Francis: Price lists in Catholic churches are a scandal

 
  “Either you worship the living God, or your worship money“.”it is the Wrath of God, zeal for the House of God” 

‘Better to be thrown into the sea’

Faithful at Mass

Faithful at Mass

At today’s mass in St. Martha’s House the Pope spoke out strongly against priests, lay people and secretaries who serve in the Church acting like businessmen: “The people of God cannot forgive this”; price lists for “for baptism, blessings, Mass intentions” need to go; God’s “redemption is free”

Domenico Agasso jr
RomeChurches must never become businesses.” Ever. God’s “redemption is free.” Always. Pope Francis launched a scathing condemnation of Church businessmen at today’s mass in St. Martha’s House, Vatican Radio reports.

 

During this morning’s mass, Francis commented on a passage from the Gospel in which Jesus clears the Temple of merchants because they have transformed the house of prayer into a den of thieves. The gesture performed by the Son of God was one of purification “because it had been profaned and with it the People of God. The Temple had been defiled with the gravest of sins: scandal.

 

“People are good – Pope Francis continued – people went to the Temple and did not look at these things, they sought God and prayed … but they had to change their money into coins to make offers”. The people of God did not go to the Temple for these people, for those who were selling things, they went because it was the Temple of God” and “there was corruption that scandalized the people“.  

 

Pope Francis recalled the biblical story of Anna, a humble woman, mother of Samuel, who goes to the temple to ask for the grace of a child: “she whispered her prayers silently” while the priest and his two sons were corrupt, they exploited the pilgrims, they scandalized the people. “I think of how our attitude can scandalize people – said Pope Francis – with unpriestly habits in the Temple: the scandal of doing business, the scandal of worldliness … How often when we enter a church do we see – even today – do we see a price list hanging there “for baptism, blessings, Mass intentions”. And people are scandalized.”

 

“Once, as a newly ordained priest,” Francis said, “I was with a group of college students and one couple wanted to get married. They went to a parish, but they wanted a wedding ceremony with the Mass. And, the parish secretary there said: ‘No, no, you cannot’ – ‘Why can’t we have a Mass? If the Council always recommends people to have a ceremony with the Mass … ‘-‘ No, you cannot, because it can’t last more than 20 minutes’-‘ But why? ‘-‘Because there are other slots [in the timetable for ceremonies]’-‘But, we want the Mass! ‘-‘ So you will have to pay for two slots! ‘. So in order to have a wedding ceremony with the Mass had to pay two slots. This is the sin of scandal.”

 

“We know what Jesus says to those who are the cause of scandal: ‘Better to be thrown into the sea‘, Francis continued.

 

When those who are in the Temple – be they priests, lay people, secretaries, but who manage the Temple, who ministry of the Temple – become businessmen, people are scandalized. And we are responsible for this. The laity too! Everyone. Because if I see this in my parish, I have to have the courage to say these things to the parish priest. And the people are scandalized. It is interesting: the people of God can forgive their priests, when they are weak; when they slip on a sin … the people know how to forgive them. But there are two things that the people of God cannot forgive: a priest attached to money and a priest who mistreats people. This they cannot forgive! It is scandalous when the Temple, the House of God, becomes a place of business, as in the case of that wedding: the church was being rented out”.

 

Jesus “is not angry” – said the Pope it is the Wrath of God, zeal for the House of God” because you cannot serve two masters, “either you worship the living God, or your worship money“.

 

“Why does Jesus have an issue with money? Because redemption is free; it is God’s free gift, He comes to brings us the all-encompassing gratuity of God’s love. So when the Church or churches start doing business, then it is said that …. salvation is not so free…This is why Jesus takes the whip to hand to carry out this act of the purification of the Temple.”

 

“Today the Liturgy celebrates the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin in the Temple: as a young girl … A simple woman, like Anna, and in that moment the Blessed Virgin Mary enters. May she teach all of us, pastors and those who have pastoral responsibility, to keep the Temple clean, to receive with love those who come, as if each one were the Blessed Virgin.”



About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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3 Responses to Francis: Price lists in Catholic churches are a scandal

  1. Dear Holy Father, I believe your advice to the clergy is a bit too late. They have already tasted the blood of easy money and will do anything to get it for themselves and their family members.I have been requesting you to conduct a financial and asset audit at The Archdiocese of Bombay, however for some strange reason have not seen the light. I can believe that one of your “trusted” inner circle members is from Bombay (mumbai) and you and your high office could be told not to worry about those who write and myself. I would once again in the name of Our lord jesus Christ implore you and your high office to conduct a financial and asset audit without delay. Are you aware the laity are angry, really very angry and and fall out will only be due to lack to correct the situation which you and your office have been cautioned many a time.
    I hope you will take note.
    Thank you

    • Isaac Gomes says:

      Dear Mr Gordon,

      Sadly even the pleading of a man of your stature is falling on deaf ears. In Bengal there is a saying “Sorsher (mustard seeds) modhyei (inside) bhoot (ghost)” literally translated it means there is ghost in the mustard seeds itself actually meaning the fault / weakness is within the system itself. In the case of India, particularly Mumbai, Pope Francis has implicit faith on Cardinal Oswald. He is under the illusion (again a fault of the Hierarchical reporting system followed by the church) that the Cardinal is reporting to him nothing but the whole truth on India and particularly his homeland Mumbai. Even a child knows that the Pope should have alternative system of communication to cross-check the reports (rosy or otherwise) given to him by his Inner Circle. The way the Indian Church / CBCI dealt with the Questionnaire on Family sent by the Vatican In December 2013 to Catholic Bishops all over the world, is a case in point. In the case of West Bengal, this questionnaire was distributed by bishops to various church action groups including priests and religious and heads of Catholic institutions. Filled in questionnaires were returned to Bishops / Directors of Family Commission by 15th December 2013 for collation of responses and sending by 20th December 2013 to Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) which is headed by Cardinal Oswald Gracias who till February 2014 was also the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the national forum of bishops of all three rites. Neither the CBCI or CCBI has issued any statement on the findings or what they did with the Questionnaires. They just don’t care a hoot for the Laity.

      All the responses to the survey, from Catholics all over the world, were to be taken up at the Extra-ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome from 5th to 19th October 2014 during discussion of the theme: Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization.

      Regarding financial and asset audit of Mumbai, the same process should be uniformly applied all over India. The Pope can easily get a structured format designed by his auditors and management consultants who have been commissioned to clean Vatican Bank of all its financial mess. This format can be circulated (preferably online) to all the parishes through respective Bishops / Archbishops. Failure to comply on the part of a parish priest should be attributed to his Bishop/ Archbishop as he is the head of a Diocese / Archdiocese.

      The Cardinal must have painted a picture of a very docile (read Bhola, Bhala and Buddhu) laity. The Church even the Vatican would like it that way instead of a Questioning Laity. This year during the Laity Sunday celebration in Kolkata, one of the speakers (a well-respected priest) said that the Laity should be ever alert and question the Parish Priest. He said that the practice of counting Sunday collections on Monday was faulty as there could be a big difference of the tally in one day’s time depending on the material taste of a Parish Priest for worldly goodies!

      The worst is, in this age of Communication and all the drum-beating by the Vatican on Social Communication, the Pope does not have an email ID for direct feedback from Laity all over the world. For all the photographs and selfies, he himself has blocked out all direct communication.

      When I put a question: “Does the Pope have an Email address?”, the following is the answer I got:

      Pope Francis does not have a direct mailing address but you can contact the Vatican’s press office at av@pccs.va . Alternately you can mail the pope via usual mail at this address:

      His Holiness, Pope Francis PP.
      00120 Via del Pellegrino
      Citta del Vaticano

      Regards
      Isaac Gomes
      Kolkata

      • Isaac Gomes says:

        I even tried to contact the Pope through the Vatican’s press office at av@pccs.va . The reply always was MAIL RETURNED. COULD NOT BE DELIVERED. OR MAILBOX FULL!

        Whom is the Vatican trying to fool?

        Regards
        Isaac Gomes

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