Imagine a sick beggar pleading for help at the door of a hospital run by religious. He is immediately welcomed with words of understanding: ‘Welcome, my friend, our doors are open to all.’ After analyzing his state of health, they soon discover that the poor man suffers from a contagious terminal illness, but that he still has the possibility of being cured. What should be done? For his own good, that of the other patients and all of those involved, it is necessary to isolate him and begin a prolonged and painful treatment. However, the patient does not wish to submit to the necessary quarantine, and even less so, to the difficult treatment involved. So he cries out and complains that he is being put aside, insisting that he does not have the strength to bear such a hard life, and claims that the hospital has failed to provide him with the loving care he had expected… His cries attract the attention of the other patients, as well as the administrator of the hospital.
What reaction would we expect the administrator to have? Would it be an ‘act of charity’ to bring the sick man to a room with other patients and leave him there without appropriate treatment, exposing others to the risk of contagion? Would someone dare to accuse the administrator of injustice or a lack of understanding in demanding that he accept the necessary treatment in order to remain in the hospital?
This is a parable that Jesus could narrate today to certain pharisees of the third millennium; bearing the sick on one’s shoulders doesn´t exempt anyone from the duty of applying the needed remedies…
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The Church always has its doors open:
The Church ‘is Jesus’ house and Jesus welcomes, but not only does He welcome: He goes to find people’, just as ‘He went to find’ that man. ‘And if the people are wounded’, the Pope asked, ‘what does Jesus do? Does He rebuke them for being wounded? No, He comes and carries them on his shoulders’. This, the Pope stated, ‘is called mercy’. God speaks of this when He rebukes his people: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’.
[…] And you? Who are you? Who are you, who close the door of your heart to a man, to a woman who wants to improve, to rejoin the People of God, because the Holy Spirit has stirred his or her heart
? Even today there are Christians who behave like the doctors of the law and “do the same thing they did with Jesus”, by objecting: “This one speaks heresy, this one cannot, this one goes against the discipline of the Church, this one goes against the law”. And thus they close the doors to so many people.
(Homily, Casa Santa Martha, March 17, 2015
– Full text in Spanish on Radio Vaticana
The Spirit is the first gift of the risen Lord, and is given above all for the forgiveness of sins. Here we see the beginning of the Church, the glue that holds us together, the cement that binds the bricks of the house: forgiveness. Because forgiveness is gift to the highest degree; it is the greatest love of all. It preserves unity despite everything, prevents collapse, and consolidates and strengthens. Forgiveness sets our hearts free and enables us to start afresh. Forgiveness gives hope; without forgiveness, the Church is not built up. The spirit of forgiveness resolves everything in harmony, and leads us to reject every other way: the way of hasty judgement, the cul-de-sac of closing every door, the one-way street criticizing others. Instead, the Spirit bids us take the two-way street of forgiveness received and forgiveness given.
(Homily, Pentecost, June 4, 2017
The Church’s way, from the time of the Council of Jerusalem, has always always been the way of Jesus, the way of mercy and reinstatement
. This does not mean underestimating the dangers of letting wolves into the fold, but welcoming the repentant prodigal son; healing the wounds of sin with courage and determination; rolling up our sleeves and not standing by and watching passively the suffering of the world. The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for eternity; to pour out the balm of God’s mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart. The way of the Church is precisely to leave her four walls behind and to go out in search of those who are distant, those essentially on the “outskirts” of life. It is to adopt fully God’s own approach
, to follow the Master who said: “Those who are well have no need of the physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call, not the righteous but sinners” (Lk 5:31-32). (Homily, Holy Mass with the new Cardinals, February 15, 2015
God always opens doors, he never closes them. He is the daddy who opens doors for us.
The second thing he says is: don’t be afraid of tenderness. When Christians forget about hope and tenderness they become a cold Church, that does not know where to go
and is entangled in ideologies and worldly attitudes, whereas God’s simplicity tells you: go forward, I am a Father who caresses you. I start to fear when Christians lose hope and the capacity to embrace and caress
[…] The Bible clearly shows that God’s main virtue is that He is love. He waits for us; he never tires of waiting for us. He gives us the gift and then waits for us.
(La Stampa Interview, December 16, 2013
Teachings of the Magisterium
Enter the various parts of our study
Related studies1 - Proselytism among Christians is in itself a grave sin113 - “It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability, in which we are called to recognize the suffering Christ”114 - A pastor is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He risks his life, his reputation, losing his comforts, his status, even lose his ecclesiastical career as well. He cannot be content, keeping to himself. It is so easy to condemn others, but it is not Christian!116 - The thought comes to mind of the temptation of connecting the proclamation of the Gospel with inquisitorial blows. No, the Gospel is proclaimed with gentleness, with fraternity, with love125 - “What is called for is an evangelization capable of shedding light on these new ways of relating to God, to others and to the world around us. The Church is called to be at the service of a difficult dialogue”