Pope Francis stresses that morality must be based on faith and prayer not self-advancing ideology

In his latest homily Pope Francis stresses that morality must be based on faith and prayer not ideology, referring to ‘ Christians who lose their faith and prefer ideologies.’  Pope Francis says that such Christians replace prayer with pride, ‘Whoever does not pray is “is proud , is sure of himself . He is not humble . He seeks his own advancement.”  ”These do not pray , they abandon the faith and become disciples of a moralistic, casuistry ideology, without Jesus.” Pope Francis warns that priests, bishops and even popes can abandon morality based on faith and prayer for one based on ideology. Such ideological Christians lock Jesus away from people because of their lack of Christian witness.

Though Pope Francis doesn’t give examples of those Christians who replace prayer and faith with ideology, it would be fair to say that those who seek to secularise the Church have clearly abandoned the faith, losing their faith and preferring  other ideologies such as relativism and subjectivism. Instead of being disciples of prayer and faith they have become disciples of a moralistic, casuistry ideology that seeks to promote the secularist agenda of safe sex, gay rights and reproductive rights.  Pope Francis’ words are a warning to all who would trap Jesus in a human ideology, and an encouragement to all who would free Jesus through prayer and faith.

Pope Francis said the following:

“When we are walking along the street and we find ourselves in front of a closed church it feels a little strange” because “a closed church is incomprehensible”. Sometimes “we are given explanations” that do not stand up to scrutiny: They “are excuses, justifications, but the reality is that the church is closed and the people passing in front can not enter.” And , what’s even worse , “the Lord who is inside can not get out .” Today, Jesus speaks to us of this “image of closure” which is ” the image of those Christians who have the key at hand, but carry it off and do not open the door.” Worse again, “they stand at the door ” and “don’t let anyone in” , and in doing so “not even they enter”.  ”Lack of Christian witness does this ” and “when that Christian is a priest, a bishop or a pope it is worse.”

But how does a “Christian start behaving like this, of having the key in his pocket and leaving the door closed? ” . “His Faith fades, so to speak, it is distilled and becomes ideology. And ideologies cannot convoke.  Jesus cannot be found in Ideologies: his tenderness, love, meekness . And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: stiff. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of ideology, he loses faith and is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he becomes a disciple of this attitude of thought, … And this is why Jesus says to them: ‘ you have taken away the key of knowledge ‘ . Knowledge of Jesus is transformed into a ideological and even moralistic knowledge, because they closed the door with a lot of requirements”.

Jesus told us: ” You load many things on people’s shoulders, when really only one thing is needed.” This, therefore, is the “spiritual, mental” process of those who want the key in their pocket and the door closed. “Faith becomes ideology and ideologies scare, ideologies chase people away , far away, they distance people and they distance the Church from people. This is a serious illness, this Christian ideology. It is a disease , but it is not new , eh? Even the Apostle John, in his first letter, spoke of this . Christians who lose their faith and prefer ideologies . Their attitude: they become rigid moralists, ethicists , but without kindness. This could be the question to ask.  Why does a Christian become this way , what happens in the heart of the Christian, that of a priest, bishop, of a pope , who becomes so? Just one thing: that Christian does not pray . And if you do not pray, you will always keep the door closed”.

“The key that opens the door to faith is prayer.” ” When a Christian does not pray , the following happens . And his witness is a proud witness”. Whoever does not pray is “is proud , is sure of himself . He is not humble . He seeks his own advancement.” However, “when a Christian prays, he never leaves the faith, his dialogue with Jesus.” And “pray to speak with Him, don’t just say prayers to say them, because these scholars of the law said many prayers” to be seen to pray. Instead, Jesus says, “When you pray, go into your room and pray to the Father in secret, heart to heart.” ” Its one thing to pray , and another thing to say prayers ”

“These do not pray , they abandon the faith and become disciples of a moralistic, casuistry ideology, without Jesus. And when a prophet or a good Christian scolds them they do the same thing they did with Jesus : ‘ When he left there, the scribes and Pharisees began to treat him in a hostile manner – these people who follow ideologies are hostile – and made him talk about many subjects, laying traps- they are insidious – to surprise him with the words out of his own mouth . They are not transparent . Eh , poor things, they are people soiled by pride. Let us ask for the Lord ‘s grace , first : to not stop praying , to not lose faith, to stay humble . And so we will not become closed in on ourselves, closing the path to the Lord . ”

Protect the Pope comment: Pope Francis points out that when ‘a prophet or a good Christian’ scolds those who have abandoned prayer and the faith for self-advancing ideologies they are met with hostility, insidious behaviour and lack of transparency, from ‘people soiled by pride’. This is the experience of faithful and loyal Catholics who uphold the Catholic faith and who challenge those who are seeking to replace prayer and the faith with human ideologies. We are met with hostility, insidious, back-biting behaviour and a total lack of transparency from people and groups within the Church who seek to silence our voice.



11 comments to Pope Francis stresses that morality must be based on faith and prayer not self-advancing ideology

  • Rob

    I find this rather confusing. Most of my confusion is over definitions.

    “faith” could mean personal faith and prayerful conclusions. or it could mean “The Faith”. If the latter than surely The Faith is a moralistic ideology?

    In reality isn’t this a false dichotomy anyway? Shouldn’t a Catholic morality include personal faith, prayer AND the moralistic ideology of the church?

    Or is the Pope simply talking about strategy? Is he simply saying that presenting a person with moralistic ideology scares them away unless they also have personal faith and prayer as a component of their life?

  • tro

    “Though Pope Francis doesn’t give examples of those Christians who replace prayer and faith with ideology”

    More ‘dog whistles’ from the Bishop of Rome: another frontal assault on the orthodox Catholic Church.

  • Joseph Matthew

    I too am troubled by some of the things that Pope Francis says but “caveamus fratres”. Constantly knocking him will lead some to look elsewhere. This may help explain why Bishop Fellay,once relatively moderate within the Society of St Pius x, is now able to say that the new liturgy is “evil”.

    • Damask Rose

      Dear Joseph – I don’t know what’s going on, but Bishop Fellay seems really peeved at the moment. Is he scared too? SSPX are like a petulant child. But Ratzinger was a firm father and no matter the politics, I think they felt safer with him. More importantly there was the respect.

  • Denis

    The Pope has spoken forcefully and directly about the murder of clergy in Spain:
    He refused to use the conciliatory “martyrs of the twentieth century”and instead called a spade a spade. How are “Ed” Stourton and his fellow travellers going to re- hash this?

  • Damask Rose

    Dear Deacon Nick
    I see you’ve put that “is the experience of faithful and loyal Catholics who uphold the Catholic faith…”, but I worriedly think he may mean us?

    In any case, is the Pope talking to me? The Pope’s homily is peppered with the word Christian, so is he addressing Christians, like the Methodists or the Southern Baptists or me, a Catholic. Am I being disingenuous? I recall sometimes B16 would use Christian even Catholic Christian in a discourse and sometimes throw in a singular Catholic at the end, and I think, “Oh, he means Catholics after all”. I find the phrase Catholic Christian cringeworthy. As far as I’m concerned we are the Catholics and Christians are the broken off sects.

    I distinctly recall when I was a young teenager my mother reel off a list to me in the kitchen of “why we are Catholics and not Christians.” “Christians don’t have the Mass. The Mass is Golgotha. Christians play the guitar on the beach”, she said.

    So I when I see someone living under the Pastoral Solution go up at Communion for their Priestly Blessing and I start to get all snarky and mutter to myself about how they ought to be continent so they can receive the Blessed Sacrament. Vaguely remember something about “hardened mortal sin”, “obstinacy in sin” being a sin against the Holy Spirit (Penny Catechism). Start to get really irritable because how is it that the priest or adulterer (aka divorced and remarried) are not witnessing to chastity in marriage and how the Pastoral Solution is a bad example to the rest of us, start worrying that my kid will take on this bad example and one day get divorced and then produce a string of basterds and then think it’s OK to become a Reader because it’s pastoral. Then remember how my mother was so strict, “no boyfriends”, how I was taught to get married so as to have sex and children… am I being uncharitable, lacking in prayer and becoming an rigid ideologue? Am I being “Knowledge of Jesus is transformed into a ideological and even moralistic knowledge, because they closed the door with a lot of requirements”. Maybe I’m being prideful and should pray for them more? Should these people be allowed to wallow in it, or have things pointed out to them so they can repent and swallow the Blessed Sacrament – the summit of all? How am I supposed to “love these people as myself”. I want to take Communion, why not want that for others as well?

    Honest to God, I think I’m loosing my Catholic bearings. We Catholics are supposed to be with St Peter, but if I don’t get what he’s saying, or don’t agree, what does that mean? Am I sede? My current parish priest is a “son of Vatican II”. So I can go to another parish to get “orthodox Father”. But what about the Pope, where do I go? Shit, we’ve got two of them now? I’m getting scared, especially with this G8 Cardinal thing. I think Catholics how I was brought up, are going to be abandoned. I don’t know anymore. I wish Pope Francis would bog off. God Help Me.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Damask Rose hold onto four things: first, Pope Francis has not changed one iota of the Church’s doctrine or discipline. He has said his homilies must not be viewed as Magisterial teaching, just as Pope Benedict said his Jesus of Nazareth books were his personal opinion not magisterial teaching, so we are entitled to ignore them. Second, Pope Francis has said some great things about Christ Crucified, Our Lady and fighting against the Devil. Third, Blessed John Paul II is to be raised to the altars as a Saint next year. He is alive in heaven praying for us, and we have his teachings to give us inspiration and courage. Fourth, Our Lord Jesus Christ is our rock, our refuge, our shelter. Deacon Nick

  • Nicolas Bellord

    I have attended four talks by our assistant priest on Vatican II. At none of them was a prayer said. Yesterday he told us about his degree from Heythrop under the Jesuits. All the likely quotes from Pope Francis were trotted out and we were told that the forthcoming Synod on the Family will change the teaching on divorced and remarried’s taking communion.

  • Amanda Peter

    How can anyone change Christs teaching on divorce and remarriage? If two people are validly married in the eyes of God it is until death and only in death that the dissolution of marriage occurs. Maybe a marriage was null and void to start but that is different to divorce. If one is validly married and then divorce and remarries then adultery is actually being committed and to receive holy communion in that state would be sacriligious. Were this teaching to change then the gates of hell would have prevailed …. And that is not going to happen. Be at peace. TRUTH IS TRUTH even if nobody believes it and falsehood is falsehood even if every one believes it.

  • Damask Rose, i may be speaking out of turn because I do share some of your concerns about Pope Francis’ ambiguous messages which do appear to be directed at traditional Catholics.

    However, does he have a point? When I witness a person receiving the Blessing instead of the Sacrament I see it as an act of respect towards Christ’s Body. They are still attending Mass, understand they will bring judgement on themselves if they receive Him unworthily in defiance of Church law and are seeking to preserve a relationship with Him, albeit one marred by the stain of sin. I never wonder why they receive the Blessing as, frankly, I am preparing myself to receive the Lord. Really, who is truly worthy of this great gift?

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