Pope Francis and the Missionary Spirit

“The Church—I repeat once again—is not a relief organization, an enterprise nor an NGO (Non-Government Organization), but a community of people, animated by the Holy Spirit, who have lived and are living the wonder of the encounter with Jesus Christ and want to share their experience of deep joy, the message of salvation that the Lord gave us. It is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church in this path.” — Pope Francis, Message for World Day of Peace (L’Osservatore Romano, August 28, 2013)

In contrast with his usual custom of keeping what he says brief and to the point, Pope Francis wrote a fairly long message (about one full page in L’Osservatore Romano) for Mission Sunday, which will be observed on October 20, 2013. This letter is rather wide ranging. It strikes me as giving more insight into what Pope Bergoglio is about than almost anything I have previously come across, except perhaps Lumen Fidei.

This Pope’s evident optimism has always puzzled me because he does have, at the same time, a pretty good grasp of the real and growing obstacles to the presence of Christianity in almost every sector of the world and its culture. Near the end of this Message, for instance, Pope Francis tells us:

I wish to say a word about those Christians, who, in various parts of the world, encounter difficulty in openly professing their faith and in enjoying the legal right to practice it in a worthy manner. They are our brothers and sisters, courageous witnesses—even more numerous than the martyrs of the early centuries—who endure with apostolic perseverance many contemporary forms of persecution. Quite a few also risk their lives to remain faithful to the Gospel of Christ.

We do not hear of President Obama or other political leaders drawing “red lines” about such persecution of Catholics. Evidently, the persecution of Christians is not a public or world problem. Indeed, for all too many, Christianity, particularly Catholicism, is the world problem, best to marginalize it or, better, to eliminate it.

The Pope does not give any names of those who do the persecuting. I am not happy about this. But I understand that, if you mention persecution, especially in Islamic states, Christians are then persecuted with greater force. You are blamed for it. Very few places can be found in the world where Catholicism can be freely, openly, and legally present. The fact is that also in the so-called democracies, the prevalent mood of the public order is to reduce religion to the exclusively private sphere with no presence allowed in education, health, culture or other normal areas of human life.

The Pope seems aware of these issues but he remains relatively unconcerned about them. He has an approach to the world through worship, community, and joy that is not deterred by what in fact are huge and growing problems that can only properly be designated as persecution. Nevertheless, he even seems to think that the world could change very rapidly and unexpectedly, not unlike the effect of John Paul II as contrasted to all those experts who assumed that Marxism was here for the duration.

II. Faith Enlightens Reason & Opens Us Up to God
To understand what the Pope is about, we begin with faith. “Faith is God’s precious gift which opens our minds to know and love him. He wants to enter into relationship with us and allow us to participate in his own life.” Several things are to be emphasized here. Faith is not something we conjure up on our own. If we could formulate what faith teaches by our own powers alone, we would not need it. Faith, like creation itself, has the status of “gift,” not that of necessity. We do not have a “right” to it, even though it is at least offered to everyone. The other side of this gift-status, however, is that our constitution, worldview, or politics ought not to go out of its way to prevent us from hearing and practicing what this faith is about. Faith comes by hearing and listening, as Paul said. But much can be done today by governments, media, and other associations to prevent anything tinged with faith from being heard, printed, or even spoken. Try to bring a Bible into an Islamic country or mention God in a public school.

However, this “gift” contains something—an understanding, an intelligibility addressed to the mind. It is designed to “open” our minds. The faith is in line with reason. Indeed, I would say that faith makes reason more what it is, that is, more reasonable. This “more” means that, if our philosophy, if what we know by reason, is in line with what is, the faith will come across to us as making sense of issues we did not otherwise figure out by ourselves. Faith was not designed to make us ignorant but to provide us more “mind” so that we could see how much more there is to see than what we know by ourselves.

We hear talk of “man’s search for God.” But it rarely occurs to us that all the while God is searching for us. If this searching is so, we might ask: Why cannot God find us? Doesn’t He know where we are? This is the point. We cannot be found even by God unless we are willing to be found, that is, unless we are willing to admit that we don’t already know everything. Many are reluctant to admit this personal side of a lack of faith. The essence of modernity is that we need only ourselves. More explicitly, we prevent God from knowing us if we are sinners, or better, if we are not willing to admit that we need to be forgiven.

We need to realize that we cannot explain the world except through God and His purpose for us. God wants us to participate in His life; we are in fact created to lead a life that is beyond our natural capacity. We are invited into this life with creation itself. But God also made us free. He knows that living the life of God is not possible unless we want to live it. So faith, reason, and will come together, as the Pope intimates in his brief introductory sentence.

Pope Francis thus adds that the faith is not for a “few.” But still it “needs to be accepted.” In short, God does not want to be in our hearts if we do not want Him there. “Everyone should be able to experience that joy of being loved by God.” Moreover, this “gift of salvation” is not something that we can or should keep to ourselves. This is where the theme of the mission comes in. “If we want to keep it (the faith) only to ourselves, we will become isolated, sterile and sick.” I had several student friends who went to World Youth Day in Rio. This sense of joy was the sort of feeling or atmosphere that the pope creates around him, as the students recalled it.

“The proclamation of the Gospel is part of being disciples of Christ and is a constant commitment that animates the whole life of the Church.” The Church does not exist for itself alone and its present members. The Apostles are “fishers of men.” Something exists in the Church that seeks to gather others to itself. This is, of course, nothing less than the Holy Spirit. Following a comment of Benedict XVI, Pope Francis adds: “Each (Catholic) community is ‘mature’ when it professes faith, celebrates it with joy during the liturgy, lives charity, proclaiming the Word of God endlessly, leaves its own to take it to the ‘peripheries,’ especially to those who have not yet had the opportunity to know Christ.” The spirit of Pope Francis, as I see it, is contained in this passage. When anyone comes within a Catholic church, it is this spirit and joy that the Pope wants everyone to see there, even if it is a persecuted Church.

III. Pursue Missionary Effort With Courage & Joy
What is this “missionary spirit”? It is not only about “geographical territories, but about peoples, cultures and individuals, because the ‘boundaries’ of faith do not only cross places and human traditions, but the heart of each man and each woman.” This too is a remarkable sentence. We cannot confine the spirit to nations and cultures. Individuals from any religion, philosophy, or place can be touched. This is why we have individual Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and atheists suddenly—not often, to be sure—but actually to be touched by a grace that he accepts. Many of the greatest saints and figures in Catholicism have gone this route and still do so today. On the other hand, Pope Francis adds that everyone has also to be aware of making the faith known to others. The Apostles themselves were witnesses to churches in different areas in their travels. An “apostolic community is not complete unless it aims at bearing witness to Christ before all nations and before all peoples.”

But does not this emphasis on making the faith known go directly against multiculturalism and does it not smack of “proselytism”? Both external and internal obstacles prevent this missionary aspect to flourish. If a parish or culture lacks joy and delight in the faith and in truth, how will it appear to those outside of it? To make his point, Francis cited Paul VI who said (Evangelium Nuntiandi, #80) that it is indeed wrong to “impose” faith on anyone. “But to propose to their consciences the truth of the Gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ, with complete clarity and total respect for free options which it presents…is a tribute to this freedom.” The truth is that there are few places where this sort of freedom is actually practiced or allowed to be practiced.

Pope Francis seems to understand this difficulty. We must be joyful and announce the Gospel. Christ came to “show the way to salvation.” We are to make it known “to the ends of the earth.” Yet, “all too often we see that it is violence, lies, and mistakes that are emphasized and proposed.” This is how the Church is pictured. Thus, “it is urgent in our time to announce and witness to the goodness of the Gospel, and this from within the Church itself.” Again, this passage is the key to Pope Francis’s approach to the modern world. We all know about men as sinners, especially clergy and Christians. But we forget that Christ came so that sins might be forgiven, not that they be so totally eradicated that His presence is no longer necessary and freedom no longer allowed. But still the words of Christ are to be known to “the ends of the world.”

Yet, “one cannot announce Christ without the Church.” Francis makes this point graphic by citing Paul VI: “When an unknown preacher, catechist, or Pastor preaches the Gospel, gathers the little community together, administers a Sacrament, even alone, he is carrying out an ecclesial act.” What we are stands within the grace and understanding of what the Church is, the Body of Christ. Still, a large number of those who had the faith fall away under the pressures of their own sins or the temptations of the culture. Moreover, “a large part of humanity has not yet been reached by the good news of Jesus Christ.” Francis does not seem to be discouraged by any of this. We should just preach the Gospel “courageously and in every situation.” The temptation is to judge the Church by modern sociological or political standards and not vice versa.

The Pope is blunt, in words I cited above: “The Church—I repeat again—is not a relief organization, an enterprise or an NGO, but a community of people, animated by the Holy Spirit, who have lived and are living the wonder of the encounter with Jesus Christ, and want to share this experience of deep joy, the message of salvation that the Lord gave us.” It is this “spirit of joy” that seems to be, as it were, Pope Francis’ “ace in the hole.” It is this spirit that he knows is the key that men of our and any time are looking for in all they look for. “It is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church on its path.” It is this sense of confidence that animates Pope Francis.

The Pope then calls frankly for missionaries. Bishops are to pay attention to this need. Missionaries have a double purpose. One is to bring the good news to those who do not know it or to those who have lost it. But secondly it is to bring back the “freshness” of the lives of Christians in communities we do not know. This is what the Apostles did in their journeys. It is at this point that Francis adds the remarks that I cited above on the persecuted Church all around us, but largely unrecognized by our contemporaries, even by ourselves.

We sometimes are tempted to think that things look hopeless. There is no doubt that the disorders of our time show marks of diabolical logic and force. The Pope frequently touches on this presence himself. But his response is that of John XXIII, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI—“courage.” And he adds a surprising comment of Benedict. “The word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere.” The disorders of our time are in fact so bizarre and painful that men in their heart cannot help but seeing that something is radically wrong. The “abolition of man” seems almost complete. Where to turn? I think when men finally choose to see the human greatness of a John Paul II, the intelligence and wisdom of a Benedict XVI, and the joy of Pope Francis, it may become obvious that the Holy Spirit has indeed been there all the time.

We need not cease in pounding away at the aberrations of our times, for they are indeed great. But we do see that something else is also at work in our midst. That something else, the breath of the Holy Spirit, the plan of the Father, is also there in our very souls if we will allow ourselves to see it. This is why Pope Francis tells us that the Church is not a welfare agency or a government program, but an experience of deep joy and salvation. It is the Holy Spirit that guides us. Who else? This is the message of mission that Pope Francis seems to have seen in a world full of sins and disorders of the most terrible kinds, things we won’t acknowledge until we encounter the joy in the community that worships God in the manner that God Himself, in the Incarnation and Crucifixion, taught us.

Editor’s note: This essay first appeared September 16, 2013 in Catholic World Report and is reprinted with permission.

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J.

By

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., taught political science at Georgetown University for many years. His recent books include The Mind That Is Catholic from Catholic University of America Press; Remembering Belloc from St. Augustine Press; and Reasonable Pleasures from Ignatius Press. His newest books are A Line Through the Human Heart: On Sinning and Being Forgiven (2016) and the forthcoming On the Principles of Taxing Beer and Other Brief Philosophical Essays (2017). His most recent book is Catholicism and Intelligence (Emmaus Road, 2017).

  • Dick Prudlo

    I think this sentimentality is enough to drive many off the cliff. Why is it necessary for us to read between the lines on everything coming from our sophomoric pope? I await his first encyclical on any subject he chooses, and then will decide where this man is leading us.

    • lifeknight

      AMEN. I had suggested an encyclical so that the interpreters could be put to rest. I am getting close to the cliff–smiling of course.

    • Marcelus

      Sophomoric? Do you think the rest of Catholics around the world share these views?? My friend, agreed, if the Pope says “good morning” they ‘ll say he meant “good evening” somehow.

      But I could certainly tell you some million catholics are more than happy with the Pope.

      • Dick Prudlo

        Do I care what the rest of the Catholics around the world believe? What I care about is what should be believed, Marcelus. What this pope needs to do is begin the process of being a pope. That means leading and not giving the enemy of Christ and His Church more fodder to beat the faithful over the head with.

        • Marcelus

          HAs the Lord my friend enlightened you in some special way to be so omnipoten?

          “Do I care what the rest of the Catholics around the world believe”

          It’s a Church my friend…

          • Dick Prudlo

            No, Marcelus is my brief answer. Catholic’s don’t believe anything anymore. They go to the Church of Nice and enjoy the entertainment provided by their “priests” in their newly designed prom dresses and proclaim after the “mass” that all of those other Catholics must think their enlightened.

            • Marcelus

              I’m sorry, I live in S AMerica, Argentina to be precise. I keep reading complaints on the way NO mass is said and priests are dressed, people’s behavior and so on.

              I even read something on tambourines being played during mass?

              What is happening up there?

              You know I attend mass , on a daily basis almost, Leave my kids at Parrochial School, and walk a few steps to St. PAtrick’s church next door.,

              It’s NO mass and occasionally, some festive SUnday I can may recall a few kids from the Catholic youth with classic guitars playing some religious songs, but that’s just as far as it goes,

              Mass is a serious and solemn act, though not rigid at all down here and pretty much in all parishes I ‘d dare say

              • Dick Prudlo

                I am delighted to hear that the Mass you attend has none of the aspects of what we experience here in N. America. Be grateful, Marcelus. We have in many churches a circus atmosphere, and nothing that would give you the impression you are visiting a Catholic Church. Very Sad but true.

        • slainte

          Mr. Prudio and Marcelus,
          Pope Francis is leading and is not afraid to call our culture to account.
          For your consideration, an excerpt from Pope Francis’ homily of November 18, 2013 as reported today by Donald McClarey of “The American Catholic”:

          “…..“They go to “negotiate ” and are excited about it. It is as if they said “we are progressives; let’s follow progress like everyone else does”. As reported by Vatican Radio, the Pope noted that this is the “spirit of adolescent progressivism” according to which “any move forward and any choice is better than remaining within the routine of fidelity”. These people, therefore , negotiate “loyalty to God who is always faithful” with the king. “This is called apostasy”, “adultery.” They are, in fact, negotiating their values​​, ” negotiating the very essence of being faithful to the Lord .”

          “…..And this is a contradiction: we do not negotiate values​​, but faithfulness. And this is the fruit of the devil, the prince of this world , who leads us forward with the spirit of worldliness. And then there are the direct consequences. They accepted the habits of the pagan, then a further step: the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and everyone would abandon their customs. A globalizing conformity of all nations is not beautiful, rather, each with own customs but united, but it is the hegemonic uniformity of globalization, the single line of thought . And this single line of thought is the result of worldliness …. “ – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/11/19/popewatch-progressives/#sthash.gP2CbYfX.dpuf

  • Steve Frank

    With all due respect to the Pope, much of what he says when it comes to evangelism is the same wishy washy doublespeak that has been prevalent in the Church since Vatican 2. On one hand we’re told that Christians must bring the “message of salvation” to the world, but then we’re also told “don’t worry though, God still brings grace to men through other religions too”. How can you expect to garner enthusiasm for evangelism with such a hazy definition of evangelism and salvation of non Christians? Up until about a century ago, evangelism was a clear cut issue for Catholics. Salvation outside the institutional Church was impossible, as was taught by numerous past Popes and councils. Then at some point prior to but not too long before Vatican 2, the Church started to open the door just a crack and say that salvation might be possible for non Christians (or more specifically non Catholics) , although it was still declared to be very uncertain. I think the Church judged correctly at that point. The New Testament doesn’t give us a lot of hope for the salvation of those who have not explicitly converted to Christ, however God has not tied his own hands so I don’t think we can ever make absolute pronouncements about the fate of all non Christians. Having said that, I think the Church made an unfortunate turn at Vatican 2. At that point, a door that was only ajar was kicked wide open and ripped off it’s hinge. Suddenly we went from the uncertain possibility that non Christians might be saved to the probability that they are saved, at least all those of “follow their conscience”. Once that happened, Catholic interest in evangelism evaporated overnight. Whenever I talk to a Catholic about evangelism I get the same response…”leave people who follow other religions alone”. And how can you blame them? If God imparts grace through other religions why would we anyone want to inconvenient themselves by changing religions? Unless and until the Church clarifies the biblical teaching that the souls of all non Christians are in grave danger, any calls for renewed interest in evangelism among Catholics will fall flat.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      Don’t think that this “anyone can be saved” sort of notion is not fundamental in explaining why so many Catholics left the Church. It’s not that they think that all WILL be saved, it’s just that one doesn’t need Christ and his Church in order to be saved – so they believe. How wrong the are. ALL salvation is through Christ and His Church (cf Dominus Iesus)

      • Steve Frank

        Yes, but isn’t this where the whole idea of the “anonymous Christian” comes in? Some argue that salvation is indeed by the Church, but they would also say it’s possible to belong to the Church in some mystical way without being conscious of it. I don’t buy that myself, I just don’t see it taught in the New Testament. But it’s a prevalent teaching in modern day Catholicism. Which is why so many lay Catholics don’t believe evangelism is necessary anymore (and why some who do take evangelism seriously have left Catholicism for Evangelicalism).

        • slainte

          Vatican II’s emphasis on Ecumenism makes Catholic missions obsolete.

          • Steve Frank

            I was listening to a priest on TV not too long ago and he was questioned whether the sacrament of penance was really necessary for the forgiveness of sin (pre-Vatican 2 Catholics were told it was absolutely necessary). The priest’s response was “oh of course not. That would mean all non Catholics could not go to heaven but Vatican 2 has told us that all religions can lead to God”. Then he was asked “why bother encouraging anyone to become Catholic then if Catholic sacraments are not necessary for salvation? His answer was that by going through the act of confession to a priest and hearing the words that a person’s sins were forgiven, that person would live with less guilt and fear. In other words, what he was really saying is that the only purpose for Catholic evangelism is to bring people into a spiritual tradition that is supposedly more psychologically reassuring than other religions. Salvation could be found in all religions he said, but only the Catholic religion could provide the optimum psychological comfort since then a person could actually hear his sins being absolved by the words of a priest. I really think that priest’s statement captures the “spirit of Vatican 2”. Evangelism is no longer about rescuing souls in danger as would have been assumed by any pre-Vatican 2 Catholic. The “new and improved” post Vatican 2 Catholicism is about present psychological comfort. The prevalent view of many Catholic leaders now seems to be that all roads lead to God, it’s just that the Catholic Church offers the best road. Such a view of evangelism is so lacking in urgency that it’s hard people to take it all that seriously.

            • Eric Conrad

              In the end, it is up to us to decide. I think V2 does much more good than harm. There is still a 24 hour phone number for sacramental emergencies. Clearly some people, and churches have not been leaving anything out there to fate.

              We are not only blessed with free will, but free thought. In centuries gone by the church told followers what to think and not think. Today we realize that the business of getting back with God is mostly in our hands.

              • Steve Frank

                From the vantage point of the Catholic Church, V2 did more harm than good to my parents. It drove them right out of the Catholic Church into Protestant Evangelicalism back in the early 1970s. I was only a child at the time. My mother and father had grown up as faithful obedient Catholics. Then Vatican 2 came. At first, they welcomed some of the changes. They liked the fact that the Mass was now in English. They liked that they could start eating meat on Fridays. They liked the idea that perhaps some of their deceased Protestant friends and family members might be in heaven after all. But the “improvements” of Vatican 2 came to them with a double edged sword. The irony was that though they welcomed some of the new changes, with those changes came the growing realization that the Church no longer spoke with authority. They were brought up to believe that the Church had absolute unchanging truth. But suddenly all kinds of things that were black yesterday were white today. So how could they trust anything the Church said?

                Now I realize some would argue that the problem with V2 is that many liberal churchman misinterpreted it’s teachings and passed false ideas down to the laity. I won’t argue that point, other than to say that perception is still reality. And for many Catholics who lived through V2, there was a strong sense that the Church had changed many of it’s teachings. And if they could change today, they could change again tomorrow. So they decided they would trust only the Bible and became Protestants.

                And that is really the ultimate question. Is there an unchanging deposit of truth in Christianity or in Catholicism in particular? Or does everyone find their own way to God on their own? It sounds like you believe the latter, but if that is the case then what is the ultimate purpose of the Church then? If it doesn’t have truth, why bother being connected to it at all?

                • slainte

                  I was educated after VII too and found my way back from the “grayness” of that period. I am confident that others will too.
                  Our historical tradition is too beautiful to relinquish.

              • slainte

                I disagree Eric…we are creatures who are born for the sole purpose of Knowing, Loving, and Worshiping Our Lord Jesus Christ in compliance with the totality of the historic Catholic tradition.

                He is the Creator; we are the creature. He is God; we are not, and never will be, gods notwithstanding the false promises of the spirit of this world.

                Your comment “…Today we realize that the business of getting back with God is mostly in our hands….” is a rejection of hierarchical Catholic teaching, and in its subjectivism is rooted in reformational Protestantism.

              • Marcellus

                How about offering some evidence that Vatican II did more good than harm? There is sure a lot of evidence to the contrary, and I’d like to see your argument backed up by some real evidence.

          • Eric Conrad

            The new Pope seems to be a walking missionary in his own right. New Catholics are coming into the church by droves now. This is due to his focus on love and some of the higher and often overlooked [usually intentionally ] Christian virtues.

            Some are arguing that it is his job to be judgemental. I disagree. It is his job to lead and to minister to the needs of the Catholic church and indeed all of mankind, not just Catholics. So while VII may have closed a missionary door or two, there are certainly many new open windows about.

            • slainte

              Love and mercy must be ordered by the totality of Catholic dogma.
              Fr. Robert Barron has suggested that “Joy” demonstrated by existing, faithful Catholics will attract converts, who, upon entry to the Church, will then be taught the fullness of the Faith. Just not sure what the “fullness of the Faith” means anymore…perhaps just the Nouvelle Theologie.
              Of particular interest, though, is that many new Catholics appear to be “on fire” for the Faith in a way that cradle Catholics are not. I very much hope that these new converts, who are very much welcome, seek the historical Faith also by, among other things, attending the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass and reading the old Catechism.
              Catholicism is so radically beautiful and so worth knowing in its entirety. It will bring Him alive in you in ways that are unimaginable. Pax.

              • Marcelus

                “Catholicism is so radically beautiful and so worth knowing in its entirety. It will bring Him alive in you in ways that are unimaginable. Pax.”

                This is an excellent way of describing our faith.!!! Beautiful. thank you!!

            • Marcellus

              New Catholics are coming into the church by droves? Please supply some evidence for that statement.

              • Marcelus

                Visit Brazil for instance…Learn what is going on Beetween the Church and these heretic evangelical groups there !!!

    • musicacre

      Yes and the “Follow your conscience ” line has been a tripping stone for many. We were instructed by a faithful priest many years ago that we first have a duty to have an”informed ” conscience, which means actively seeking the truth. Finding out the exact Church teaching on a particular teaching, in the case he was specialized in, NFP, and why contraception is always wrong. Otherwise it means blindly following whatever your feelings or gut happens to tell you that day. Incredibly subjective.

      We had some (older) friends that moved from a larger city in central Canada to where we live and they said they based their decision to contracept in the 70’s on what a priest in the confessional said to them….”follow your conscience.” Even though they were completely ignorant of what Church teaching was. I think the priest actually was also. (Ignorant) They felt so cheated so many years later that they weren’t pointed in the right direction. I think so many priests back then were instructed to just give feel-good advice instead of being committed to teaching and healing souls.

  • Adam__Baum

    “The Church—I repeat once again—is not a relief organization, an enterprise nor an NGO (Non-Government Organization), but a community of people,”

    Hmm, this will come as news to Bishop Stephen Blaire, the CCHD, et al.

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  • Thomas C. Coleman, Jr.

    Dear Fr. Schall,
    Thank your for your uplifting and inormative article. I am afriad, however, that contrary to your suggestion, Marxism IS here for the duration. Throughout the world that was once Christendom Marxist intellctuals continue to inject their hatred of all things ordained by God, especially anything realtd to the family, into the spirtual bloods stream of the innocent young, using even Catholic instituions to spread their hatred of God’s Laws. These toxins did not arise from a vacuum. Does anyone really think that with the apparent collapse of the Warsaw Pact Marxist ideologues around the world ran off and demandned to be baptized? Were there purges of Marixst professors from Russinan and Eastern European universities? Does anyone really think that Chinese Communist officials have abandoned Marx for Chrsit because they wear Western-style busniess suits instead of Mao jackets? What Catholic does not know that the true purpose of the homosexual movement, someething embraced by hundreds of priests and Catholic college teachers, is to discredit the Catholic Church as a hate organziation. Many Catholics tod ay have heard Communist leaders praised from pulpit, the same pulpits from which they hear that the counil of Jeruslem freed Christians from Hebrew laws regarding sexual purity. Now comes the greatest trial yet, with those who have courageouly dfeende God’s law being mocked and accused of obsessing over hwat most Catholics today accept or ignore. While none of us can fathom the intend of those words it is clear that the enemies of the Church–the members parallel, counterfiet church that Marxists establsihed–iare now delrious with hope and glee, salivating a the thought that thier moment of triumph is here. We have to give us hope only the promise of Christ that the gates of hell will not prevail.

  • Bernonensis

    In an interview published in La Repubblica just about a week ago, the Pope said: “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.” Not secularism, not Islamic terror, not infanticide, not sodomy, not heresy. If anyone mistakes the Church for an NGO, it is statements like this from our supposed spiritual leaders that have caused the error.

  • accelerator

    “With all due respect to the Pope, much of what he says when it comes to evangelism is the same wishy washy doublespeak that has been prevalent in the Church since Vatican 2.” EXACTLY.

    • Marcelus

      My friends, the Pope is not to be judged and accelerator, no disrespect, but maybe you may find yourself mor at easy in a different Church?

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  • Chris and Jane Jones

    God Bless Pope Francis! !

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