CV NEWS FEED // During an impromptu address at the Synod of Bishops yesterday, Pope Francis delivered an off-the-cuff speech sharply criticizing clericalism, while extolling the virtues of the lay faithful, who he called “the holy people of God.”
The Pope said that “the people of God, the faithful holy people of God, continue forward with patience and humility, enduring the contempt, the mistreatment and marginalization on the part of institutionalized clericalism. And how naturally we speak of the ‘princes of the Church,’ or of ‘episcopal promotions’ as career advancements! The horrors of the world, the worldliness that mistreats the holy faithful people of God.”
Pope Francis said that to find a “sad and scandalous” example of this clericalism, “it is enough to go to ecclesiastical tailor shops in Rome to see the scandal of young priests trying on cassocks and hats or albs and laced rochets.”
“Clericalism is a whip, it is a scourge, it is a form of worldliness that stains and damages the face of the Lord’s spouse; enslaves the faithful, holy people of God,” he said.
Upon the release of the Pope’s words, the press office did not explain what preceded or followed his address at the synod.
“I like to think of the Church as this simple and humble people who walk in the presence of the Lord (the faithful people of God). This is the religious sense of our faithful people. And I say faithful people so as not to fall into the many ideological approaches with which the reality of the people of God is ‘reduced.’ Simply faithful people, or also, ‘holy faithful people of God’ on the way, holy and sinful. And this is the Church.”
“I like to think of the Church as a faithful people of God; saint and sinner, a people summoned and called with the force of the beatitudes and of Matthew 25,” said the pope in his unexpected address at the synod, for which the press office provided no context.
According to Pope Francis “one of the characteristics of this faithful people is their infallibility,” to the point that “when you want to know what Holy Mother Church believes, go to the Magisterium, because he is in charge of teaching it to you, but when you want to know how the Church believes, go to the faithful people.”
“And here,” he continued, “I like to emphasize that, in the faithful holy people of God, faith is transmitted in ‘dialect,’ and generally in feminine dialect. This is not only because the Church is Mother and it is precisely women who best reflect it (the Church is a woman); but because it is women who know how to wait, know how to discover the resources of the Church, of the faithful people.”
The Pope then added that “When ministers exceed their service and mistreat the people of God, they disfigure the face of the Church with sexist and dictatorial attitudes. It is painful to find in some parish offices the ‘price list’ of sacramental services as if it were a supermarket,” he added.
Pope Francis warned “either the Church is the faithful people of God on its way, saint and sinner, or it ends up being a company of varied services. When pastoral agents take this second path, the Church becomes the supermarket of salvation and the priests mere employees of a multinational [corporation].”
As the Synod on Synodality enters its final phase, delegates are discussing new Church structures, especially those aimed at combating clericalism.
The synod will release a final “synthesis” report on Saturday, October 28, and will conclude with a closing Mass presided by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s on Sunday, October 29 at 10:00 AM Rome time.