There is a brief observation we would like to make to Francis. It can be noted in his prolific pronouncements that he often mentions the Church as if it were merely a socio-economic organization, rather than a divine institution. There is almost no situation or aspect of the Church that he has spared criticism. He has alleged the need for a “decentralization of the Papacy”; he has shown himself hostile to the hierarchy in declaring that “women are more than the bishops”; he insulted the Roman Curia, labeling it “the plague of the papacy”; and a long et cetera could follow. He voices all this criticism with the purported intention of “helping God’s people”! He is notorious for having removed Christ even from the Gospel, by affirming that “the poor are at the center of the Gospel”.
In these times of confusion, religious orphanhood and secularism, the faithful need to hear, more than ever before, the Word of God proclaimed strongly and clearly. But Bergoglio is the first to lash out at those who do so, accusing them of distancing Catholics from the Gospel…
It has been said that the stained-glass windows of the cathedrals were “the Gospel of the poor”, since all could learn of Christ’s life through their depictions. Today, when so often Christ is relegated to a secondary plane, the liturgy must be celebrated with reverence and dignity so that it speaks of God’s greatness and love in a manner accessible to all. When Mass is celebrated in keeping with the norms proper to it, the Church is respected and God is reverenced. Nevertheless, those who love the liturgy and celebrate it with dignity, are tagged as “worldly and ostentatious” by Francis.
Those who spare neither time nor effort in a conscious and structured endeavor to rescue the afflicted from the grasp of the evil one receive the title of “defeated generals”. We ask, however, are religious indifference and the current hostility to Christianity really such easy adversaries to overcome? When souls are being lost, isn’t it the case to develop an out-and-out battle plan to win them back? Were the organized evangelizing efforts of so many saints, like Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Vincent de Paul, really disconnected from the real lives and difficulties of the people, and a cause for shame in the Church’s History?
Perhaps Bergoglio would do well to think before he speaks and writes. For our part, what we do find ostentatious is presuming to criticize the Church’s two thousand-year past, and considering oneself a sort of new “redeemer” – as if the Father had promised another after Jesus Christ… Rather, we were cautioned to be wary of such folk.
This way of thinking also feeds the vainglory of those who are content to have a modicum of power and would rather be the general of a defeated army than a mere private in a unit which continues to fight. How often we dream up vast apostolic projects, meticulously planned, just like defeated generals! But this is to deny our history as a Church, which is glorious precisely because it is a history of sacrifice, of hopes and daily struggles, of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, tiring as it may be, for all work is ‘the sweat of our brow’. Instead, we waste time talking about ‘what needs to be done’ – in Spanish we call this the sin of ‘habriaqueísmo’ – like spiritual masters and pastoral experts who give instructions from on high. We indulge in endless fantasies and we lose contact with the real lives and difficulties of our people. (Apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, no. 95-96, November 24, 2013)
Enter the various parts of our study
A – The Church tells us to cultivate the liturgy for the benefit of God’s people
B – Are doctrine and prestige really an evil in the Church?
II – Any benefit to the organization of the Church is a direct benefit to God’s people. All that favors those most in need, such as missions and charitable establishments, is the product of a well-structured Church
III – Do vast apostolic projects belong to defeated generals or to the true builders of Church History?