On the day of the spectacular descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Apostles were so filled with strength and courage, that Saint Peter went out and converted three thousand people that very day with his preaching. From these conversions we have the first ecclesial testimony: ‘They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life. […] All who believed were together and had all things in common’ (Acts 2: 42–44).
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.
Negative precepts play an important role in moral formation. They remind us that we are limited, dependent and sinful beings, made to lovingly obey an absolute Being who created us and governs us according to his most wise designs.
When reading the Holy Scriptures, people with limited vision could conclude that, in the Old Testament, God was strictly justice: He seems to be an almighty God who made Sinai quake (Ex 19:18), who opened the earth to swallow up the rebels (Num 16: 1–35), a God of vengeance (Ps 94:1) who struck Uzzah dead for having touched the Ark of the Covenant to steady it (2Sam 6: 1–9).
“Do we love the Church as we love our mothers, also taking into account her defects?” This question proffered by Francis, reveals the high concept he has of the institution he governs. The defects of the Church? What is he referring to? Didn’t Saint Paul proclaim her to be “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27)?
In our day, marked by the welcoming of migrants and the ‘collaborating with people who think differently,’ many may be shocked at the words of the Angelic Doctor: ‘Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile’ (I-II, 105, a.3)
Was John the Baptist a man of misgivings or a living torch of conviction? Let’s take a look at how the Gospels sketch him.
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.
When Pilate, with reverential fear, asked Christ about his sovereignty, he answered: ‘You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice’ (Jn 18:37) Was Our Lord perhaps being a fundamentalist in making this affirmation with so much conviction and resolve? Since he is God, made man, the Truth in substance, he could not have acted differently.
“The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world.” With these words, Francis closed his first Way of the Cross in the Coliseum as Bishop of Rome, during a brief speech that foreshadowed his future preaching centered on pardon and mercy. The Pontiff explained, in an original manner, the meaning of the immolation of the Lamb of God, who had offered his life on the Cross to transmit a word of love, stronger than that of justice.