Pope Francis concerned about pastoral workers, people from bishops to lay volunteers who exercise some leadership, who are bothered by those who want to think beyond their own concerns. Read Evangelii Gaudium for more on this half chapter (EG 76-109) addressing our “temptations.”
97. Those who have fallen into this worldliness look on from above and afar, they reject the prophecy of their brothers and sisters, they discredit those who raise questions, they constantly point out the mistakes of others and they are obsessed by appearances. Their hearts are open only to the limited horizon of their own immanence and interests, and as a consequence they neither learn from their sins nor are they genuinely open to forgiveness. This is a tremendous corruption disguised as a good.
The Holy Father doesn’t mince words on this, does he? He captures a “corruption” that has marginalized prophets, abused saints, and hamstrung the Church’s best hopes and efforts for evangelization.
So sad and ironic that those most concerned about the sins and offenses of others are so often blinded to their own. But of course, this is Gospel–the very experience of the Lord himself. It’s a sure sign things are out of alignment spiritually and morally, be it found in a bishop or the parish volunteer. And truth be told, we’ve all experienced it, either as a target or as a perpetrator.
There is a way out:
We need to avoid it by making the Church constantly go out from herself, keeping her mission focused on Jesus Christ, and her commitment to the poor. God save us from a worldly Church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings! This stifling worldliness can only be healed by breathing in the pure air of the Holy Spirit who frees us from self-centeredness cloaked in an outward religiosity bereft of God. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the Gospel!
We escape this temptation by committing ourselves to the mission of Christ. Not the derivations of it that have such allure. And to be sure, while he didn’t use the metaphor, those who are so willing to attack sisters and brothers from within the Church are most definitely wolves among us wrapped in wool.