The Pope in Santa Marta: no to Christian “uniformisti”, “alternativisti” and “vantaggisti” (those who seek consistency, those who have an alternative, those seeking benefits )
Domenico Agasso jr
The Church is “free”, and not “rigid”. Word of Pope Francis. The Pontiff emphasized this during the Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, as reported by Vatican Radio
In his homily he warned of three groups of people who want to be called Christians: the “uniformisti“, the “alternativisti” and “vantaggisti”. For them, “the Church is not their home, “they rent it”.
Reflecting on today’s Gospel, Pope Bergoglio focused on unity in the Church. “Many – he said – say they are in the Church”, but “they have one foot inside” and “the other has not yet entered”. In this way they manage to be in both places”, “inside and outside”. “For these people – the Pope warned – the Church is not their home, do not feel it as their own. For them it’s rented. There are “some groups – he said – that rent the Church, but do not claim it as their home”-
The Pope has therefore listed three ‘categories’ of Christians: the first is made up of “those who want everyone to be equal in the Church”. “Martyrizing the Italian language a bit,” he joked, these could be called the “uniformisti”: “The uniformity. The rigidity. They are hard! That’s not the freedom given by the Holy Spirit. And they make confusion between what Jesus preached the Gospel with the doctrine, and their doctrine of equality. And Jesus never wanted his Church to be so rigid. Never. And these, for such an attitude, do not enter the Church. They call themselves Christians, but their rigid attitude drives them away from the Church”.
Another part is formed by those who always have their own idea, “and they do not want it to be like that of the Church, have an alternative”. They are the “alternativisti”: “I enter the Church, but with this idea, with this ideology. And so they only partially belong to the Church. These too have one foot out of the Church. For these too, the Church is not their home, it does not belong to them. At some point they rent the Church. In the beginning when the Gospel was being preached they existed! Just think of the Gnostics that the Apostle John beat so hard, right? ‘We are … yes, yes … we are Catholics, but with these ideas. An alternative. They do share that feeling one with the Church”.
And then there’s the third group: those who “call themselves Christians, but they do not enter the Church from the heart”: they are the “vantaggisti” who “seek benefits, they go to the Church, but for personal benefit, and end up doing business in Church”. The “businessmen”. “We know them well! They existed from the beginning. There was Simon the Magician, Ananias and Sapphira. They took advantage of the Church for their own profit. And we saw them in the parish or diocesan community, religious congregations, some of which are benefactors of the Church, many, eh! They brag that they are benefactors and in the end, behind the table, they did business. And these too, do not feel the Church as a mother, as their own. And Jesus said, “No! The Church is not strict, one, alone: the Church is free!”
Francis then continued: God says, “If thou want to enter into the Church, it must be for love”, to give “all your heart and not to do business and make profit”. The Church, the Pope pointed out, “is not a house for rent”, the Church “is a home to live in”, “like your own mother”.
The Pope admitted that this is not simple, because “temptations are many”. But, he pointed out, what keeps the Church united, “in diversity, freedom and generosity is only the Holy Spirit”, “this is his job”. The Holy Spirit “is harmony in the Church. The unity of the Church is harmony”. We are “all different none of us are the same thank God”, otherwise “it would be a hell”. And “we are all called to be meek like the Holy Spirit”.
And it is precisely this meekness “the virtue that will save us from being rigid, from being ‘alternativisti’ and from being ‘vantaggisti’ or businessmen in the Church: meek like the Holy Spirit It is meekness that transforms the Church from a rented house to our home.”