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Future Pope Francis emphasized self-accusation of faults by religious

Catholic World News - March 26, 2013

Editrice Missionaria Italiana has published the Italian edition of two works by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. Umiltà, la strada verso Dio [Humility, the Way to God] and Guarire dalla corruzione [Recovering from Corruption] are both collections of addresses delivered in 2005 and based on St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises.

The future Pope Francis emphasized the importance of maintaining the traditional practice of public self-accusation of faults in religious communities.

“Factions fighting to impose the hegemony of their own viewpoint and preferences are fairly common in religious communities, both local and provincial,” the prelate and onetime Jesuit provincial wrote. “This occurs when charitable openness to neighbor is replaced by each individual’s own ideas. It is no longer the religious family as a whole which the religious defends, but only the part of it that concerns him. People no longer adhere to the unity that contributes to configuring the Body of Christ, but rather to the divisive, distorting, and debilitating conflict.”

“For formation teachers and superiors it is not always easy to inculcate a sense of belonging to the family spirit, especially when it is necessary to shape inner attitudes, even small ones, but which have repercussions at this level of the institutional body,” he added. “One of the effective attitudes that must acquire substance in the hearts of young religious is that of ‘self-accusation,’ for it is in the absence of this practice that the spirit of separation and division is rooted.”

He continued:

It is therefore essential first of all to ban every reference, even an unconscious one, and every kind of pharisaic attitude that presents self-accusation as something puerile or characteristic of the cowardly. Self-accusation, rather, presupposes a rare courage in order to open the door to unknown realities and let others see beyond my appearance. It means removing all our make-up so that the truth may shine through.

The accusation of ourselves (which is only a means) is the basis in which the fundamental option puts down roots: for anti-individualism and for a family and Church spirit which brings us to relate as good children and good siblings, so as to succeed later in being good parents. Accusing ourselves implies a fundamentally communitarian attitude.

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