The constant changes in a society in which God is increasingly ignored present real pastoral challenges for the Church. Nevertheless, faithful to its mission, She cannot betray certain principles despite having to adapt some aspects of pastoral praxis to the new circumstances.
However, it is no novelty that for quite some time, many voices have been raised, both within and outside the Church, regarding an allegedly ‘excessive frugality’ in administering the Sacraments. On reading Francis’ words on the necessity of not closing doors to the Sacraments for any reason, within the Apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, these same voices grew in passion… It was the dawn of long awaited novelties!
What could have been the intention of the Holy Father in bringing up this problem? It is opportune to recall certain concepts…
Quote AQuote B
The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself ‘the door’: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems. (Apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, no. 47, November 24, 2013)
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)
Enter the various parts of our study