By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pope Francis on Closeness and Proximity to Others

Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees
Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Notice that the following excerpt from his remarks can apply not only to the Church but to our large secular universities, to any setting in which rules are being enforced in the life of a group of people (e.g., a university residential hall or coop), even to an informal circle of friends. This prophetic critique applies well beyond the boundaries of the Church. Yet, there is also another problem: even when proximity is offered, some people fear it and avoid it. Here are the Pope's words:

“Before so many pastoral needs, before the many demands of men and women, we run the risk of being afraid and of turning inwards in an attitude of fear and defence. Herein there lie the temptations of sufficiency and clericalism, of the codification of faith in rules and instructions, just as the scribes, pharisees and doctors of the law did in Jesus' time. Everything is clear and orderly, but the population of believers and seekers will continue to hunger and thirst for God. I have said many times that the Church seems like a military hospital to me: many injured people who need our closeness, who ask of us what they asked of Jesus: closeness, proximity. And if we assume the attitude of the scribes, the doctors of the law and the pharisees, we will never offer a testimony of closeness”.

----Pope Francis

Source: Vatican Information Service, Sept. 22, 2014