Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM

The Pope has released an apostolic exhortation which can be found in its entirety here. No doubt this will make people mad for a variety of reasons. Progressives are talking about his firm stand against women priests and any relaxation of his stand against their favorite sins. Conservatives may also have reason to feel uneasy as he speaks out against spiritual worldliness and infighting amongst Catholics. Press reaction to the exhortation has been mixed. The National Catholic Register hails it as a guide to Christian outreach. The Washington Post concentrates on his denunciation of trickle down economic theories and his critique of capitalism. The BBC on the other hand headlines possible changes to power dynamics at the Vatican with decentralization. Here are some excerpts that struck me as I scanned the document. Go read it for yourself. EVANGELII GAUDIUM

Get it while it's hot. Someone is offering the exhortation in popular reader formats here. Last time this happened it didn't last long so jump on it.

94. This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.

96. This way of thinking also feeds the vainglory of those who are content to have a modicum of power and would rather be the general of a defeated army than a mere private in a unit which continues to fight. How often we dream up vast apostolic projects, meticulously planned, just like defeated generals! But this is to deny our history as a Church, which is glorious precisely because it is a history of sacrifice, of hopes and daily struggles, of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, tiring as it may be, for all work is “the sweat of our brow”. Instead, we waste time talking about “what needs to be done” – in Spanish we call this the sin of “habriaqueísmo” – like spiritual masters and pastoral experts who give instructions from on high. We indulge in endless fantasies and we lose contact with the real lives and difficulties of our people.

97. Those who have fallen into this worldliness look on from above and afar, they reject the prophecy of their brothers and sisters, they discredit those who raise questions, they constantly point out the mistakes of others and they are obsessed by appearances. Their hearts are open only to the limited horizon of their own immanence and interests, and as a consequence they neither learn from their sins nor are they genuinely open to forgiveness. This is a tremendous corruption disguised as a good. We need to avoid it by making the Church constantly go out from herself, keeping her mission focused on Jesus Christ, and her commitment to the poor. God save us from a worldly Church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings! This stifling worldliness can only be healed by breathing in the pure air of the Holy Spirit who frees us from self-centredness cloaked in an outward religiosity bereft of God. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the Gospel!

98. How many wars take place within the people of God and in our different communities! In our neighbourhoods and in the workplace, how many wars are caused by envy and jealousy, even among Christians! Spiritual worldliness leads some Christians to war with other Christians who stand in the way of their quest for power, prestige, pleasure and economic security. Some are even no longer content to live as part of the greater Church community but stoke a spirit of exclusivity, creating an “inner circle”. Instead of belonging to the whole Church in all its rich variety, they belong to this or that group which thinks itself different or special.

1 comment:

Barona said...

Has this pope been receiving visitations from St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila?

Pope Francis is trying to - I hope this is not too colourful, so I'll have to watch it - give us a good, collective and individual kick up the backside?

Well, with the Church in a "grave crisis" (his own words) we certainly need it.

This document needs study and Catholic ACTION!!!