Get down and dirty
Get down and dirty, said Pope Francis to all Christians. He no longer speaks only to Catholic Christians but to all who believe in Christ. He is talking beyond to but also through and beyond the Catholic Church, and he is not waiting for conclaves to combine those who are already one in basic beliefs--the divinity of Christ and the resurrected physical life of a better world to come; a world that Christians must create in anticipation of Christ’s Second Coming to judge the living and dead if they treated the poor badly or well.
He finds differences among Christian churches to be trifles. While key issues like abortion and the sanctity of life once conceived are never to be compromised, they must, for now, take the back burner while pressing issues like dragging heretics, who preach that free markets will provide where God will not, before the court of religious conscience for condemnation.
Francis condensed 8 months of homilies, speeches, TV interviews and off-the-cuff remarks into the encyclical The Joyful Gospel, possibly a play on Nietzsche’s contradictory Joyful Wisdom. Nietzsche ended his life in a nut house riddled with syphilis. See?
Francis cited the authority of native bishops' conferences from the victims of capitalism in the non-Western world where more Catholics are professing their faith more fervently than in the West, which is doomed. There are few real Catholics left there which is why the death of perennial papal candidate, the real Jesuit Cardinal Martini, was a godsend. Francis’s message--he took a few courses with the Jesuits but did not join the order--is that you cannot serve God and money; money must serve the purposes of God instead.
“The pope loves everyone,” said Francis, “rich and poor alike but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind everyone that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor” rather than use their plight as an excuse to steal in the rehabilitation of Eastern Visayas. Okay, I added that.
“I prefer,” said Francis, “a Church bruised, hurting and dirty because it’s been out on the streets to a Church that is unhealthy from keeping indoors.” A Church obsessed with being at the center of things will end up clinging to the fringes by its fingers. It’s got to be where the action is and the action is where the Wall Street movement was last seen.
The Church is not a hierarchy moving with slow majesty, said Francis, but a rowdy crowd on its pilgrim way. If Francis was faced with the problem of restoring our historic churches from the last quake, he would say “leave the stones where they lie, rebuild the Church in the hearts of people”--Christianity is no longer about putting up waiting sheds for the kingdom to come and pick you up. Christianity is again about taking to the streets like Christ on the stony road of Jerusalem to his crucifixion, resurrection and glory.Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.