Pope Francis Slams ‘Prejudiced Mentality’ Of Believers Who Fearfully Cling To Religious Laws

[ We are now in a theological free fire zone. Yeah, it’s HuffPo, but the harmonics resonate with Jorge’s prior progressivist statements… /gpmtrad ]

www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/15/pope-francis-homily_n_6687610.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

Pope Francis Slams ‘Prejudiced Mentality’ Of Believers Who Fearfully Cling To Religious Laws

Religion News Service | By David Gibson

Posted: 02/15/2015 1:01 pm EST Updated: 3 hours ago

VATICAN CITY (RNS) In a powerful sermon that signaled his desire to push ahead with historic reforms, Pope Francis on Sunday (Feb. 15) said the Roman Catholic Church must be open and welcoming, whatever the costs.

He also warned the hierarchy not to be “a closed caste” but to lead in reaching out to all who are rejected by society and the church.

“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,” Francis told hundreds of cardinals and bishops arrayed before him in St. Peter’s Basilica at a Mass centered on the story of Jesus healing a leper rather than rejecting him.

“Even today it can happen that we stand at the crossroads of these two ways of thinking,” the pope said as he outlined the current debate in the church between those seen as doctrinal legalists and those, like Francis, who want a more pastoral approach.

“Jesus responds immediately to the leper’s plea, without waiting to study the situation and all its possible consequences,” Francis declared. “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!”

“Jesus is not afraid of this kind of scandal,” the pontiff continued. “He does not think of the close-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.”

Since his election almost two years ago, Francis has pushed the church to focus less on denouncing the sins of others — especially on issues of sexual morality — and to instead to reach out more to the poor and social outcasts.

He also wants the church, especially the leadership, to reform itself, and he has convened a series of high-level summits at the Vatican to discuss overhauling the Vatican bureaucracy and changing church practices to, for example, enable divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

But there was a sense at meetings in the Vatican over the past week that the momentum for change may be slowing — in part due to resistance from doctrinal conservatives and the Vatican’s old guard — and could use a jump-start.

Francis seemed to provide such a jolt on Sunday in remarks that were “truly foundational,” in the words of the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, an Italian Jesuit who is close to the pope.

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Canadian priest who works with the Vatican communications office, tweeted that “more than anything I’ve heard from (the pope) today’s homily is his mission statement.”

Throughout his 15-minute homily, Francis repeatedly slammed the “narrow and prejudiced mentality” of believers who cling to religious laws out of fear. They wind up rejecting the very people they should be ministering to, he said, which means anyone on the margins of society “who encounters discrimination.”

“Total openness to serving others is our hallmark, it alone is our title of honor!” Francis said at the Mass to mark his appointment of 20 new cardinals on Saturday.

“We will not find the Lord unless we truly accept the marginalized!” he concluded. “Truly the Gospel of the marginalized is where our credibility is at stake, where it is found, and where it is revealed.”

The new cardinals had joined Francis and more than 150 other members of the College of Cardinals for talks over the past week on restructuring the dysfunctional papal bureaucracy known as the Roman Curia.

But the background noise to those meetings, and in other, smaller meetings among the pope’s top advisers, was the ongoing and increasingly pointed arguments between those who want to slow or halt Francis’ drive for change and those who think the 78-year-old pontiff needs to act more decisively, and soon.

Francis himself seemed to acknowledge the opposition, citing New Testament passages in which St. Peter (considered by Catholic tradition to be the first pope – was rebuked by other early church leaders for entering the house of a pagan, and when St. Paul faced criticism for not requiring Christian converts to observe all aspects of Jewish law.

“Charity is creative in finding the right words to speak to all those considered incurable and hence untouchable,” Francis said. “Contact is the true language of communication.”

Francis said this mission applied to anyone in today’s world who is pushed aside “for whatever reason.”

But he also listed specific examples, saying the cardinals should see “the crucified Lord” in the hungry and the unemployed, those who are in prison and “even in those who have lost their faith, or declared themselves to be atheists, or turned away from the practice of the faith.”

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28 comments on “Pope Francis Slams ‘Prejudiced Mentality’ Of Believers Who Fearfully Cling To Religious Laws

  1. Remove him from office – now. And the horse he rode in on…

  2. “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,”
    This is not a case of EITHER / OR, this is a case of AND.
    A Good Shepard does both, protect his flock and goes out to find the lost sheep, its not one or the either….that is a straw man argument, a false dialectic tension.
    In other words, a good Catholic should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time…….

  3. And Jesus Himself prayed before His Passion, that the ones entrusted to Him are not lost…
    The whole John 17 makes that clear and answers the question of fear to lose the saved or want to save the lost, the answer is clearly BOTH:
    “Prayer for the Disciples
    6I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou hast given me out of the world. Thine they were, and to me thou gavest them; and they have kept thy word. 7Now they have known, that all things which thou hast given me, are from thee: 8Because the words which thou gavest me, I have given to them; and they have received them, and have known in very deed that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me: because they are thine: 10And all my things are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 11And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name whom thou has given me; that they may be one, as we also are. 12While I was with them, I kept them in thy name. Those whom thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled.

    13And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy filled in themselves. 14I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world; as I also am not of the world. 15I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil.”

  4. ^^^ Gosh, I guess that a Russian T-80 tank sighting in on your house COULD be seen to be a “salute of hospitality and respect” from Putin, eh?

    Good grief!

    Are you REALLY serious?

    Christ Our Lord did NOT speak in terms of “AND” (the usual liberal conceit, since they have NO argument with which to defend their sin and evil intentions.)

    He SPOKE – actually COMMANDED – in terms of EITHER / OR.

    And died to defend it.

  5. Here’s the full text from www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-homily-at-mass-with-cardinals–2

    Vatican City, February 15, 2015 (Zenit.org)

    “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean”… Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched him, and said: “I do choose. Be made clean!” (Mk 1:40-41). The compassion of Jesus! That com-passion which made him draw near to every person in pain! Jesus does not hold back; instead, he gets involved in people’s pain and their need… for the simple reason that he knows and wants to show com-passion, because he has a heart unashamed to have “compassion”.

    “Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed in the country; and people came to him from every quarter” (Mk1:45). This means that Jesus not only healed the leper but also took upon himself the marginalization enjoined by the law of Moses (cf. Lev 13:1-2, 45-46). Jesus is unafraid to risk sharing in the suffering of others; he pays the price of it in full (cf. Is53:4).

    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!” (cf. Lev 13:1-2, 45-46).

    Imagine how much suffering and shame lepers must have felt: physically, socially, psychologically and spiritually! They are not only victims of disease, but they feel guilty about it, punished for their sins! Theirs is a living death; they are like someone whose father has spit in his face (cf. Num 12:14).

    In addition, lepers inspire fear, contempt and loathing, and so they are abandoned by their families, shunned by other persons, cast out by society. Indeed, society rejects them and forces them to live apart from the healthy. It excludes them. So much so that if a healthy person approached a leper, he would be punished severely, and often be treated as a leper himself.

    True, the purpose of this rule was “to safeguard the healthy”, “to protect the righteous”, and, in order to guard them from any risk, to eliminate “the peril” by treating the diseased person harshly. As the high priest Caiaphas exclaimed: “It is better to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed” (Jn 11:50).

    Reinstatement: Jesus revolutionizes and upsets that fearful, narrow and prejudiced mentality. He does not abolish the law of Moses, but rather brings it to fulfillment (cf. Mt 5:17). He does so by stating, for example, that the law of retaliation is counterproductive, that God is not pleased by a Sabbath observance which demeans or condemns a man. He does so by refusing to condemn the sinful woman, but saves her from the blind zeal of those prepared to stone her ruthlessly in the belief that they were applying the law of Moses. Jesus also revolutionizes consciences in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Mt 5), opening new horizons for humanity and fully revealing God’s “logic”. The logic of love, based not on fear but on freedom and charity, on healthy zeal and the saving will of God. For “God our Saviour desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:3-4). “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Mt 12:7; Hos 6:6).

    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!

    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 (cf. Jn 10).

    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 essentially 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” (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. Indeed, Jesus frees the healthy from the temptation of the “older brother” (cf. Lk 15:11-32), the burden of envy and the grumbling of the labourers who bore “the burden of the day and the heat” (cf. Mt 20:1-16).

    In a word: charity cannot be neutral, antiseptic, indifferent, lukewarm or impartial! Charity is infectious, it excites, it risks and it engages! For true charity is always unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous! (cf. 1 Cor 13). Charity is creative in finding the right words to speak to all those considered incurable and hence untouchable. Finding the right words… Contact is the language of genuine communication, the same endearing language which brought healing to the leper. How many healings can we perform if only we learn this language of contact! The leper, once cured, became a messenger of God’s love. The Gospel tells us that “he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the word” (cf. Mk 1:45).

    Dear new Cardinals, this is the “logic”, the mind of Jesus, and this is the way of the Church. Not only to welcome and reinstate with evangelical courage all those who knock at our door, but to go out and seek, fearlessly and without prejudice, those who are distant, freely sharing what we ourselves freely received. “Whoever says: ‘I abide in [Christ]’, ought to walk just as he walked” (1 Jn 2:6). Total openness to serving others is our hallmark, it alone is our title of honour!

    Consider carefully that, in these days when you have become Cardinals, we have asked Mary, Mother of the Church, who herself experienced marginalization as a result of slander (cf. Jn 8:41) and exile (cf. Mt 2:13-23), to intercede for us so that we can be God’s faithful servants. May she – our Mother – teach us to be unafraid of tenderly welcoming the outcast; not to be afraid of tenderness. How often we fear tenderness! May Mary teach us not to be afraid of tenderness and compassion. May she clothe us in patience as we seek to accompany them on their journey, without seeking the benefits of worldly success. May she show us Jesus and help us to walk in his footsteps.

    Dear new Cardinals, my brothers, as we look to Jesus and our Mother, I urge you to serve the Church in such a way that Christians – edified by our witness – will not be tempted to turn to Jesus without turning to the outcast, to become a closed caste with nothing authentically ecclesial about it. I urge you to serve Jesus crucified in every person who is emarginated, for whatever reason; to see the Lord in every excluded person who is hungry, thirsty, naked; to see the Lord present even in those who have lost their faith, or turned away from the practice of their faith, or say that they are atheists; to see the Lord who is imprisoned, sick, unemployed, persecuted; to see the Lord in the leper – whether in body or soul – who encounters discrimination! We will not find the Lord unless we truly accept the marginalized! May we always have before us the image of Saint Francis, who was unafraid to embrace the leper and to accept every kind of outcast. Truly, dear brothers, the Gospel of the marginalized is where our credibility is at stake, is discovered and is revealed!

    [Original text: Italian]

    © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

  6. Reading comprehension, especially when “quoting” the Word of God, is a real plus to maintaining permanent membership on AQ.

    Just sayin’ ….

  7. Anyone who doesn’t “get” Jorge “Che” Bergoglio the Revolutionary’s “interpretation” of “reinstatement” hasn’t done his homework.

    One EITHER repents and SERIOUSLY changes his life OR he will go to Hell.

    I guess they missed that in Buenos Aires, already known as the most failed diocese in all of Argentina under Bergoglio’s “rule.”

  8. The Huffington Post puts their spin on Francis, but it is a legitimate take, based on Francis’ language. He imposes modern sociology on a 2000-year-old text written by those who don’t think like the moderns. E.g., he uses loaded words and phrases like:
    marginalization (7 times)
    reinstating (vs penance a.k.a. “reconciliation”)
    (Jesus) revolutionizes
    new horizons for humanity
    narrow and prejudiced mentality
    closed-minded
    ‘outskirts’ of life
    language of contact
    excluded
    discrimination

    • ^^^ Very insightfully explained, Cyprian! Thanks!

    • Of note, “forgive” or “forgiveness” do not appear at all. Nor does “penance.” (“Repentant” appears once.) Is Francis trying to redefine these concepts? Or throw them out entirely? What does he mean by “letting wolves into the fold,” especially when he ties it directly to the “welcoming the repentant prodigal son?” Is he conditioning the cardinals for the upcoming sin-nod?

  9. How clever of the Pope and the Modernists to pin the collapse on the conservatives/traditionalists when they have destroyed the faith.

  10. Also did he do this in Buenos Aires and is the church flourishing there?

  11. It is fast becoming more and more essential that all Catholics (including Michael Voris, Catholic Answers, etc) understand the true nature of the Petrine Office.
    Which means that they come to know the truth of, but limits surrounding, Papal Infallibility and that the obedience and respect required of all Catholics to the Vicar of Christ does not mean papalotry or a non Catholic belief that every word that comes out of the Pope’s mouth is incontestable.

    The sooner Catholics wake up to these facts then the better off the whole Church will be.

    Meanwhile the present incumbent of the See of Peter keeps making incredibly damaging statements that the humanist secular world, and libertine, new age Church, just love.

  12. The guy is mentally ill and all we can do is pray for him.

    • Were it merely mental illness, it could be treated. Francis has given himself over to the prevailing ideology of the world, call it socialism, liberalism or whatever. In this time of rampant “change,” i.e., upheaval, the obvious duty of the Vicar of Christ is to speak clearly, in unison with the singular voice of the Church of 2000 years, using the same terminology so there can be no misinterpretation. This hasn’t happened since the Council.

      Ultimately it’s a punishment from God.

    • Unfortunately Phaley It is my opinion that Bergoglio is afflicted with something a lot more serious than just mental illness. IMO, Bergoglio doesn’t need a shrink, he needs an Exorcist !

      • Please don’t take the fact that I think he’s mentally ill to mean that he isn’t being influenced and directed by Satanic powers. Nothing could be further from the truth. But, in my mind what I’m thinking is that we can only get help through prayers in his behalf. The hierarchy certainly isn’t going to do anything to reverse what’s happening. At least that’s my opinion for what it’s worth.

  13. The real problem is the clowns that voted him in, presumably think the same way he does and are in positions of power that will insure this ridiculous mentality in the the Church will continue. As the saying goes, ” Catholics are getting the Pope they deserve !” Or is it Americans , get the President they deserve ?

  14. The only way one is to effect any change in this Church, is to STOP putting money in the collection baskets.

    • STOP putting money… Agreed. Unfortunately, parishioners are scared that their parish will be closed. It’s like being blackmailed. Most of them think they have a duty to contribute to the parish and diocese, and you’ll never be able to explain to them why they don’t.

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