Evangelii Gaudium 93-97 will address “No to spiritual worldliness.” What could Pope Francis possibly mean by this?
93. Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. It is what the Lord reprimanded the Pharisees for: “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:44). It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). It takes on many forms, depending on the kinds of persons and groups into which it seeps. Since it is based on carefully cultivated appearances, it is not always linked to outward sin; from without, everything appears as it should be. But if it were to seep into the Church, “it would be infinitely more disastrous than any other worldliness which is simply moral”.[H. DE LUBAC, Méditation sur l’Église, Paris, 1968, 321]
Now that the Holy Father has drawn in Henri de Lubac to get our attention, we’ll review over the next few days the insidious entry of gnosticism and neopelagianism into the Church. Some have poo-poohed this line of thought. But I think it’s extremely relevant. To be sure, it is a danger across all ideological circumstances. Pointing it out on the other side is somewhat easier (and not always accurate) than discerning it in oneself.