Pastor's Corner 111713

posted Nov 27, 2013, 8:27 AM by Music Director

Our Holy Father Pope Francis has sure had an impact on not just the Church but much of the entire world, hasn’t he?  He has certainly caught the attention of the news media.  Almost every week there’s either an article about him in a newspaper or a report broadcasted online or television.  Most recently, through the Apostolic Nuncio (Vatican ambassador) to our country, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, he rather bluntly told the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting this week in Baltimore to concern themselves less with ideology and focus more on their pastoral duties.  In an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Nuncio is quoted as saying, “The Holy Father wants bishops in tune with their people.  He made a special point of saying that he wants pastoral bishops, not bishops who profess or follow a particular ideology.”  Wow!  Another in a long line of “wow” statements!     

Some have confessed that they are “confused” by what the Pope has been saying.  How extraordinary!  I’m confused by their confusion.  He seems pretty clear to me.  When he said “Who am I to judge?” for example, in reference to gay people (specifically gay men who feel called to the priesthood) wasn’t he just following the Lord’s own commandment about not passing judgment on others? 

But if you count yourself among “the confused” please understand that the Pope isn’t saying we no longer need to be concerned with issues like abortion, artificial contraception, gay marriage, etc.  What he IS saying is that these are not the ONLY issues that should draw our attention and energy.  The issue that should be paramount to us as Christians is the supreme law of love:  to love God above all things, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Now who among us wants to be told to come to church but don’t partake in the Eucharist?  Who among us would go to a dinner party knowing we will not be welcome at the table?  Doesn’t Our Lord say, “Come to me, ALL you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you?”  Can He do this with us pointing our fingers at others?  Can He do this if ours is a policy of exclusion, rather than inclusion? 

The Pope wants a more welcoming church.  Bra-vo!  How we’re going to achieve that, I’m not sure.  But it’s something we here at St. Charles have made our Number 1 priority and pride ourselves on being:  an open, welcoming faith community; a real family of believers.  Let’s keep that up, and even increase our efforts wherever, however possible.  But for those who still find themselves “confused” by anything our Holy Father is saying, I highly recommend 4 references that should help clarify his statements:  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.



In His Love,

Fr. Mike