EG 89: The Problems With Isolation

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdalenePope Francis seems to go against the given consensus in today’s post on Evangelii Gaudium. Remember, we are still talking about Yes to the new relationships brought by Christ, and about those serving in ministry.

This paragraph deserves careful attention as it draws out a difference between people (even Christians) who have settled into a personal religious world of their own and those who embrace the impulse of the essential Christianity. In other words, caring for others in the context of being in communion with others and witnessing to Christ.

89. Isolation, which is a version of immanentism, can find expression in a false autonomy which has no place for God. But in the realm of religion it can also take the form of a spiritual consumerism tailored to one’s own unhealthy individualism. The return to the sacred and the quest for spirituality which mark our own time are ambiguous phenomena. Today, our challenge is not so much atheism as the need to respond adequately to many people’s thirst for God, lest they try to satisfy it with alienating solutions or with a disembodied Jesus who demands nothing of us with regard to others. Unless these people find in the Church a spirituality which can offer healing and liberation, and fill them with life and peace, while at the same time summoning them to fraternal communion and missionary fruitfulness, they will end up by being taken in by solutions which neither make life truly human nor give glory to God.

Pope Francis seems to say that a certain level of satisfaction with one’s own inner beliefs is not quite enough. Even if they are Christian. Even if they are orthodox. Even if they are the product of intellectual training. Missionary fruitfulness: this Pope Francis deems essential. And given the mandatum of the Lord in Matthew 28:19 or Mark 16:15, who can dispute it?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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