Vatican Corner 04-15-18


Pope Francis grew up in Argentina speaking Spanish and having Italian relatives. His experiences with different cultures and with a wide variety of literature and cinema led to his mastery of metaphor and the ability to use figures of speech and symbols to describe abstract ideas and principles. Some examples of his unique phrasing are as follows: “Parked Christians or Caged Christians”: He defines them as “those who have run aground on the concerns of daily life …they don’t grow, they remain small, they have parked, who don’t know how to fly with the dream to this beautiful thing to which the Lord calls us.” Pope Francis has called money, when it becomes an idol the “devil’s dung” and calling “the lives of the corrupt “varnished putrefaction” because like “whitewashed tombs, they appear beautiful on the outside, but inside they are full of dead bones. The “babysitter church”, Francis explains is a parish that doesn’t encourage active evangelizers but only worries about keeping parishioners inside, out of trouble. “Armchair Catholics” are those that don’t let the Holy Spirit lead their lives. They would rather stay put, safely reciting a “cold morality” without letting the Spirt push them out of the house to bring Jesus to others. Pope Francis urges the world’s priests to be “shepherds living with the smell of sheep” by living with and among the people in order to share Christ with them. Pope Francis has described sin as being more than a stain, it is a rebellious act against God that requires more than just “a trip to the laundromat and have it cleaned.” Francis once told parishioners to bother their priests “like a calf would pester its mother for milk”. Always knock on their door, on their heart so that they give you the milk of doctrine, “the milk of grace and the milk of guidance.” The church, he says, is as a “field hospital after battle”. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds.” Speaking about people who have done evil and know it, Pope Francis said, “they live with a constant itch, with hives that don’t leave them in peace”. Francis denounces the “throwaway culture”, which is one where money and power are the ultimate values and anything or anyone that did not advance money or power were disposable. Human life, the person, are no longer seen as primary values to be respected and protected, especially if they are poor or disabled, if they are not yet useful like an unborn child, or are no longer useful, like an old person. Another one of Pope Francis’s saying is that” Some people are afflicted by “Spiritual Alzheimer’s”, a condition that renders them incapable of remembering God’s love and mercy for them and, therefore, unable to show mercy to others. He asked if people were to get a “spiritual electrocardiogram,” would it be flat lined because the heart is hardened, unmoved and emotionless, or would it be pulsating with the prompting and prods of the Holy Spirit? Speaking about Vatican reform, he said “it is like cleaning an Egyptian Sphinx with a toothbrush.”