Friday 26 April 2013

Rosewater faith - Pope Francis

I posted about the Feast of St George but considering his homilies have been getting a lot of attention the homily of Pope Francis on that day has some stirring stuff that won't please those who want to water down the Faith or those who are happy to see the boundaries of the Church as rather opaque.  You can read the whole thing at Vatican News. Here are some quotes (with my highlights):
And so the Church was a Mother, the Mother of more children, of many children. It became more and more of a Mother. A Mother who gives us the faith, a Mother who gives us an identity. But the Christian identity is not an identity card: Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these belonged to the Church, the Mother Church. Because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church.
So Jesus can't be found outside the Church. As the Church of Christ subsists in the catholic Church - therefore not in other religions, not in some vague notion of "love" and unoffensive kindness but ONLY in THE Church.
And the Mother Church that gives us Jesus gives us our identity that is not only a seal, it is a belonging. Identity means belonging. This belonging to the Church is beautiful.
BELONGING.  So often the criteria for judging whether someone "belongs" to the Church has this card carrying notion.  Our "Catholic" schools are one such instance: did you manage to get your child baptised? "Yes" fine you're in.  But when did you last BELONG, when did you last IDENTIFY yourself with the Church? Oh at the baptism; haven't been to Mass since.  This isn't the beautiful belonging to our Mother, when we are happy to skip visiting Her on any Sunday that doesn't suit us, or perhaps for weeks, months, even years but then turn up for Her treats when we want a First Communion celebration, a wedding or to get into the school.
If we are not "sheep of Jesus," faith does not come to us. It is a rosewater faith, a faith without substance. And let us think of the consolation that Barnabas felt, which is "the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing." And let us ask the Lord for this "parresia", this apostolic fervour that impels us to move forward, as brothers, all of us forward! Forward, bringing the name of Jesus in the bosom of Holy Mother Church, and, as St. Ignatius said, "hierarchical and Catholic." So be it. 
For those who think the Pope might be about to dismantle the hierarchical Church in favour of focus groups and a laissez faire attitude of 'do what you like' this quoting of St Ignatius of Antioch, whose writings are the first post-biblical source to elevate the hierarchical nature of the Church cannot bode well.  No sickly sweet and rather thin  rosewater Faith here.

The Holy Father's different style should not lull anyone into thinking he's a 1970's liberal.  It's possible his taste in chasubles is stuck n the 1970's but his Faith and theology is truly Catholic.
So be it!

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