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Pope: Half-hearted Catholics aren’t really Catholics at all

By on Thursday, 5 June 2014

Jesus doesn't want the Church to be rigid, Pope Francis has said (CNS)

Jesus doesn't want the Church to be rigid, Pope Francis has said (CNS)

Those who insist others pray and believe exactly like they do, those who have alternatives to every church teaching and benefactors who use the church as a cover for business connections may call themselves Catholics, but they have one foot out the door, Pope Francis has said.

“Many people say they belong to the church,” but in reality have “only one foot inside,” the Pope said at the morning Mass in the chapel of his residence.

“For these people, the church is not home,” but is a place they use as a rental property, he said, according to Vatican Radio.

Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading, John 17:20-26, and Jesus’ prayer that there would be unity, not divisions and conflict, among his disciples. There are three groups of people who call themselves Catholic, but are not really, the pope said. ApologiSing for making up words, he labeled the three groups: “uniformists,” “alternativists” and “businessists.”

The first group, he said, believe that everyone in the church should be just like them. “They are rigid! They do not have that freedom the Holy Spirit gives,” and they confuse what Jesus preached with their “own doctrine of uniformity.”

“Jesus never wanted the church to be so rigid,” Pope Francis said. Such people “call themselves Catholics, but their rigid attitude distances them from the church.”

The second group, those with alternative teachings and doctrines, “has a partial belonging to the church. These, too, have one foot outside the church,” he said. “They rent the church,” not recognizing that its teaching is based on the preaching of Jesus and the apostolic tradition.

Members of the third group “call themselves Christians but don’t enter into the heart of the church,” they use the church “for personal profit,” the Pope said. “We have all seen them in parish or diocesan communities and religious congregations; they are some of the benefactors of the church.”

“They strut around proud of being benefactors, but in the end, under the table, make their deals,” he said.

Pope Francis said the church is made up of people with a variety of differences and gifts, and if one wants to belong to it, he or she must be motivated by love and enter with “your whole heart.”

Being open to the Spirit, who fosters harmony in diversity, he said, brings “docility,” which is “the virtue that saves us” from entering the church half-heartedly.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    You are wrong. Ferin’s statement does not contradict Christ’s promise, any more than Alexander VI’s immorality. Francis is a disaster, but one the Church will survive.

  • Edward J Baker

    You are off the wall incorrect. SSPX is a schismatic cult of anti-Catholic bigotry.
    It is rooted in a Lutheran like insistence that Vatican II was schismatic for
    allowing the possibility of salvation in accord with how God judges the
    worthiness of his creatures, not by what outward identities one claims for one’s

    It is hyporcritical of you to defend a group that claims orthodoxy by
    failing to recognize the orthodoxy of the Magisterium, including its
    condemnation of pseudo-Catholic cults.

  • gabriel_syme

    It has been repeatedly affirmed, over the years, by Cardinals and Ecclesia Dei Bishops, that the SSPX are not schismatic. Additionally, the SSPX themselves abhor sedevacantism, all schismatics and all heretics.

    The position of the SSPX is – of course – that the Pope is the head of the Catholic Church. We are obedient to him, except when he demonstrably contradicts his predecessors and the Catholic teaching of all time.

    This is a just and wholly Catholic stance.

    With the greatest respect, your comments are uncharitable and ill-informed. Your accusations only go to prove the point I made previously.

    Funnily, while you criticise the SSPX for supposedly being “lutheran like”, a poster on the Herald (scotland) website is currently praising Pope Francis for supposedly being “lutheran like”. Disorientation indeed.

    Recently, Bishop Athanasius Schieder (when in England) stated that, if – at this years synod – the Pope allows the divorced and remarried access to communion then he is in error and we cannot follow him in this error.

    These comments were praised by English blogger Fr Ray Blake and others.

    Are Bishop Schneider, Fr Blake and others in schism? No, they are clergy in good standing and they agree with the equally non-schismatic SSPX, espousing the same basic stance.

    If Francis and the Kasperites want less bother from the SSPX etc – they only need to ditch the nonsense and allow us all to get on with being Catholic.

  • gabriel_syme

    Thank you for your kind words Dr Williams! Let us get on with restoring the bastions together!

  • gabriel_syme

    I agree!

  • gabriel_syme

    I agree. Go into a typical parish church and you will drown in a sea of half-heartedness. Likely every person in the place is behaving as their own personal magesterium – as Bishops own surveys have recently shown, around the world.

    We want bread, not stones.

  • gabriel_syme

    There will not be a schism.

    The wackos will die off and the Catholic Church will be able to cast off the garments of its mourning and affliction, and put on the beauty, and honour of that everlasting glory which comes from God.

  • gabriel_syme

    You can’t deny kneeling is both more respectful and more suitable than is standing.

    As Cardinal Arinze put it: “why don’t we crawl?”.

    Folk even kneel to be knighted by the likes of Aul’ Liz, the usurper queen.

    Regarding “trendy” not being automatically wrong – want to bet? Trends die out, but the truth endures..

  • Christopher

    No he is not. I disagree. He is clear. “Many are called but few are chosen” remember? With that understanding he is right to sound the alarm.

  • Bac

    Oh but I do say that kneeling is not necessarily more respectful for respect and reverence are most importantly within and not without. You cannot say people receive disrespectfully just because they are standing, it’s nonsense. Either way the heart can be true or false. I didn’t read that at the Last Supper Jesus insisted the apostles should receive the bread and wine in any way differently from the way they usually did and they were receiving from the hands of Christ.
    Trends do not always die out they sometimes lead to new ways, sometimes improved ways.


    A Hearty “AMEN” on this point. I’m tired of being treated like a nutcase just because I have asked about the possiblity of some day having a Latin Mass in my vicinity, and looked upon with disdain for asking that we don’t include protestant hyms and also those that are derivrd from cathcy pop tunes.

  • gabriel_syme

    You cannot deny kneeling is more respectful than standing. I will not accept it.

    It has always been so – in both religious and secular environments.

    Standing suggests an equivalence between parties, and we are not Gods equals – far from it.

    Whereas kneeling demonstrates subservience and submission.

    Kneel I say!

  • ranger01

    Kneeling has, for thousands of years, been a sign of submission, reverence and respect. Standing has no equivalent meaning or significance, spin it as you may.

  • ranger01

    I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but is it really asking a lot of a man in his position to speak clearly?

  • Bac

    My point mainly was that you cannot say people receive Communion disrespectfully just because they receive it standing up or for that matter sitting down. You say Kneel but cannot judge the hearts of those who are happy to stand.

  • Bac

    I don’t disagree with your statement but that nevertheless does not mean that within people’s minds and hearts they are being disrespectful when they receive Communion standing. Again I refer to the Last Supper – Jesus did not expect the apostles to accept the bread and the wine in any different way from the usual – it was the receiving, the accepting, of His Body and Blood which was of paramount importance.

  • Jesus Lover

    Sorry Edward you have proven that you are absolutely clueless about the SSPX, stop the childish name calling and the strawman’s and do some proper research.

  • Daniel Crowley

    “Those who insist others pray and believe exactly like they do” -uh, like the Holy Catholic Church?

    Is this guy for real?

  • Edward J Baker

    Sorry Jesus Lover. You are proving you are absolutely clueless about the arrogant blasphemy at the core of SSPX, not the least includes condemning others to hell.

  • rjt1

    I would go further. To priests who alter the liturgy according to their own judgement, I would say: if you do that, I can’t stop you but please respect my right in conscience not to take part and to go elsewhere; moreover, you are doing me an injustice since I have a right to attend Mass according to the rites of the Catholic Church. Changing the liturgy (other than by competent authority) is explicitly forbidden by the Second Vatican Council (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium).

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    What about “half-hearted Popes”? How Catholic are they?

  • rjt1

    LOL. From reading the article, it seems that the Pope said that half-hearted Catholics had one foot outside the door, which implies that they have the other one inside so they are still Catholics, but in danger of stepping outside; which makes me question the headline: I doubt that he said such people were ‘not really Catholics’.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    Your interpretation is as good as any, I suppose. The sad thing is, this Pope needs constant interpreting. His expression is juvenile and best, when not outright heterodox.

  • Asif

    Check out a Van diagram sometime. It’s not for me to say whether the SSPX is inside or outside the boundaries of the RCatholic Church, there can be quite a broad band of expression within the boundaries of the Church, but in extreamis you move beyond these boundaries and are outside the Church. From my observations the SSPX seems far narrower than the Church, in my Van diagram could the Church exist iwithin SSPX’s world without being massively altered ? Can IS the SSPX inside the Churches world ? Is it slowley moving outside, or is it, as those who use words like schismatic and heresy seem to think, now completly outside the Churches world in its own seperate SSPX spear ?
    Pope Francis seems to concistant with and continuing the messages he was giving in Evangelii Gaudium, in that the important thing is why you do something, the motivation, rather than the way this is expressed. Of course this will shape the personality of expression, but can encompass many types of expression. It’s not an attack on Traditionalisme, but rather an attack on why some people are traditionalist, or some people are Charasmatic. It is also an invitation for both to be accepted and accept each other in the Church because they recognise their common motivation in Christ.

  • Asif

    That should be a Venn Diagram of course

  • Asif

    Come now, Pope Frances almost speakers plain English compared to previouse Popes, a lot less inpenatratable than Pope Benedict for example, but he was a Theology Professor (God bless him, no critisme of his teachings, but they could be pretty inpenatratable to mere mortals).
    Cannot you think of anybody who behaves as described ? Or times when you (and me) might have behaved, or be tempted to behave in these ways ?

  • Asif

    Lol The Canadian Grand Prix is on and its getting interesting , so I cannot be bothered rising to this :)
    Half hearted Pope, honestly !

  • rjt1

    I must admit I don’t follow every utterance of the Holy Father, but I don’t recall anything heterodox.

  • Jesus Lover

    Lovely red-herring

  • Gary


  • moiaussi

    “uniformists,” “The first group, he said, believe that everyone in the church should be just like them. “They are rigid! They do not have that freedom the Holy Spirit gives,” and they confuse what Jesus preached with their “own doctrine of uniformity.””

    “Being open to the Spirit, who fosters harmony in diversity, he said, brings “docility,” which is “the virtue that saves us” from entering the church half-heartedly.”

    – spot on !

    A good example is where the ‘Tridentinalists’ shoehorned the Tridentine Mass onto the Vatican II Mass to create the new service that came out in Advent 2011. All of a sudden the greeting became kludged with the collect, along with various other messes.

  • Guest

    Never mind that.

  • clayton3120 clayton3120

    I thought Jesus died on the cross for all? Yes, even half hearted Catholics.

  • clayton3120 clayton3120

    HMMM, I always thought Christ died on the cross for all, even half-hearted Catholics. What about the good thief who died on the cross next to Him? Guess he was only 7/16 hearted, but he was saved too.

  • rjt1

    Yes, He did….but we have to appropriate that. It’s not automatic salvation. Let’s pray that we can overcome our half-heartedness because it’s not something that affects only ‘them’ out there.

  • Älter und weiser

    Yes, that is the problem.

  • Älter und weiser

    I’d only add that we need to vote with our feet and dollars.
    About 6 months ago, I stopped going to my local parish church.
    Over 20 years, the message never changed. Just a generic “be nice”.
    But never a word on what behavior is good, and what is bad.
    For those who were never catechized, the message was meaningless.
    Occasionally, the retired priests would directly preach about abortion and the sanctity of marriage; but that was maybe once per year.
    So what’s the point of supporting a community that is committing spiritual suicide?

    So now, I contribute a bare minimum to another near-by parish.

    Just enough to support the good and fearless priest there and the rest of my giving goes to good organizations like the FSSP.

  • Alan40

    Do you accept everything in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Including what it teaches about religious freedom and ecumenism?
    If not, you have your own personal magisterium.
    As, in a sense, we all do.

  • jacobum

    Four words come to mind when PF pontificates…”banal” and “shallow” at best and “contradictory” and “confusing” more often then not. It is past the point of defending so it must be a deliberate device. The faithful and the Faith deserve better.

  • Lucia826

    Edward with all respect. No one but one’s self can condemn one’s self to Hell. That is free will.

  • Matamoros

    Thank you!

  • Edward J Baker

    That was my point. Try making that point to SSPX adherents who take no offense at the no-salvation-outside-the-Catholic-Church heresy, along with many other heresies.

  • colcarpenter

    Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI effectively dealt with progressives who tried to destroy the Church. Now Pope Francis rightly has those anal retentive traditionalists in his sight. How great is the Holy Spirit!