Pope: the Church is not a rental house, but a home

Pope Francis addresses pilgrims during his Wednesday General Audience on April 23, 2014. Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA.

Pope Francis focused his daily homily on Jesus’ prayer for the unity of his disciples, cautioning that there are many in the Church who call themselves Catholic, but are only half committed.

There are some groups that “rent the Church, but do not claim it as their home” the Pope observed during his June 5 daily Mass, stating that the Church “is not a house to rent” but rather “is a home to live in.”

Centering his reflections on Jesus’ prayer in John’s Gospel that “all might be one,” the Roman Pontiff explained that there are many people who appear to have “1 foot inside” the Church and 1 foot out, so that they can have “the possibility of being in both places” at once.

Drawing attention to the different mentalities that fuel this attitude, the Bishop of Rome noted that one group is what he called the “uniformists.”

“Uniformity, rigidity – these are hard. They do not have the freedom that the Holy Spirit gives” he said, adding that “They confuse the Gospel that Jesus preached with their doctrine of equality.”

“Christ never wanted His Church to be so rigid – never – and such as these, because of their attitude, do not enter the Church. They call themselves Christians, Catholics, but their attitude drives them away from the Church.”

Bringing to mind a second group, Pope Francis explained that there are “alternativists” in the Church who remain attached to their own ideas and refuse to conform their own minds to the mind of the Church.

“(They) enter the Church, but with this idea, with that ideology, and so their membership in the Church is partial” he observed, saying that “they have one foot out of the Church. The Church is not their home, not their own, either. They rent the Church at some point.”

“Such as these have been with us from the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel: think of the Gnostics, whom the Apostle John beats so roundly, right?  ‘We are ... yes, yes ... we are Catholics, but with these ideas - alternatives.’ They do not share that feeling of belonging to the Church.”

Going on, the Roman Pontiff noted that there is a third group who refuses to fully embrace the Church, which he termed the “exploitationists” that “’seek the benefits’ and go to church, but for personal benefit.”

“The businessmen. We know them well!” he said, explaining that this group has also been around since the beginning of the Church, and can be seen in the figures of Simon Magus, or Ananias and Sapphira.

Observing how these people “took advantage of the Church for their own profit,” the Pope stated that “we see them in the parish or diocesan community, too, in religious congregations, among some benefactors of the Church – many, eh?”

“They strut their stuff as benefactors of the Church, and at the end, behind the table, they do their business. These, too, do not feel the Church as a mother, as their own.”

Pope Francis then went on to describe how there is “a great diversity of people and gifts of the Spirit” within the Church, adding that the Lord tells us that “If you would enter the Church, do so out of love” in order “to give all your heart, and not to do business for profit.”

Admitting that to do this is not easy because “the temptations are many,” the pontiff explained that we must trust in the Holy Spirit, who is the only one that can accomplish this “unity in diversity, freedom, generosity.”

“We are all different…we are not the same, thank God” he said, otherwise “Things would be hellish.”

He then called attention to the importance of being docile to the Holy Spirit, noting that this docility “is the virtue that will save us from being rigid, from being alternativists or exploitationists – or businessmen in the Church: being docile to the Holy Spirit.”

Bringing his homily to a close, Pope Francis prayed that the Lord “send us the Holy Spirit and may the Spirit make this harmony in our communities: parish communities, diocesan communities, the communities of the (ecclesial) movements.”

“Let it be the Spirit that achieves this harmony, for, as one of the Fathers of the Church said: the Spirit Himself is harmony.”


Voices

Iowa and us in a Year of Mercy

Kathryn Jean Lopez

It was in the general-purpose room of St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines that Donald Trump made his last pitch to Iowa voters, inside a caucus room. He wanted to make sure people remembered that not only will he build the wall on our border with Mexico, but that he’s the only candidate who will make Mexico pay for it.

Events

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February 6, 2016

  • Saturday, February, 6

    Second Annual Sisters of Notre Dame Nun Run 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run, 8 a.m., Hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame and La Reina High School and Middle School in Thousand Oaks. Course starts on Dover Avenue in Thousand Oaks and finishes in front of La Reina School. Open to runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels. Professional chip timing technology will be provided to 5K runners by Vendurance Sports. Participants will receive a free T-shirt (while supplies last); pancake breakfast available after the race. Pre-registration is $35 per person for the 5K, and $25 for the 1-Mile. All proceeds support the Sisters of Notre Dame Life and Ministry Fund, allowing the sisters to continue their ministries in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. For more information, contact Chloe Vieira at cvieira@sndca.org, or visit sndca.org/nunrun. 

    Math Competition for Middle School Students & Problem-Solving Workshop for Teachers, 7:45 a.m., Don Bosco Technical Institute, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead.A mathematics competition for fifth through eighth grade students. The 44th annual event will offer awards for the highest scoring individual and teams. Participants must register by Feb. 2 atwww.boscotech.edu/events. Space is limited. The cost is $8 per individual and $5 per person for teams of four or more, up to 15. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m.; one-hour test starts at 9 a.m. Free activities offered and food available for purchase. Award ceremony follows the competition at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Valeria De Luna at MathCompetition@boscotech.edu.

     

    San Fernando Regional Day of Prayer for the RCIA, 1 - 4:30 p.m., St. John Baptist De La Salle Church, 16555 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills. An afternoon of prayer for those who will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion this Lent. Catechumens, candidates, sponsors and team members will come together in prayer with Bishop Joseph V. Brennan. To register or for more information, contact Sandy Cole at (818) 368-1514 or dre@sjbdls.org.

     

    Second Annual Valentine's Dinner/Dance, 7 p.m., St. James School - O'Gorman Center, 4625 Garnet St., Torrance.Dance music from the 50's to the present; $20 per person. Proceeds will benefit our seminarians. For more information, call the parish office at (310) 372-5228, or Ely at (310) 944-3355.  

     

    Snowflake Swing Dinner/Dance, 6 p.m. to midnight,St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1523 Golden Gate Ave., Los Angeles. Great food, door prizes and dancing (assorted music), featuring the LA Trio. Tickets $25; RSVP by Feb. 2. For reservations, call Liza at (323) 664-1305 or Renee at (213) 413-3036. 

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