31st SUNDAY  Year A

In the Gospel this Sunday we find Jesus being critical of the temple clergy of his time. Recently Pope Francis censured clericalism in the Catholic Church. In lieu of my usual blog I offer this week some of his comments.

Pope Francis told the members of the synod that they should respect the faith of all baptised Catholics, trusting ‘holy faithful people of God who continue to believe even when their pastors act like dictators. “I like to think of the church as the simple and humble people who walk in the presence of the Lord, the faithful people of God,” said Pope Francis. He told members to trust the fidelity of the people they listened to in preparation for the synod over the past two years. The faithful people of God have a soul, a conscience and a way of seeing reality

“The cardinals, archbishops and bishops at the synod come from that people and have received the faith from them, usually from their mothers and grandmothers. Among God’s holy and faithful people, faith is transmitted in dialect, and generally in a feminine dialect”, he said. The Church is a mother and women best reflect her, and women know how to hope, know how to discover the resources of the church and of the people, who take huge risks, perhaps with fear but with a lot of courage too.”

“When ministers overstep in their service and mistreat the people of God, they disfigure the face of the church with chauvinistic and dictatorial attitudes,” the pope said. He reminded members of a speech by Sister Liliana Franco Echeverri who spoke about the ongoing service, commitment and fidelity of Catholic women despite often facing exclusion, mistreatment and rejection.

“Clericalism is a whip, it is a scourge, it is a form of worldliness that defiles and damages the face of the Lord’s bride, the church. It enslaves God’s holy and faithful people,” the pope said.  He went on to describe as “a scandal” the scene of young priests going into ecclesiastical tailor shops in Rome “trying on cassocks and hats or albs with lace.” Nevertheless, he said, “the holy faithful people of God go forward with patience and humility enduring the scorn, mistreatment and marginalization on the part of institutionalized clericalism.”

The above is a synopsised version of an article that appeared in the National Catholic Reporter, October 25, 2023


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