Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pope Francis And Ecclesiology

Even though he's made similar comments in the past, it's good to make note of the times when Pope Francis focuses on the necessity of belonging to the Church. Here's the latest per Zenit:

A Christian without the Church is not understood, Pope Francis said during his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning.

In a reflection on the importance of belonging to the Church, the Holy Father drew on the image of David in the first reading of the day, focussing on his relationship with God, which he compared to a father and a son. This relationship calls on us to reflect on our relationship with God and the Church.

“The Christian is not a baptized person that receives Baptism and then goes along his own way,” he said.

“The first fruit of Baptism is to make yourself belong to the Church, to the people of God. A Christian without a Church is not understood. And for this reason, the great Paul VI said that it is an absurd dichotomy to love Christ without the Church; to listen to Christ but not the Church; to be with Christ at the edge of the Church. It can’t be done. It is an absurd dichotomy.”

Consider especially that the references to Paul VI's comment and listening to the Church make it quite nonsensical to imagine that he's referring to some amorphous ecclesial body rather than the Catholic Church. To make it even more clear (and I'm sure shocking to many), he continued:

“A person who is not humble, cannot hear the Church, they will hear what she likes, what he likes," the Pope continued. "And this humility is seen in David: ‘Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house?’ - that realization that the history of salvation has not begun with me and will not finish when I die. No, it is all a history of salvation: I am coming, the Lord takes you, He makes you go forward and then calls you and the history continues. The history of the Church first began with us and will continue after us. Humility: we are a small part of a great people, that is going on the path of the Lord.” 

In other words, the individual doesn't get to decide what is good or bad, true or false. What a wacky concept and one that he mentions many times throughout Evangelii Gaudium.

And even more shocking.

The second pillar the Pope highlighted was faithfulness, which he noted is “connected with obedience.” “Faithfulness to the Church: faithfulness to its teachings; faithfulness to the Creed; faithfulness to the doctrine, to guard this doctrine. Humility and faithfulness,” he said.

Well, holy smokes. Pope Francis actually thinks that conformity to Church teaching is important. You know, like other popes have said. Somebody needs to inform Rolling Stone about this. Of course, you won't hear anything about this. The lockdown on media coverage of orthodox statements by the Holy Father will be pretty much all-encompassing.

Get used to it, but keep your ears open at places like Zenit (and here, of course) to stay informed.

No comments: