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In homily, Pope again warns against ‘rigid’ focus on Commandments

February 06, 2017

Pope Francis once again decried a “rigid” approach to Christianity, in his homily at a morning Mass at the Vatican on February 6.

God created the world and then created man, the Pope said, “To have someone... with whom to share his fullness.” Then to “set things right” God sent his Son to redeem the world. This is the great challenge of faith, the Pope said: to recognie the wonders of creation and redemption and to “receive the gift of the Father.”

In this context the Holy Father said that some people are unable to receive the gift, and instead have “sought refuge in the rigidity of the Commandments.” He advised Christians to ask themselves: “Do I hide in the rigidity of the closed Commandments, that are more and more ‘safe,’ but that do not give joy, becaues they do not make you free?”


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  • Posted by: Jerome - Feb. 07, 2017 12:02 PM ET USA

    "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell." But for heaven's sake don't be rigid about it. Have fun! Enjoy yourself.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Feb. 07, 2017 9:51 AM ET USA

    If His Holiness means 'scrupulous' he should say it. Otherwise we are justified in thinking he is just pushing his 'Aw, shucks, that's alright!' moral agenda, and by now many have justifiably satisfied themselves about what he means when he says "joy" and 'free'.

  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 07, 2017 9:25 AM ET USA

    If any statements by Pope Francis require clarification; this one is at the very top of the list. ElizabethD: great comment.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Feb. 06, 2017 10:35 PM ET USA

    Another Papal quote that needs to be clarified both don't hold your breath. With each of his statements that are clearly misleading he loses respect.

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Feb. 06, 2017 8:04 PM ET USA

    I think that His Holiness is referring to scrupulosity, which can indeed be a serious problem.

  • Posted by: KC627 - Feb. 06, 2017 4:24 PM ET USA

    I agree with ElizabethD. I went to Vatican Radio and checked his homily. Here is an example of what the Pope says that makes the homily hard to understand (at least for me): "Or do I hide in the rigidity of the closed Commandments, that are more and more “safe” – with emphasis on the scare-quotes – but that do not give joy, because they does not make you free." What does he mean by "Closed Commandments? Can somebody clarify?

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Feb. 06, 2017 3:10 PM ET USA

    ?! As usual, no clue what he means. Not only do I "rigidly" follow the Commandment against adultery, I follow the Lord Jesus' counsel to go beyond the "safe" ("with emphasis on the scare quotes"?! according to Vatican Radio) letter of the law, remaining chastely celibate for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus says He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it, and gives us a new commandment of Charity, going beyond mere fulfillment of the law to glorious freedom of the children of God.