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Bishop warns against ‘classist,’ Puritan mentality in Church

January 05, 2017

In a Christmas homily excerpted in the Vatican newspaper, a Maltese prelate warned Catholics against a “classist” mentality and the “trap of Puritanism.”

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“The Jews preferred not to be contaminated by the impurities of others,” Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo preached. “To keep the Law, the Jews cast out those who were unclean.”

“Not only the Jews have had this attitude of marginalizing the unclean,” he continued. “It applies even within the Church,” at Mass, when “we judge who is pure and who is impure, or who is in an impure state, who is a sinner and who is holy.”

Christ, the prelate added, chose to be born in a filthy, unclean stable. “This Christmas I would like to see the entire ecclesial community convinced that we are not a class of saints or pure persons,” he said, as he called upon those whose family situations are “not perfect” to draw closer to Christ.


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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jan. 06, 2017 6:29 PM ET USA

    I think the "New Puritanism" of the Catholic Church is the accusation of "Puritanism" directed towards legions of straw persons. No más! "We" judge? Speak for yourself, pal.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jan. 05, 2017 8:49 PM ET USA

    Hooray! Another confusing and misguided example. Why can'take these bishops be straight on what they are saying. So many lately just beat about bush. Perhaps this is a strawman to get reaction. If he talking about those who support abortion a day or adultery still want to be called Catholic a day receive Communion then I am one of those Catholics who says keep the law.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Jan. 05, 2017 7:51 PM ET USA

    This is an important point and doesn't have to be about active adulterers and Holy Communion. An extreme example is that some institutes of consecrated life have a quiet policy that they will not consider non-virgins as candidates. Some (in such institutes & elsewhere) in their excess of love for purity and/or deficient belief in the possibility of conversion regard repentant women with past sexual sins as "damaged goods" even or especially for relationship with God in a life of chaste celibacy.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Jan. 05, 2017 11:10 AM ET USA

    Who is saying that we ARE a class of saints or pure persons? This sounds like another straw man or red herring to obscure the current crisis about the nature of marriage, the state of grace, and adultery! There is no real pastoral concern or outreach without the truth.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jan. 05, 2017 10:09 AM ET USA

    Bishop Mario seems to be mixing and confusing two completely different realities: physical deprivation (poverty of stable) and moral depravity, which includes religious hypocrisy. Jesus saves us from moral depravity, giving instructions to follow: “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” And St. Paul teaches in his typically rigid and “classist” fashion: “Don't you know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?” and “Avoid anything that has the appearance of evil” [1Thes 5:22]

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 05, 2017 8:54 AM ET USA

    It's one thing to be born clean in a filthy environment, quite another to be a public example of scandal. It is true that externals are important and that they can impact others in either good or bad ways, but what matters in the end is living the life of grace that God expects of us. Without a firm purpose of amendment, merely acknowledging that we are sinners fails to satisfy our Confessional vow and leaves us as white-washed tombs. Drawing closer to Christ means to live our Confessional vow.