Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/20/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We need an evangelical renewal in the Catholic Church. Our Pope is leading us along the way.

Reports concerning this blunt homily are beginning to circulate through media sources around the world. It was a strong message to Catholic clergy who have lost their first love, by losing their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. There have been other times in the history of the Church when the clergy have been corrupted by sin. God seems to begin His Spring cleaning in His own house. Perhaps, as the Apostle Peter wrote to the Church of the first millennium during another great missionary age: " the time has come for judgment to begin with the House of God." (1 Peter 4:17)

Reports concerning this blunt homily are beginning to circulate through media sources around the world. It was a strong message to Catholic clergy who have lost their first love, by losing their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Reports concerning this blunt homily are beginning to circulate through media sources around the world. It was a strong message to Catholic clergy who have lost their first love, by losing their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/20/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Clergy abuse, sex abuse, Catholic reform, clergy reform, renewal, evangelical renewal, Pope Francis, Deacon Keith Fournier


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis is a Parish Priest kind of Pope. His heart is pastoral and it is reflected in his daily homilies. He speaks from the heart and out of prayer over the daily readings. The daily homilies are not primarily doctrinal. However, they are directive and reflective.

He is also a prophetic figure in Christian history. Like his namesake, the little poor man of Assisi named Francis, he is unafraid to address the roots of sin and expose them. He cuts to the chase when such cutting is necessary. That is precisely what he did on Thursday morning, January 16, 2014, during his homily at daily Mass at the Chapel of St. Martha.

Like a good parish priest, Father Francis used the readings from the Holy Mass for his homily. He broke them open as food for the faithful. The Catechism, citing the wonderful Vatican II document on the Word of God (Dei Verbum) reminds us, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord's Body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God's Word and Christ's Body. (CCC#103)

Francis gives us a regular example of letting the scriptures come alive and feeding upon them as bread. In fact, his daily homilies are not only inspiring, they can be of assistance to anyone ordained to preach.

The first reading was taken from the Old Testament Book of Samuel (1 Sam.4:1-11) which tells the story of the people of Israel going down to utter defeat by the Philistines even though, in their arrogance, they thought they were doing some of the right things. It was because they had fallen away from their first love, their relationship with the Lord. Their leaders had become corrupted as a result of sin, which is separation from God.

The Holy Father used the biblical account to get to the heart of the sexual abuse crisis the Church is suffering through. Its root cause is sin. Its remedy requires conversion. Vatican Radio gave a summary of the homily entitled Pope Francis: scandals happen when there is no true relationship with God.

*****
Scandals in the Church happen because there is no living relationship with God and His Word. Thus, corrupt priests, instead of giving the Bread of Life, give a poisoned meal to the holy people of God: that's what Pope Francis affirmed in his homily Thursday morning during the Mass celebrated in the Santa Marta guesthouse.

Commenting on the day's reading and responsorial Psalm which recount the crushing defeat of the Israelites by the Philistines, the Pope notes that the people of God at that time had forsaken the Lord. It was said that the Word of God was "uncommon" at that time . The old priest Eli was "lukewarm" and his sons "corrupt; they frightened the people and beat them with sticks." In their battle against the Philistines, the Israelites brought with them the Ark of the Covenant, but as something "magical," "something external." And they are defeated: the Ark is taken from them by their enemies. There is no true faith in God, in His real presence in life:

"This passage of Scripture," the Pope says, "makes us think about what sort of relationship we have with God, with the Word of God: is it a formal relationship? Is it a distant relationship? The Word of God enters into our hearts, changes our hearts. Does it have this power or not? Is it a formal relationship? But the heart is closed to that Word!

It leads us to think of the so many defeats of the Church, so many defeats of God's people simply because they do not hear the Lord, do not seek the Lord, do not allow themselves to be sought by the Lord! And then after a tragedy, the prayer, this one: ' But, Lord , what happened ? You have made us the scorn of our neighbors. The scorn and derision of those around us. You have made us the laughing stock (it: favola) among nations! All the nations shake their heads about us. '"
And of the scandals in the Church, Pope Francis said:

"But are we ashamed? So many scandals that I do not want to mention individually, but all of us know...We know where they are! Scandals, some who charged a lot of money.... The shame of the Church! But are we all ashamed of those scandals, of those failings of priests, bishops, laity?

Where was the Word of God in those scandals; where was the Word of God in those men and in those women? They did not have a relationship with God! They had a position in the Church, a position of power, even of comfort. But the Word of God, no! 'But, I wear a medal,' 'I carry the Cross ' ... Yes, just as those bore the Ark! Without the living relationship with God and the Word of God! I am reminded of the words of Jesus about those for whom scandals come ... And here the scandal hit: bringing decay (it: decadenza) to the people of God, including (it: fino alla) the weakness and corruption of the priests."

Francis concluded his homily, turning his thoughts to the people of God, saying:

"Poor people! We do not give the Bread of Life to eat; we do give - in those cases - the bread of Truth! And many times, we even offer a poisoned meal! 'Awaken! Why do you sleep, Lord?' Let this be our prayer! 'Awaken! Do not reject us forever! Why do you hide Your face? Why do You forget our affliction and oppression?' We ask the Lord that we never forget the Word of God, which is alive, so that it enters into our hearts and never to forget the holy people faithful to God who ask us to nourish and strengthen them. "

*****
Reports concerning this blunt homily are beginning to circulate through media sources around the world. It was a strong message to Catholic clergy who have lost their first love, by losing their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. There have been other times in the history of the Church when the clergy have been corrupted by sin. God seems to begin His Spring cleaning in His own house. Perhaps, as the Apostle Peter wrote to the Church of the first millennium during another great missionary age: " the time has come for judgment to begin with the House of God." (1 Peter 4:17)

After all, every man, woman and child ever created is called to live in the Church. She is to become the home of the whole human race. We need to make the Church a place of safety where all men, women and children can truly find redemption and discover the fullness of their destiny in Jesus Christ. The Church must be purified so that she can more effectively rise to the challenge of this new missionary age of which Francis speaks so passionately. 

That means that her clergy (Bishops,Priests and Deacons) must be holy as the Lord is holy. They must be men of intimate communion with the Lord; the kind of intimate communion which can only come about through an encounter with the Risen Lord through prayer. Yesterday's prayer will not sustain any of us today. Continuing in an intimate and dynamic relationship of encounter with the Lord requires continual conversion and a lifestyle of communion with Him. 

We need to pray for Pope Francis as he leads the Church through this time of purification, reform and renewal. We need to pray for all of the clergy of the Church. All of us, no matter what our state in life or vocation, need to respond to the universal call to holiness by cultivating lives of daily prayer and communion with the Lord. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we can immerse ourselves in the Word of the Lord. Francis approaches the Word of God out of prayer and communion. He shows us the way to do the same.
 
In the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum (The Word of God) we also find these words, (I)n the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life. (Paragraph 21)

Prayer and communion with the Lord are the key to reading and hearing the Bible in a way in which it comes alive and transforms us. The Living Word, Jesus, speaks to us through the written word. The written word puts us in touch with the Living Word. Prayer is the connection.

We need an evangelical renewal in the Catholic Church. Our Pope is leading us along the way.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Europe

FELONIOUS FASHION STATEMENT: Sex trafficking gangs in Britain brand their victims with tattoos Watch

Image of Human trafficking gangs in the United Kingdom have taken to marking their victims with tattoos -- echoing the treatment of prisoners of war in Nazi concentration camps.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to Britain's National Crime Agency, human trafficking gangs are tattooing their victims to "signify ownership." The agency has since published figures showing a spike in the number of British people exploited by gangs. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Human trafficking in U.K. fueled by Internet advertising Watch

Image of The NCA, Britain's equivalent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, came into operation last October with the aim of better coordinating police action on issues such as child sex abuse and organized crime.

By Kieran Guilbert, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The number of people locked in slavery in Britain rose by 22 percent last year, with online dating, social media sites and Internet job advertisements used increasingly to recruit victims, a new report showed on Tuesday. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain's ... continue reading


Old Age Is a Time of Grace: Pope Francis Calls the World to Honor the Elderly Watch

Image of More than 40,000 elderly men and women, including thousands of grandparents and grandmothers, attended this event. Prior to the Liturgy, an event entitled, The Blessing of a Long Life, featured powerful testimonies on aging and old age. Five passages from the Bible were used to demonstrate the dignity and contribution of the elderly throughout the history of God's plan of salvation.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

This Pope, who coined the powerful phrase - Throwaway Culture- to challenge the instrumentalism of the age and offer in its place a recovery of authentic love, demonstrated the breadth of his Pro-Life vision in his actions and his words on Sunday. The honored ... continue reading


British bishop tenders resignation over affair with married woman Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bishop Kieran Conry, of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton announced his resignation this past weekend. It was later learned that the 63-year-old bishop had an affair with a married mother-of-two and had engaged in an illicit affair with a second woman.  ... continue reading


Guarding horde for three days and nights, British builder unearths wealth of Roman coins Watch

Image of Egerton's discovery is also one of the best preserved  fourth century collections yet unearthed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amateur metal finder has unearthed one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain. Fifty-one-year-old Laurence Egerton made the discovery as he explored land near Seaton in East Devon. So keenly aware of this once-in-a-lifetime find, he camped out ... continue reading


Parchment maps suggest Marco Polo landed in Alaska two centuries before Columbus Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Excluding the Vikings, it's a given that Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus discovered what would later become known as America in 1492. However, centuries-old maps and documents now suggest that Marco Polo got there first. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This ... continue reading


Priests, as well as chaplains at risk in Ukraine frontlines Watch

Image of Ukraine's soldiers have been assisted by chaplains from the numerous Christian confessions in the country: Ukrainian Greek Catholics; Roman Catholics; Ukrainian Orthodox - both Moscow and Kyiv Patriarchates and Protestant communities.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than 3,200 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. The provinces have experienced continual warfare between its government, and pro-Russian separatists and Russian forces. Those among the frontlines there include priests - both ... continue reading


Teenage couple, 14 and 15 years old arrested for lewd acts on Scottish beach Watch

Image of Hot weather there recently triggered an avalanche of sun and drink-seeking teenagers at the Scottish beaches of Troon and Ayr.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Scottish seaside beaches of Troon and Ayr have been the scene of some unsavory acts as of late. In one tasteless recent incident, a 15-year-old girl performed sexual acts on a 14-year-old boy mere feet away from vacationing families and children. LOS ... continue reading


Google's ongoing battle in Europe could cost it $6 billion Watch

Image of Google could face a fine of $6 billion if it loses its ongoing battle with the European commission.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Google's legal troubles with the European commission could cost it 10% of its global revenue, or about $6 billion, if it does not alter its offer to settle complaints, a fine that would be larger than the nearly $3 billion fine levied against Microsoft. LOS ... continue reading


Flown to France, Iraqi Christians get new chance at life Watch

Image of Few of the refugees speak French. Most have never ridden in a plane, let alone traveled to a Western country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fleeing the death machinations of the Islamic State, 150 Iraqi Christians, of all ages boarded a plane headed to France for a chance at a new life. The people there at the Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan, boarding a French government plane all agree on one point - ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 23:20-23
20 'Look, I am sending an angel to precede you, to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:1-5, 10
1 At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Leger
October 2: Leger was raised at the court of King Clotaire II and by his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter