In a previous study, we analyzed a reference that Francis presented in number 159 of Amoris Laetitia. Taken from a catechesis of Pope John Paul II, July 14, 1982, this reference was truncated in its essential theological dimension. Consequently, having silenced what Pope John Paul II had affirmed in recalling that virginity and celibacy are based on an option for the sake of the “kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 19:12), Francis prompts a one-sided interpretation.
Let’s imagine a ship from the era of the explorers, manned by valiant souls, setting off on a noble mission – to bring the treasure of the faith and civilization to distant, inhospitable lands. Their endeavors would not only win them earthly glory but, above all, a heavenly reward for having opened wide the doors of Redemption to numerous souls.
‘My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me’ (Jn 10:27). No one can but be enchanted at the sight of a flock led by its shepherd.
To pardon and show mercy are characteristic attitudes of every good Christian. However, it happens that at times we do not know what, or who, to pardon.
“Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!” These were the last words pronounced by Madame Roland, one of the vital participants of the French Revolution, before she lay her head on the block to be guillotined.
Perusing the pages of human history, and comparing ages long past, peoples distant from one another, and the most different cultures, we notice one common denominator: the presence of egoism, power struggles, greed and all the other vices related to pride. It is not surprising, since our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell into the trap of the evil one, thinking that by their disobedience they would become ‘like gods’ (cf Gen 3:5).
What joy for a mother to receive a flower form her little child! Her joy would surely be greater if her little one did not just offer her one rose, but a beautiful bouquet. What joy would be hers if, on a very special day all her children were to decorate the house with more than 175 thousand flowers?
The figure of the Good Shepherd, ready to confront the wolf so as to protect and save his sheep even at the cost of his own life (Jn 10: 11-12) is an eloquent and very moving image. Created by Our Lord Jesus Christ himself to describe his own sentiments, it also expresses the pastoral zeal that every Bishop should have for the competent fulfillment of his mission, in collaboration with his priests and under the authority of the High Pontiff, “teaching, sanctifying, and governing” (Vatican Council II. Decree Christus Dominus, no. 11).
As everyone knows, the famous saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” insinuates an adaptation to the customs and culture of the places we visit, in order to feel more at ease and be more easily accepted by the inhabitants. This norm is applied, obviously, to those practices that don’t offend good morals, for it’s also true that as good Catholics we should never frequent places where this could occur. Even more, in places where our faith might be put at risk.
‘Charity begins at home’. This popular expression clearly transmits the attitude that an apostle of the Gospel should have. In fact, no one can give to others what he himself doesn’t possess.