Friday, December 12, 2014

The Mess of Christmas

Nativity, Bartolome Esteban Murillo
It seems far removed from the cold of December where I sit and write this reflection for you, but I'd like to take us back to the heat of summer, a year and five months ago to the day of this Christmas, July 25, South America. In the Cathedral of San Sebastian, Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis held an impromptu gathering of young people. There a line was delivered that I believe deserves our deeper consideration in this time of Advent preparation. Pope Francis said,

“What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! ... I want to see the Church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!”

I want a mess. If you've been following the words and ministry of Pope Francis since that summer day, it would certainly appear that he has been successful in reaching that goal. The pope has sent some shockwaves into the See of Peter and for many the ripples continue to expand. The recent synod on marriage and family this past October had many faithful scratching their heads. Thanks to both confused and conflicted internal reporting and secular media manipulation, many wondered if the seamless garment of the Faith might finally be unravelling...

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