Pope Francis responds to his critics

November 23, 2016

Excerpted from La Stampa

If someone is already “in the church and moves within it because precisely in the world of the church they cultivate and feed their hunger for domination and self-affirmation, [then] they have a spiritual disease; they believe the church is a self-sufficient human reality where everything proceeds according to the logic of ambition and power.”  There is a “sinful habit of the church to look too much at itself as if it believed it had its own light” — what Bartholomew called an “ecclesial introversion,” the pope said. Divisions are born when the church looks too much too itself and not to the real light of Christ, which the church reflects like the moon does sunlight.  “Looking at Christ frees us from this habit and also from the temptation of triumphalism and rigidity,” the pope said.  The guide for knowing the right path to take is always understanding the importance of following the Holy Spirit, he said.

It is walking behind Christ and doing his will by praying together, helping the needy and dying as martyrs together that will unite all Christians who already share the same baptism.

Ecumenism is a process, a walking together, not carving out or “occupying spaces,” or setting aside and ignoring theological differences, he said.

The “grave sin” of proselytism, too, goes against the “dynamic” of authentically becoming and being Christian. “The church is not a soccer team seeking fans,” he said.