EG 44: A Bit of Mercy

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneSome contemporary witness in favor of the clarity of the Gospel message in Evangelii Gaudium:

44. Moreover, pastors and the lay faithful who accompany their brothers and sisters in faith or on a journey of openness to God must always remember what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches quite clearly: “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors”.[CCC 1735] Consequently, without detracting from the evangelical ideal, they need to accompany with mercy and patience the eventual stages of personal growth as these progressively occur.[Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Familiaris Consortio  34]

Mercy is one of the hallmark virtues cited by the Francis papacy. It’s not a surprise to see it repeated often in this document. Mercy also belongs in the sacramental life:

I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy which spurs us on to do our best. A small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties. Everyone needs to be touched by the comfort and attraction of God’s saving love, which is mysteriously at work in each person, above and beyond their faults and failings.

Those small steps seem important to encourage. This emphasis does seem to place more of the burden on God’s grace, rather than the Church’s effectiveness in cajoling.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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