With Pope Francis, we know that the clear, Catholic Francis speeches and writings that are disseminated for the edification of the faithful are written for him, not by him. Then, we get the other stuff, and which we recognize quickly as the product of his muddled mind. From his homily this morning, we get this pearl, courtesy of AsiaNews.
God saves everyone personally, but as “a people”, not “just me” and “my group”, my ” ecclesial elite “. Because salvation must not to be privatized, warned Pope Francis at Mass this morning in Casa Santa Marta, commenting on a passage from the Letter to the Hebrews.
Jesus, he noted, is “the new and living path” that we must follow, “the way He wants”. And Jesus “gives us the criteria to avoid following the wrong models. And one of these wrong models is privatizing Salvation.” “It’s true, Jesus has saved us all, but not in generically. Everyone, but each individual, first and last name. And this is personal salvation. Really I am saved, the Lord looked at me, He gave His life for me , opened this door, this new path for me, and each of us can say ‘for me’. but there is a danger of forgetting that He saved us individually, but as part of a people. A people. The Lord always saves the people. From the moment when He called Abraham, when He promised to make a people. And the Lord saves us as part of a people. This is why the author of this letter tells us: ‘we must encourage one another’. There is no salvation for me alone. If I understand salvation in this way, I am wrong, I have taken the wrong path. The privatization of salvation is the wrong path”.
Got it? You’re personally saved, first and last name. But you’re not. You’re saved only as part of the people. Or you’re not?
There are three criteria to avoid privatizing salvation: “faith in Jesus that cleanses us”, hope that “makes us look at the promises and move forward” and “charity: that is, we pay attention to each other, to encourage each other in charity and good works”. “And when I’m in a parish, in a community – whatever it may be- I’m there, I can privatize t salvation and be there just on a social level. But to avoid privatizing (salvation), I have to ask myself whether I speak and communicate the faith; whether I speak and communicate hope; whether I speak, do and communicate charity. If we do not speak to each other in community, if we do not encourage each other in these three virtues, the members of that community have privatized faith. Each one seeks his own salvation, not the salvation of all, the salvation of the people. And Jesus has saved everyone, but as part of a people, of a Church”.
That’s practically Catholic, I think. There is no salvation outside of the Church. But I thought that was one of the dogmas of the Faith that the Church doesn’t like to talk about these days, because it isn’t nice and hurts feelings. But wait. Hasn’t he said that proselytizing is “solemn nonsense”? Also, note that he doesn’t say that Jesus saved everyone, but as part of a people, of His Church, just a Church. For all I know, in his mind the whole wide world is “a church”.
Moreover, isn’t our individual salvation up to us individually? Hasn’t the Church always taught that God has given us free will to choose good or evil, and that we lose our salvation if we die in unrepented and unabsolved mortal sin? Isn’t that salvation by its very nature as set forth by Jesus and the Church “privatized”? According to Pope Francis then, if we are all saved together as a people, can’t we then be damned collectively as well? Oh, no, according to the above, we’re already saved, so there’s no possibility of being damned. Isn’t that Luther???
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews – continued the Pope – gives very important “practical” advice ” We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some”. This happens “when we are in a meeting – in our parish, in our group – and judge others”, “there is a kind of contempt for the other. And this is not the door, the new and living path which the Lord opens, has opened”. “They despise others; deserting the whole community; deserting the people of God; they have privatized salvation: salvation is for me and for my group, but not for all the people of God. And this is a very big mistake. This is what we call and what we see: ‘ecclesial elites ‘. When these little groups are created among the people of God, think they are good Christians, even – perhaps – they have good intentions, but they are small groups that have privatized salvation”.
My head hurts as I parse this. When we’re in our assemblies, we’re not when we “judge” others. Ah, the ‘ole “judge” stuff. Catholic teaching is very clear, at least until the 1970s, that to “judge” someone meant that we condemned them to Hell, which we have no power to do. What used to be called discerning good from evil, discriminating between those who act publicly in sinful ways and those who don’t became the evil of “judging”. But we are called to do so. Aren’t we to rebuke the sinner privately, then if he doesn’t repent, to do so before a couple of witnesses, and if still unrepentent, then to bring it to the Church?
Then there’s the money quote about “ecclesial elites”. “When these little groups are created among the people of God, think they are good Christians, even -perhaps-they have good intentions, but they are small groups that have privatized salvation.” These ecclesial elites are the small groups who do what? Follow the Commandments, abide by the edicts of Jesus in their behavior, try to practice and develop the virtues and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, acknowledge their sins and confess them, do penance, refrain from profaning the Eucharist if they have unconfessed and unabsolved mortal sins, and all that Catholic stuff. Doing all that “stuff” makes them “ecclesial elites” who “privatize salvation.” He’s right about one thing: in the Church today, these are indeed small groups.
“God – the Pope said – saves us in a people, not in the elites, that we have created in our philosophies or the our understanding of the faith. And these are not the graces of God.” Then ask yourself if “I have a tendency to privatize salvation for me, for my group, for my elite or whether I desert all the people of God, do I walk away from the people of God or am I always in the community, family, with the language of faith, hope, and the language of the works of charity? “. “May the Lord give us the grace to increasingly feel ourselves part of the people of God, personally saved. That’s true: He saves us by name, but we are saved as a people, not in the group that I make for myself”.
Haven’t Catholics always and everywhere been taught that an individual’s sins affects the whole Church, because we are one body? Haven’t Catholics always been taught to be concerned about the other, to love the sinner and hate the sin, to pray for those who are living sinful lives for their conversion, for teaching the truth so that all people could come to the Church and obtain salvation through the sacraments and through living as Christians? The world doesn’t do that. But aren’t those Catholics the ones he’s just insulted as ecclesial elites?
Take note of that final statement quoted above. God saves us as a people (not through Jesus though). He saves us personally by name but collectively as a people (again not through Jesus), and not in a group that “I make for myself.” Aren’t we saved through Jesus by and through the Church He established?
That’s the best I can do with this muddled soliloquy. He may know what he’s talking about, but I don’t believe anybody else really does. Of course, we’ll soon have the interpreters and reinterpreters come out to explain the wisdom, but that might take a while to rehash this into Catholicism.