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The Church is full of sinners, says Pope

By on Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Pope Francis arrives for his general audience at the Vatican today (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis arrives for his general audience at the Vatican today (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)


Pope Francis urged thousands of pilgrims gathered on St Peter’s Square this morning to recognise that we are a Church of sinners but that we must not be afraid of holiness.

“Do not be afraid to aim for holiness and turn yourselves over to the love of God. Holiness does not mean performing extraordinary things but carrying out daily things in an extraordinary way – that is, with love, joy and faith,” the Pope said.

Pope Francis asked in what sense could the Church be holy if we look at its 2,000 year history and its trials, problems and moments of darkness. “But how can a Church made up of human beings, of sinners, be holy?”

Referring to St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (5: 25-26), he said that it is Christ’s love for the Church and his sacrifice that renders the Church holy. The reasons, he continues, are three-fold: firstly, the Church is faithful to God, who does not abandon it to the “powers of death and evil”; secondly, because it is “united in an everlasting way to Jesus Christ”; and thirdly because it is led by the Holy Spirit “who purifies, transforms and renews it”. “We do not make the Church holy,” he said. “God, the Holy Spirit, does.”

The Church is not without sin because it is made up of sinners. Priests, sisters, bishops, cardinals and even Popes are sinners. Pope Francis warned us not to believe the misconception that the Church is filled only with the “pure” and that all others are to be “removed”. “This is not true!” he exclaimed. “This is heresy!”

He concluded by recalling the parable of the prodigal son, reminding us that God waits for us with open arms and celebrates when we return. God wants us to be a part of a Church that opens its doors to everyone so they may find God’s tender mercy and forgiveness. “Every Christian is called to holiness.”

  • Margaret

    Heresy is a word hardly ever heard these days. And, how refreshing it is to hear the Pope refer to ‘sin’. I cannot remember when the last time was that I heard it mentioned in a homily.

  • fizzypilgrim

    It’s difficult not to like this pope. In the end I think he will need to realise that in a Church of a billion people there are still many who find the sheer holiness of God more attractive than any other religious motif, and why not? It is the central one.. Is it wrong to believe that the Council Fathers at Trent were not acting under the power of the Holy Spirit when they declared the Mass the Council produced as unchangeable for all time. If we are to love everyone we need a source from which to draw our love and as he tells us, this is the Holy Spirit. May he give us a little help along the way, as sinners and as pray-ers.

  • NatOns

    ‘“But how can a Church made up of human beings, of sinners, be holy? We do not make the Church holy,” he said. “God, the Holy Spirit, does.” “Every Christian is called to holiness.”’

    God Bless Our Pope!

  • Joan Caruana

    We should pray more to the Holy Spirit who is the LOVE of the Father and the Son. I feel so warm and safe when I pray to the Him.

  • AugustineThomas

    Leftists love him, orthodox cringe when he speaks.

    He thinks if he speaks it will be right whatever he says.

    I’m still waiting to meet these people trying to kick people out of the Church.. I know a lot of people who don’t go because they think its become a guitar rock, Protestant church at least in the West.

    People who are hungry to be converted want the tradition–secularizing the Church only offends them.

  • Jackryan

    He’s a disaster. If is far from breaking news that human beings are sinners. But he is wrong again. The church is holy. Does he say the nicene creed? He is in love with the adulation he is getting from the world. Enjoy it while it lasts Jorge

  • pj

    Anti-catholic revolutionary. sede vacante

  • Julian Lord

    Is it wrong to believe that the Council Fathers at Trent were not acting under the power of the Holy Spirit when they declared the Mass the Council produced as unchangeable for all time

    They didn’t — and the so-called Tridentine Mass was not a creation of the Council of Trent.

    In reality, the Council Fathers of Trent declared that any changes to the Order of Mass are forbidden unless they are authorised by the proper Authority, which currently means by the Holy Father.

  • Basil

    ” Daily little things made for the love of God”.
    I think have heard this elsewhere long time ago…

  • oldjohntt

    Pope Francis you are a true blessing to our Church.

  • fizzypilgrim

    Thank you Julian. “Produced” was a poor choice of words. They did not write it ex novo of course, they followed tradition. However (and I lack their documents in front of me) they put this subject much more strongly than simply allowing that any future pope, however misguided, but (presumably) only a pope could tamper with it any way he liked. If you were right I would have to put up with embracing my neighbour instead of God as long as I live. They said instead that any such person would be “cursed” and “anathema”, and do you not agree that these words admirably suit Paul VI? An example given by Fr. Hesse is a past pope who said baptism was valid if given “In the name of Christ”. It isn’t. That error had to be corrected later. Let us hope that the (Protestant, incidentally) writers of the NO will also be corrected later. The novus ordo will some day be as new as New College in Oxford, but not nearly so inspirational.

  • Julian Lord

    I realise that Fr Hesse is the current poster boy, but personally I find that his arguments are shoddy, and that they rely on the acceptance that rebellion and error might be truthful.

    They said instead that any such person would be “cursed” and “anathema”,

    This penalty involves those who without the required Authority abuse the Order of Mass as established by the competent Authority.

    Heretics who provide Masses in their rainbow stoles, allowing lay lesbians in “vestments” to preach, give the Eucharist to dogs, and so on and so forth are the targets of this provision of the Council of Trent — which BTW was (among other things) a response to extremely widespread liturgical abuses in the 15th-17th centuries.

    do you not agree that these words admirably suit Paul VI?

    No — and it is utterly absurd to suggest that an Ecumenical Council establishing the definition of the Order of Mass as a Papal prerogative might condemn any Pope for his use of that prerogative.

  • Don Schenk

    Well, yeah. But as the parable of the tares and the wheat points out, eventually cones the Judgment.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    So who are the people who are trying to kick sinners out of the Church?
    Francis just makes this stuff up as he goes along.

  • Kevin Beach

    So many people criticise Pope Francis that I’m beginning to think he’s getting it right …

  • sarah

    I think it is St Therese of Liseux – he is a great fan of hers

  • sarah

    We are all sinners in need of a Saviour and that is why we pray and go to church

  • David L. Gray

    Cringe is a mild word :D

  • Agnus

    Re: Facts not genuinely known about HH Pope Paul VI, if you haven’t read this already, it should be read by everyone for clarification of the events of 1967

    the 1967 lecture is also available (by the grace of God) as an audio file

  • Agnus

    Yes, perhaps. But it is not cast-iron indication of another persons “Sanctity” that they request us to perform good deeds. Many people (Socialist’s included) perform missionary work NOT in Christ’s Name, but with pride – to THEM alone, appears to go the glory. Such people say things like “You do not have to be a Christian to be a good person!”

    We are called to be Saints and to be “Holy” Yet, according to Canon Law, the most necessary quality of one aspiring to “Holiness” is an instrinsic desire by their soul to be 100 percent obediant to 2000 year old Church Tradition and the Sacred Magesterium. If Pope Francis remains obediant to the Dogmatic pronouncements of ALL previous Pontiff’s then he will be a Saint……to call us to Missionary work, and not apparantly to obediance to the Holy Roman Catholic Church is concerning.

    Who are the most cherished “Holy” people,- the Saints of Christ’s Church?

    St Francis of Asissi, who was 100 percent obediant to the Church’s Magesterium.

    St Padre Pio who was ALSO 100 percent obediant to the Church’s Magesterium.

    We know that “obediance” to Tradition IS what makes a Saint. Only by submitting to the Sacred Magesterium, as Our much beloved Lord Jesus Christ submitted Himself to the Obediance of the Will of the Father, can we ourselves be Sanctified and deemed by Christ’s Church to be “Holy” and suitable candidates for Canonisation.

    Submitting to Christ’s hitherto proclaimed LITURGICAL Idealogies , rather than to the travesty of disobediance that HH Pope Paul VI suffered with the New Rite which became his method of Crucifixion,…….‎

    or as audio file.

    …… tis likely to resolve ALL problems, and remove the Judas’s – the “Luther’s” the “Socialists” the self-proclaimed “pseudo – authorities” who are merely “Protestantisers of Christ’s Liturgical Masterpiece” those who remove all of the beauty from the Eternal Masterpiece of Liturgical Perfection – the Tridentine Mass of all ages. (Council of Trent)

    Pope Paul VI did not ever say “Yes” to the Vernacular Translation – and if you read/listen to the above lecture – you will all discover that for yourselves.

    Can we remove the “I think it’s better done like this” type people from running the Church, those who would mould it in their own image. Let us instead seek to imitate the unceasing respect and obediance to the Sacred Magesterium as authority that the Saint’s have always demonstrated

    PS St Padre Pio, was evidently granted a special dispensation from celebrating the “Novus Ordo” …………………..

    Can we perhaps idealise HIM a bit more

  • Agnus

    Pope Pius XII (Whilst still.Cardinal Pacelli 1931.)

    “I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucy of Fatima. This
    persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a
    divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her
    liturgy, Her theology and Her soul…. I hear all around me innovators who
    wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the
    Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her
    historical past.

    A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the
    Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that
    man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for
    the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, “Where have they taken Him?””