EG 63: Bureaucratic and Unwelcoming

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdalenePope Francis acknowledges two vectors: fundamentalist religion which gives people the answers, and a godless spirituality which accepts any answer the individual devises. (Over-simplification, I admit.)

63. The Catholic faith of many peoples is nowadays being challenged by the proliferation of new religious movements, some of which tend to fundamentalism while others seem to propose a spirituality without God. This is, on the one hand, a human reaction to a materialistic, consumerist and individualistic society, but it is also a means of exploiting the weaknesses of people living in poverty and on the fringes of society, people who make ends meet amid great human suffering and are looking for immediate solutions to their needs. These religious movements, not without a certain shrewdness, come to fill, within a predominantly individualistic culture, a vacuum left by secularist rationalism.

Shrewd? One might say opportunistic.

Rather than blaming evangelicals or “new age” spirituality, Pope Francis suggests we look first to ourselves.

We must recognize that if part of our baptized people lack a sense of belonging to the Church, this is also due to certain structures and the occasionally unwelcoming atmosphere of some of our parishes and communities, or to a bureaucratic way of dealing with problems, be they simple or complex, in the lives of our people. In many places an administrative approach prevails over a pastoral approach, as does a concentration on administering the sacraments apart from other forms of evangelization.

The Holy Father clearly favors a pastoral approach–we can’t help but get that. Administration of the sacraments seems to satisfy many communities–priests and/or laity. I feel affirmed that Pope Francis acknowledges the sacraments and liturgy as one form of evangelization. But there are others, more fruitful, more effective.

Pope Francis’ full treatment of Evangelii Gaudium can be accessed here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Evangelii Gaudium, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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