Vatican News

Preaching one thing, doing another is 'pastoral schizophrenia,' pope says

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Vatican Media

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican Jan. 14, 2020. In his homily, the pope said the crowds who followed Jesus knew he taught with "authority" because he lived what he preached. Too many other religious leaders, he said, suffer from "pastoral schizophrenia," which is saying one thing and doing another. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) See POPE-MASS-AUTHORITY of Jan. 14, 2020.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The crowds following Jesus during his lifetime said he taught with "authority" because he lived what he preached, Pope Francis said.

"Authority is seen in this: coherence and witness," the pope said Jan. 14 during his early morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

In the day's Gospel reading, Mk 1:21-28, people in the crowd remark on the authority of Jesus and how "he commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him."

Jesus' exercise of authority, the pope said, is authentic because it can be seen. "What is seen? Coherence. Jesus had authority because there was coherence between what he taught and what he did, how he lived," he said.

The scribes in the Gospel, on the other hand, act in such a way that Jesus tells the people, "Do what they say, but not what they do."

The scribes suffered from "pastoral schizophrenia" -- saying one thing and doing another, the pope said. They were prime examples of what Jesus often called "hypocrites."

"Hypocrisy is the way of acting of those who have responsibility -- in this case pastoral responsibility -- but are not coherent," Pope Francis said. "And the people of God are meek and tolerant; they tolerate so many hypocritical pastors, so many schizophrenic pastors who say but don't do."

A hypocritical, inconsistent, schizophrenic pastor can do so much damage, the pope said. But people know. They seek out those who have the same kind of authority Jesus did, the authority that comes from living what they preach.

Authority, the pope said, "does not consist in commanding and making oneself heard, but in being coherent, being a witness and, in that way, being a companion on the path of the way of the Lord."


In secularized culture, bishops must give bold witness, archbishop says

By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Paul Haring

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, is pictured with Bishop Ralph W. Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa, before the start of a meeting at the congregation with U.S. bishops on their "ad lumina" visits to the Vatican Jan. 14, 2020. Bishops from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska were making their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses to the pope and Vatican officials. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See ADLIMINA-NINE-STMARYS Jan. 14, 2020.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Despite recent studies that indicate a rise in secularism, bishops must continue to give witness to God's love by laying down their lives for their flocks, said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas.

Referring to a Pew Research Center study released in December, Archbishop Naumann encouraged bishops to "not concede without a fight a single soul to the darkness of unbelief, of life without the friendship and love of Jesus."

"Despite the findings of Pew studies, let us commit ourselves to laying down our lives with love in our efforts to restore and, in some way, instill eucharistic amazement in the hearts of our people," the archbishop said in his homily Jan. 14 during Mass at the Rome Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Archbishop Naumann was the principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass with the bishops of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. The bishops were making their visits "ad limina apostolorum" -- to the threshold of the apostles -- to report on the status of their dioceses.

The good news proclaimed 2,000 years ago in Rome by Sts. Peter and Paul, the archbishop said, "is the same good news our people need to hear proclaimed with enthusiasm and authority today."

"In a secular culture where so many are dying spiritually and even physically from loneliness, in a society infected by a defective anthropology that claims that 'I can be anything that I could ever want to be,' which means that 'I am nothing more than I can imagine,' let us witness boldly to our people -- as the Apostles Peter and Paul did to a deeply secular culture -- that God loves them, that Jesus came to liberate them from all that enslaves us," he said.

An important aspect of the bishops' visit, he said, "is prayer, our Masses in these four major basilicas and praying at the tomb of the great apostles Peter and Paul, that we might have the same apostolic zeal in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus to the world today as they did in their time."

After the Mass at St. Mary's, the bishops walked down the stairs under the basilica's main altar to pray before the silver reliquary that houses what tradition holds is a relic of the manger where Christ was born.

In his homily, Archbishop Naumann had reflected on the day's reading from the First Book of Samuel, which recounts Hannah's intense prayer for a child and God giving her that gift.

Like Hannah, who prayed fervently to become a mother, the archbishop said, bishops must pray to be "true spiritual fathers for our people, striving to lay down our lives and love that they might embrace the gift of their true identity as beloved sons and daughters of God."

Citing the example of St. John Marie Vianney, who often would spend hours praying for the conversion of his parishioners, Archbishop Naumann said bishops also must pray "purposefully, then calmly place our intentions in the Lord's hands."

"We must ask the Lord to give us the grace to work tirelessly and perseveringly for the physical, but more importantly, the spiritual wealth of those entrusted to our pastoral care," he said. "And then, to be at peace, confident not in our own abilities, but that the Lord has heard our pleas and cries."

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Bishops begin 'ad limina' visit with reflection on being 'rock' of faith

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Paul Haring

Bishop John M. Quinn of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minn., gives the homily as U.S. bishops from North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota concelebrate Mass in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Jan. 13, 2020. The bishops were making their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses to the pope and Vatican officials. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See ADLIMINA-EIGHT-STPETER Jan. 13, 2020.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- St. Peter's transformation from an erring disciple to the "rock" on which Jesus built his church was not the result of lessons gleaned from a "self-help" book, but from growing ever closer to the Lord, said Bishop John M. Quinn of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.

Standing before St. Peter's tomb Jan. 13, Bishop Quinn was the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass with the bishops of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota as they began their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican to pray at the tombs of the apostles and report on the status of their dioceses.

In St. Peter's Basilica early in the morning, before meeting Pope Francis, the bishops of the 10 dioceses renewed their profession of faith and offered special prayers for the pope.

"Jesus always sees more in every person he encounters than that person sees in themselves," Bishop Quinn said in his homily. St. Peter is an obvious example: "Jesus knew he wasn't the rock when he called him, but Peter becomes the rock."

"Jesus sees in Peter the potential," the bishop said. Peter reached that potential not because he learned "some self-help tips, it's not because he read a few books on how to become a leader."

Rather, he said, "Peter encountered Jesus" and allowed him to become the foundation of his life.

There were times, the bishop said, that Peter was not a rock. He denied Jesus three times and at times was much more like "shifting sand" than solid rock.

Becoming "the rock" was a process that involved a daily encounter with a real person, learning about and coming to love Jesus and allowing his heart to be converted, the bishop said.

"Today we have great challenges in our church," he said. "Maybe none of us feels like the rock."

But in faith, he said, the bishops know that Jesus will strengthen them as he strengthened Peter.

For that to happen, though, he said the bishops must devote time to getting to know Jesus, setting aside a "holy hour" each day, reading the Scriptures "so that Jesus becomes a person whom I want to follow and whose forgiveness and mercy in my life is a real encounter."

"Every one of us is shifting sand," Bishop Quinn said. "Every one of us needs Jesus Christ in our life. Don't be afraid to come to him. Peter did and it changed his life, Peter on whom the Lord built his church."

"Be the rock," he told his brother bishops, "but be the rock because Jesus has made you that solid."


Baptism is first step on path of humility, pope says

By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Vatican Media

Pope Francis kisses a child as he baptizes one of 32 babies during a Mass on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Jan. 12, 2020. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) See POPE-BAPTISMS Jan. 13, 2020. 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In asking to be baptized, Jesus exemplifies the Christian calling to follow along the path of humility and meekness rather than strutting about and being a showoff, Pope Francis said.

Addressing pilgrims in St. Peter's Square Jan. 12, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the pope said that Christ's humble act shows "the attitude of simplicity, respect, moderation and concealment required of the Lord's disciples today."

"How many -- it's sad to say -- of the Lord's disciples show off about being disciples of the Lord. A person who shows off isn't a good disciple. A good disciple is humble, meek, one who does good without letting himself or herself be seen," Pope Francis said during his midday Angelus address.

The pope began the day celebrating Mass and baptizing 32 babies --17 boys and 15 girls -- in the Sistine Chapel. In his brief homily before baptizing the infants, the pope told parents that the sacrament is a treasure that gives children "the strength of the Spirit."

"That is why it's so important to baptize children, so that they grow with the strength of the Holy Spirit," he said.

"This is the message that I would like to give you today. You have brought your children here today so that they may have the Holy Spirit within them. Take care that they grow with the light, with the strength of the Holy Spirit, through catechesis, through helping them, through teaching them, through the examples that you will give them at home," he said.

As the sounds of fussy children filled the frescoed chapel, the pope repeated his usual advice to mothers of infants, encouraging them to make their children comfortable, and to not worry if they start to cry in the chapel.

"Don't get upset; let the children cry and scream. But, if your child cries and complains, perhaps it's because they feel too hot," he said. "Take something off them, or if they are hungry, breastfeed them; here, yes, always in peace."

Later, before praying the Angelus with pilgrims, Pope Francis said that the feast of the Lord's baptism "reminds us of our own baptism," and he asked the pilgrims to find out the date they were baptized.

"Celebrate the date of your baptism every year in your heart. Do it. It is also a duty of justice to the Lord who has been so good to us," the pope said.

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