A person who is rigid in many cases conceals a “double life”, lacks the freedom of God’s children and needs the Lord’s help, Pope Francis said recently, during a morning homily at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
Pope Francis again returned to the theme of rigidity, saying those who unbendingly follow the law of God are “sick” and in need of the Lord’s help. He drew on the Gospel reading from Matthew in which Jesus’ healing of a crippled woman angered the Pharisees, leading him to denounce the leaders of the synagogue as “hypocrites.”
“He once called those who try to unbendingly follow the Law of God people as having “weak hearts” whom he confessed he would like to trip up with banana skins so they would know they are sinners.”
“It is not easy to walk within the Law of the Lord without falling into rigidity” the pope added. While that is true, keeping God’s law in Christ is vital to the witness of God’s true people. The standard is clear.
The Pope views the church as composed of pilgrims, or seekers, who who are above any institutional classification, regardless of the church’s requirements.
“A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism,” he believes, “whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.”
He further believes that “in neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others” and argues it is “impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.”
Pope Francis does not want a definite teaching on every social or theological question but to be able to interpret God’s law in light of the social circumstances of our time. This is classic Jesuit approach that leads to the end justifying the means.
“When we reach the standard that the Lord would have us reach, worldlings will regard Seventh-day Adventists as odd, singular, strait-laced extremists.” Fundamentals of Education, page 289.
“Those who are conscientiously observing the original Sabbath are styled heretics, deluded fanatics. But who are thus regarded in God’s sight? Whom will he rebuke and punish–those who have kept the day that he blessed and sanctified; or those who, trampling upon the holy commandment, have accepted the institution of the papacy?” The Review and Herald, March 18, 1884.