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'The Church Must Not Impose “impossible Burdens” on People... but It Also Must Not “come Down off the Cross” by Abandoning Its Core Principles'

Posted on the 06 March 2015 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

You want to know what drives Pope Francis, then you'll want to read John L. Allen Jr's “The Francis Miracle: Inside the Transformation of the Pope and the Church.

Crux has published excerpts:

It was the kind of Vatican meeting that normally shuffles along for two weeks without making headlines, but in October 2014 a tumultuous synod of bishops captured both the excitement and the alarm that Pope Francis is generating in the Catholic Church. Roughly 260 bishops, clergy and laity from Pope-Francis-Disfigured-Manaround the world gathered in Rome to debate issues that have embodied the Church’s identity for generations: family life, marriage and sexual morality. There have been 26 such synods since the first in 1967, and they’ve generally been tame affairs. This time, however, the gathering was filled with intrigue and controversy.

Two sides squared off: traditionalists, unnerved by the new pope, and progressives, hoping to spur Francis on to even greater change. On the right, prelates complained of a plot to suppress their voices and led an internal revolt — one disgruntled cardinal even told the media that the pope was sowing the seeds of confusion and owed the world an apology. Inside the synod hall, another rose to accuse a cardinal advocating a permissive line on divorce of spreading “sickness and disease.” On the left, reformers groused about a lack of nerve, and many saw the final document of the synod as a disappointing concession on issues such as a new welcome for homosexuals, recognizing positive values in non-traditional relationships and the possibility of allowing Catholics who divorce and remarry outside the Church to receive communion. Yet both sides could agree on at least one thing: Francis had let loose a battle for the soul of Roman Catholicism.

Given the upheaval and acrimony that surfaced over the two weeks, it was tempting to frame the 2014 synod of bishops as a defeat for the pope, proof that he can’t control the forces he’s generated — in effect, that his leadership has put the Church in danger of spinning out of control. There were even hints that Francis might rethink his plans to call a second, larger synod in October 2015, on the grounds he was lucky this one didn’t fall apart completely and he might not want to tempt fate again.

Then, at the close of the meeting, Francis broke his silence, giving a 15-minute talk that seemed to capture the spirit of the Church he wants to lead. He noted that at the beginning of the event he had called on bishops to speak boldly and hold nothing back and said he would have been disappointed if there hadn’t been “animated discussion.”

In the most critical portion of his speech, Francis ticked off several temptations that the Church must avoid if it’s to resolve its challenges successfully. It must not succumb to a “hostile rigidity,” a fussy legalism devoid of compassion and subtlety. At the same time, it must also reject what he called a “destructive do-goodism” and a “false mercy,” a touchy-feely morality incapable of calling sin by its name. The Church must not impose “impossible burdens” on people, he said, but it also must not “come down off the cross” by abandoning its core principles in order to win approval. Francis recognized that both sides that emerged at the synod — reformers pushing the Church toward its future and conservatives determined not to jettison its past — had a point, and that each perspective wouldn’t be fully Catholic without the other. He drew a five-minute standing ovation, including prelates who not long before had been virtually at one another’s throats.

Lots more at the link.

Well worth your time.

The Pope's willingness to be merciful, I am convinced, is at the heart of what makes him so popular to so many.

The older I get, the more mistakes I see myself making over the many years, the more I see my need for mercy.

Viva il Papa.

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