Continuing his “catechesis” of the Church as a M.A.S.H. unit or an extension of UNICEF, our Pope Francis continues to ignore the big why for the existence of the Church, the big reason why any person would believe they need to be in the Church, to hold the Faith, to practice the Faith, to receive the sacraments, and to die hopefully in a state of grace that would allow them to get to Heaven, to be before the face of God in eternal happiness and joy. That is still the point, isn’t it?
Well, for real Catholics, yes. For those who don’t really believe all that stuff beyond giving lip service to it as an abstract screed of paper ideas, or who don’t believe that any soul goes to hell, the real mission of the ministers of the Church is only one.
To heal and care for its people, the Pope said, is the mission of the Church. This requires, he said, “healing the wounded hearts, opening doors, freeing [people], and saying that God is good, forgives all, is our Father, is tender, and is always waiting for us … “ [And the reason WHY is WHAT?]
Reflecting on today’s Gospel, in which Jesus sends his disciples out to the villages to preach, heal the sick and drive out “unclean spirits,” the Pope stressed the disciples needed a certain attitude. The Gospel, Jesus said, must be proclaimed in poverty, and must be done for no reason other to bring the good news of liberty to the oppressed. [And the reason WHY this is good news is WHAT?]
Although the Apostles preached with no food, sack, or money in their belts, the Pope stressed that the purity and simplicity of how they wished to help others made them happy and satisfied. [And the reason WHY they wanted to help others is WHAT? And where does he get that they were happy and satisfied in their “purity and simplicity”? I don’t recall reading in the Gospels that they were happy and satisfied trying to help others, nor that they were pure and simple, but to the contrary. I recall they were disappointed that their “help” was refused, they were angry and wanted to call in a missile strike, they were confused, they were sad, they were afraid, particularly when Jesus was taken to be crucified and they scattered, and they weren’t happy until Jesus was resurrected, and even then they were more perplexed and astonished. Even after that, they were huddled together in hiding afraid of the Jews when Jesus appeared to them. So, Pope Francis makes it up as he goes along. He makes it sound like hippy Jesus was leading the commune during the summer of love.]
These proclaiming ‘servants,’ he stressed, must have alleviating the miseries of the poor as their sole aim and must never forget their service is not done through human hands, but through the Holy Spirit. [The “proclaiming servants” he never says what they are to be proclaiming. WHAT would they proclaim and WHY? More importantly, he defines the SOLE AIM as what? That’s right, you read it correctly. Alleviating the miseries of the poor is the sole aim of the Church’s ministers.]
If the ministers are supposed to be poor and simple, then why doesn’t he walk around in a hairshirt and barefoot? What about his cardinals? If this is more than pablum, where’s the humble example? Wouldn’t that be fitting for the pope who doesn’t want to live in the Vatican papal apartments, who gets driven around in his Focus, and talks this blather?
I don’t understand why he insists that everyone is always miserable and downtrodden and bleeding from immense chest wounds all the time. Sure, we are sometimes wounded, some with no more than a scratch, some with major life-threatening wounds. Sometimes, we are also filled with joy and exuberance and zeal, knowing we are in a state of grace, or at peace because of the practice of our Faith or intensely beautiful prayer. Even when we suffer from trials, we are not always the walking wounded or prostrate on a stretcher. Sometimes, we are just happy, knowing that we are children of God striving to do His will, or being in the company of others who do so as well. It happens all the time.
And I do not understand how he could say that the sole aim of the ministers of the Church is to alleviate the miseries of the poor without giving each of them a big bag of money to hand out. His statement would only make sense if he spoke of the goal being to get souls to Heaven, speaking of the hope given by the Resurrection, and alluding to sin being the “miseries” to be alleviated, and the “poor” being the faithful practicing the Faith and persevering. But he doesn’t speak of the Church in those terms. He doesn’t explain the good news as Jesus dying for our sins, the Resurrection being our hope, or Heaven being opened to us through the practice of the Faith.
He just doesn’t. Why are the most important things that, when said would explain the point of it all, left unsaid?
Here is Saint Peter explaining the point, and telling us that knowing and understanding the important things we can give a reason for our hope to anyone who asks. Listening to Pope Francis, who could do that?
Let him decline from evil, and do good: let him seek after peace and pursue it: Because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and his ears unto their prayers: but the countenance of the Lord upon them that do evil things. And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good? But if also you suffer any thing for justice’ sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled. But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.
There is a point after all. If the Pope and all ordained spoke like this instead of hiding it and obscuring it, the pews might be full again because there would be a point in being there and holding the Faith.