Skip to comments.Pope, in sweeping interview, compares Church with 'field hospital' for wounded society
Posted on 09/19/2013 1:19:26 PM PDT by NYer
In a broad-ranging interview, Pope Francis has underlined the need for the Church to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful.
"Ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all, the Pope insists in the course of a 12,000-word interview. Conducted by Father Antonio Spadaro, the editor of the Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, the interview was translated and published simultaneously by other Jesuit publications, including the American magazine America.
Stressing that the Church must respond to the needs of a society with several spiritual needs, the Pope likened the Church to a field hospital dealing with gravely wounded patients. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars, he said. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.
In a portion of the interview that immediately commanded headlines in the Western world, the Pontiff said that Church leaders should not confine their public statements to controversial social issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and contraception. The Churchs stand on those issues is already well known, he said. More important, he added, the primary goal of the Church is to preach the fundamental Gospel message. He spoke of the need to speak about what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus.
We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel, the Pope said. He observed that if people are attracted by the Gospel message, they will naturally be sympathetic to the moral principles derived from that message.
Regarding homosexual persons and others who are living in objectively sinful situations, the Pope said that Church ministers should approach them with a loving attitude. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation.
Throughout the long interview, Pope Francis returned repeatedly to the need for a fresh, new, and attractive presentation of the Gospel. The Church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules, he said.
The Pope observed that the young Catholic churchesthe communities in which the Church is experiencing her first period of growthhave very different experiences and outlooks from the older Catholic communities. He suggested that both are necessary to help plot the future of Catholicism, just as both young and old people are essential to the vitality of any society. They build the future: the young ones with their strength and the others with their wisdom.
Regarding the future of Catholicism, the Pope said that he would not use the term optimism, because that is about a psychological attitude. He opted instead for the word hope, which is a theological virtue. God does not mislead hope, the Pope said.
The interviewer, Father Spadoro, began the questions by asking: Who is Jorge Maria Bergoglio? After a pause, the Pope replied, I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition.
Father Spadaro commented, in his own introductory remarks, that the interview proved challenging because the Pope produced a volcanic flow of ideas that are bound up with each other. At times, he said, the Pontiff interrupted one question to elaborate on his response to an earlier one.
In other portions of the interview, the Pope commented on:
Interesting. I know there will be hysteria in traditionalist circles, but the problem is that they have created their own ghetto and now sit around wondering if their women should wear a veil not only at mass but on the street - who the heck wants to be part of that? It’s not Christianity. Maybe this will shake them up a bit.
If the Pope is in favor of popular devotions and particularly devotions to Our Lady, he’s on the right track. Our Lady, Mother of Mercy.
Looking forward to reading the whole thing. Maybe I can find a printer-friendly version, once my real computer that I can print from comes back from the shop.
My first thought, as well. Then, I recalled this parable: Luke 19:12-26
So in other words is he Col Potter or Hawkeye Pierce
The Pope sounds like Karl Rove entreating his fellow Republicans to stop focusing on conservative issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. — that is, abandon their principles — so they can win more elections.
On the contrary ... he sounds like ..
Luke 19:1-10 - "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost."
Mark 2:15-17 - "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do."
Matthew 9:10-13 - "I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.
OH Wow you are so right on the money
Yeah Col Potter aka Harry Morgan type
NYer, I hope you don’t mind (ask the mod to delete if you do) but I’d like to post something that I posted on Fr Z’s blog.
“I like Fr Z s remark about the Virtual Pope that the media has created. The press is running with it, but at least people are reading it and may actually start to think.
Realistically, I thought he was simply saying we shouldnt approach with the negatives first. We need to give people a positive view, not only of God, but of their own lives.
Why am I here, where am I going? We all die, so everybody asks that question. Our Mother, the Catholic Church, has the answer. Look at the beautiful things the Pope has said about the Church in the last few days.
His criticism was not of orthodoxy, but of the people who are withholding it by not presenting the Church as a loving virginal mother, the Bride of Christ, a mother but at the same time not fulfilled until the end time.
We have been unable to express this. The great literary converts of the pre-Vatican II era did not come to the Church because they wanted to live like good middle class church ladies or gentlemen (not that theres anything wrong with being one, if thats what you are theyre essential) but because that was where salvation from death and meaninglessness lay, and the Church, being a good mother, would extend it to them. Read Julien Green.”
For those who don’t know, Julien Green was an American, born in the South, who spent most of his life in Paris. He was ravingly gay, fought against it, was a Catholic convert, and finally writes in his famous journals that he was so happy that he had lived long enough that he no longer had any sexual desires at all! But he saw the message of the church, and even though he wasn’t perfect, he felt encouraged to come in and cling to it no matter how far he strayed. And he strayed a lot less further than he would have if he hadn’t been a Catholic.
We need to get back to a Church like that. In the last few days, the Pope has said (in homilies) some beautiful things about the Church as our Mother, and this is what people are looking for.
Pope Francis is fatherly (or grandfatherly) and commonsensical. He knows what the world is like. Mentioning Col. Potter was very perceptive.
You are so rightttt now I thinking about it he is Col Potter
Straw man. Ten yard penalty.
No, it’s actually true. When I first read this on a traditionalist blog, I thought they were joking. Then I realized that they were completely serious, and there are people out there who think that not just they, but all women, should “veil” not only in church but even on the street. It apparently makes them feel more pious.
This is a serious problem for traddies, many of whom are as guilty as the left of making everything “all about them.”
What percentage of Catholics do you think believe that? This is like labeling pro-lifers terrorists after some radical bombs an abortion clinic.
I’m not talking about Catholics in general. The Pope said a few things about the traditionalist (old Latin Mass) groups, and as much as I prefer the old Latin Mass to the modern form, he was right. They’ve gotten into weirdo nit-picking and strange personal practices (such as “veiling”) that are surely never going to reach out to anybody.
Perhaps you’ve never been involved with a group like this. They’re not all that way, but many of them do have a siege mentality coupled with peculiar practices, not exactly an incentive to a person in the world to consider his last end and convert.
What you did was make a generalization about traditionalists. I have no problem with generalizations. I use them myself. They are essential to discussions. But to be accurate, a generalization must be generally true. Your generalization about traditionalists was not generally true. It was not kind either. It was a smear. I know a lot of traditionalists and I know none who fit that generalization. I am not one of them but they are never judgmental of me and they are not kooks.
Dear Pope Francis, thank you. Signed, #prochoice women
The next time I'm freezing my ass off at a 3 a.m. 40 Days for Life protest, I'll remember that the pope said we're pushing too hard on topics like abortion. But then again, who am I to judge, right?
Can you give an example of such a leader?
Reagan was routinely “misunderstood” and misrepresented by his opponents in both parties. His personal convictions notwithstanding, no government agency lost funding or authority under his administration.
It seems to me that you’re comparing Pope Francis to an ideal never observed in nature.
Francis' conviction is in doubt here because of what he has said, not because there are factors out of his control like a Congress unwilling to cut spending. You seem to think Reagan was a big-government Republican like Boehner.
It seems to me that youre comparing Reagan to a Reagan never observed in nature.
To me, Pope Francis’s convictions are not at all unclear. If he is responsible for some people’s choosing to misunderstand him, then President Reagan could be held responsible for not persuading the Congress or the country to dismantle the unconstitutional Federal bureaucracy.
If people keep coming to Francis' "field hospital" for treatment, should they not learn why they keep getting hurt?
The hospital is the Church, not Democrat Propaganda Ministry reports on a few of the many things Pope Francis has said.
It’s a question of prudence. I don’t think it’s prudent or apostolic to let evil minions be in control of the Church’s message. Others think the Pope should mince every word, lest the Church’s enemies find a point to attack.
Ultimately, all the outcomes are in God’s hands.
I mention to Pope Francis that there are Christians who live in situations that are irregular for the church or in complex situations that represent open wounds. I mention the divorced and remarried, same-sex couples and other difficult situations. What kind of pastoral work can we do in these cases? What kinds of tools can we use?
We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner, the pope says, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound. In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are socially wounded because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.
This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lords mercy motivates us to do better. I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do?
We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The churchs pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.
I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing. The homily is the touchstone to measure the pastors proximity and ability to meet his people, because those who preach must recognize the heart of their community and must be able to see where the desire for God is lively and ardent. The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ.