Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Pharisees, doctors of the law are not people of the past, even today there are many of them.

The Good Samaritan
William Small (1843–1931)

What the Pope said. 

In my country, said the Pope, "I have heard several times of parish priests who did not baptize the children of the mothers because they were not born in canonical marriage. They closed the door, why? Because the heart of these parish priests had lost the key to knowledge.
Three months ago, in a country, in a city, a mother wanted to baptize her newly born son, but she was married civilly with a divorced man. The priest said, 'Yes, yes. Baptize the baby. But your husband is divorced. So he cannot be present at the ceremony. ' This is happening today. The Pharisees, doctors of the law are not people of the past, even today there are many of them. That is why we need prayers for us shepherds. To pray that we do not lose the key to knowledge and do not close the door to ourselves and the people who want to enter. " - Pope Francis

I was baptized and received the sacraments despite the fact my mother was divorced and remarried to my dad.  They did not go to church, but I was educated in Catholics school.  The priest who baptized me joked with my father and was incredibly kind to my parents - no scolding - nothing.  That was many years before Vatican II.

The Pope is Catholic.


  1. My friend's husband was recently baptized Catholic (never attended RCIA) along with their children. Nobody is certain the husband will make it to Mass or further his Catholic knowledge (he has some due to his wife)or continue on to Confirmation and Holy Communion, never mind Confession. However, the priest took a leap of faith perhaps thinking their entire family could be lost from the Church if they were not baptized. Nobody forced the priest to do this and I am sure he prayed over (and agonized over) the decision. I was surprised he did this but after some reflection I concluded it's better to be baptized than not. And as an RCIA catechist I have seen my share of catechumens that are all enthusiastic about joining the Church and within 6 months we never see them again. Maybe it's good to start with some questions and doubt instead of assuming it will all be a bed of roses. As for myself, I was baptized as a baby and that was pretty much the end of my religious upbringing. Were my parents wrong to baptize me? I don't think so - I think it's the greatest gift they ever gave me, whether they understood it or not. My mom said she thought it best to get it done because otherwise I couldn't go to heaven. How can that be wrong?

  2. I recently read a book about Eva Peron who was born out of wedlock and grew up in a village in Argentina. It is terrible how she was treated for being "illegitimate" even though she was an innocent child, and by all the "respectable" people. She was even raped and no one did anything about it. People seemed to think they were serving God by being cruel to her. Horrifying. The Holy Father knows what he is talking about.

  3. I don't know where all these pharisee priests are. I've NEVER once encountered one of them. In fact, I've met many, many who are exactly the opposite and have an "anything goes" attitude. Seems to me this is a straw man argument. Francis is creating straw men so he can beat them down.

  4. I have no doubt that the Pope is Catholic; I remember stories my mother would tell about harsh priests, although now I wonder if she simply wasn't 'receiving' the teaching well. I hear what he's saying, that legalism shouldn't shut the door to salvation. He doesn't say anything about taking this to mean 'anything goes'.

    What I have difficulty with is certain people in the media who want to twist Pope Francis's words--or Jesus's, in the case of Fr. Martin on Twitter--that Catholic teaching is merely a good idea and should be followed unless it's simply too difficult. (Fr. Martin on Twitter today, re the Gospel reading: "More important for Jesus is the condemnation of hypocrisy, especially legalism.")

    I think some catechesis is in order in stead of the emotionalism flung about. Usually when a divorced or non-Catholic family member is not permitted at a baptism, it's as a godparent: godparents are supposed to be part of the child's Catholic upbringing. They can still be at the baptism and the baby can still be baptized. Our faith formation teacher has had to explain this sometimes. The godparent can even be non-Catholic, if they're baptized in a Christian (Trinitarian) faith.

    I suppose there are priests who follow some stricter code, but I'm more willing to believe there are laypeople who have a complete meltdown because they were told they couldn't do something. It's more important to have photographs of a churchy baptism than it is to make sure the kid makes it to Confirmation, at least.

    Pope Francis isn't wrong. But as with everything these days, other individuals have their own agendas.

    1. I thought a non-Catholic could be an official Christian witness at a baptism but could not be the actual godparent.


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