Thursday, March 28, 2013

Becoming Pope Francis

Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein.  Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial. For the poor you have always with you; but me you have not always.
 -- John 12:4-8
I have to say that the image of two "popes" standing side by side was quite disturbing. I don't think that cameras should have been allowed. This should have been done behind closed doors.

Receiving the keys of the kingdom is very much like getting married. Only it is much more serious. The Pope can never become a normal member of the Body of Christ again.

It is not a position that I would wish on anyone. The Pope is a sort of prisoner of Christ for the rest of his life -- like St. Paul. His life is no longer his own. Benedict has gone into a sort of self-imposed imprisonment, or at least I hope this is his intent. Something like the vow of a nun that includes enclosure. He owes it to himself and the Chair of Peter that he once sat in to do this.

For Pope Francis, I don't believe the gravity of the office has yet fully imposed itself on him. I don't know what it will take for him to come to the realization that he is no longer just another bishop among many. He is the Pope. And he will slowly come to realize just exactly what this means. May the Holy Spirit be his guide. And may we all pray for him.

I see great signs in Pope Francis, but at the same time I am concerned of what seems to be an emphasis of Charity over Truth. This is a mistake that the Church has made in the recent past. Yes, we need to evangelize, but the goal of that evangelization must always be the saving of souls -- not ending poverty or world peace or saving the planet. None of these matter in the end if souls are lost.

Those other goals will be achieved much later -- if at all -- after we have converted our lives from the inside out through the power of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. The Church must have faith in her mission -- which is to save the world. But by that what is meant is to save souls.

Christ did not come to end poverty or to bring peace in the way that the world understands those words. He came to end the spiritual poverty of those who have separated themselves from God and to bring the true peace which is found in the love of God.

No comments:

Post a Comment