so-called trend these days so you won’t “feel” left out, His words are very clear about how he joined in at Jewish ceremonies and said Muslims praise the same God, which are both abominations to Jesus’ Catholic teachings but I guess you will just ignore that also, ey, since it does not fit in with your already fawning and trying to explain away outright slants away from what is True in History and Faith and Morals according to Tradition pre Vatican 11. It is too obvious and sorry it was not the press or some “bad trads” who some of your more popular fund raisers who (oh look out they too, are soft on the
    homosexual thing, so you can ignore that too, whilst you have them autograph their books for you at the fundraisers your Churches hold where you are raising money). Oh but I thought it was about not compromising.
    Sorry one can only draw conclusions many have a lot if not their own pride invested in such purposeful blindness , and since they went along in a certain direction for so long instead of admitting they were and are wrong they dig themslelves even deeper into the lies they choose to believe by way of bad explanations rationalizations, denials, justifications etc.
    Tell me all you fawning rationilizing people when the evidence is right in front of you, what will you say when the very Pope you defend does allow Chrits’s teachings regarding True Marriage and the fact divorced couples in the Catholic Church cannot receive Holy Communion according to what they now are discussing, and the other thing oh I know the whole way we are not treating the women properly who want more “power” and will before long be allowed to be Priests? and so on ans so on…No you see what you want to see, and God weeps. The ones who make Him cry the most are those who betray Him. It reminds me of a bad 12 step meeting where you
    might here people say take what you want out of it and leave the rest. So…just like the Protestants who refused to acknowledge the Body and Blood of Our Blessed Lord and everything else that they did noty like, there is a whole element
    of peole now who are defgending the Pope just cause they “luv” him. I love him too in a real way, and I also do not pretend that what He has himslef said he was wanting to do to the Church is exactly what He intends to do, and that it is not
    necessarily in keeping with what God wants. Oh people will say nothing can happen without GOD ALLOWING IT AND THEY ARE RIGHT. People will get what they deserve, because they followed their own idols and their blind modernism not what Jesus said. Do not say you love Christ and then try to change His teachings and call yourself Catholic or Christian and that goes for Popes too.
    When you love Truth you cannot help but love those you serve it is impossible and an oxymoron. Truth is Jesus, and when one loves Truth in all its forms they love people and tell them the truth because they love them. They must love the One Who Is Truth first if they do not loive Him first then they do not love ALL truth either, they love themslelves firs tand then they will not either love their neighbor and tell them the truth in love.
    The first corporal work of Mercy is concern for your neigbors salvation not babying them and feeding them some version of turth so they will “like” you and theink “well”of you, again slef love is what you are full of . You care more about yourself then
    the person God has put next to you. If one loves Jesus first in all His Humility (he did not boast or desire to be recognized, except He wanted us to see that He did the Will of His father, and was not respecter of men. He spoke as One Having Authority and He spoke pure Truth because He loved us. He did not baby us, he knew that His Truth alone spoke for itself and was sharper than a two-edged sword. Jesus also hates lies and pretension and warns people of those who makes idols of men or anything for that matter.
    He wanted us to hunger after Him Who is All and All Truth is contained in Him alone and in His Holy Word and His Teaching,
    and in His Holy Prescence in His Body and Blood and in His Sacramental Prescence in Holy Confession.

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