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Don't set barriers to the sacraments, Pope warns faithful

May 27, 2013

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Pope Francis warned against setting barriers before people who want to approach God, in his homily at a daily Mass on May 25.

“There is always a temptation to try and take possession of the Lord,” the Pope said. He pointed out that some Catholics, even with good intentions, make it more difficult for the faithful to receive the sacraments.

The Pope was commenting on the apostles’ efforts to keep little children away from Jesus. He also recalled the blind man who shouted out for help, and the apostles’ reaction: “No, you cannot do this! You don’t shout at the Lord. Protocol does not allow it.”

Protocol should not be treated as an “8th sacrament,” the Pope said. He said that “faith inspectors,” who insist on certain customs for approaching the sacraments, are an impediment to the work of the Church.


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  • Posted by: ForOthers8614 - May. 30, 2013 9:37 AM ET USA

    In his homily, the Holy Father mentions the role of the parish secretary. In over 15 years as an employee of the Church, in the hundreds of phone calls to diocesan and parish offices that I have made, I have only heard something like "God bless you" a handful of times. Almost invariably the person on the other end says something like, "Have a nice day." When I close with, "God bless you" to Church employees, the reply that I hear most often is, "umm, yeah." We can do better.

  • Posted by: chady - May. 29, 2013 11:53 AM ET USA

    Is this not about welcoming Catholics and others who feel they are 'separated' from the Church because of life choices. They might feel they are no longer welcomed by mainstream Catholicism. Is he inviting folk to come into the presence of the Lord by physically entering the Church or even seeking a blessing instead of receiving communion. Our pastors need to add their voices to this invitation! How humbling for us to be reminded of the thinness of 'God's curtain' in our Catholic Churches!

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2013 3:31 PM ET USA

    I know this will come as a shock to some people, but the Catholic Church exists outside of these borders. In fact, we are a relatively tiny fraction of the Church. There is a definite tendency in America (both inside and outside the Church) to think that our problems are the only ones that matter, and problems in the rest of the world are insignificant. As hard as it is for some people to believe, weeks probably go by when the Pope does not think about the United Stats.

  • Posted by: Mirabilis - May. 28, 2013 10:49 AM ET USA

    I believe he may be referring to the issue of baptism in Latin America. Prior to his ordination he chastised priests who were unwilling to baptize children born out of wedlock. While clearly the Church should not be condoning extra-marital relations, it is no fault of the child conceived from such actions. The only question would be as to whether there is a reasonable expectation that the child will be raised in the faith.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - May. 27, 2013 6:30 PM ET USA

    I have to say, this is NOT a problem I am aware of these days. It may have been at one time, but certainly not now anywhere I have been. I am not sure what the pope is driving at here. The problem today seems to be the opposite of what he is criticizing: people who are clearly in a state of serious sin and approaching the priest for Communion, or parents who have no intention of bringing their baby up Catholic demanding baptism.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 27, 2013 10:37 AM ET USA

    Peculiar..., this is not the problem here is the United States... Quite the reverse I think.