Morality Isn’t “You Can, You Can’t”

Pope Confides to Dominique Wolton

Dominique Wolton 28/08/2017 © L'Osservatore Romano

Dominique Wolton 28/08/2017 © L'Osservatore Romano

Morality isn’t “you can, you can’t” or “you must, you must not,” says Pope Francis in a book-interview with French researcher Dominique Wolton. The Holy Father says that he “fears” “rigidity” and he hopes that Pastors won’t reduce their preaching to morality “under the belt.”

On September 1, 2017, Le Figaro Magazine published excerpts of the work “Pope Francis: Meetings with Dominique Wolton: Politics and Society” (Editions de L’Observatoire), whose publication is scheduled in France for September 6.

In the course of a dozen private meetings at the Vatican, the Holy Father addressed the question of “morality” with the sociologist. One cannot teach morality, he stressed, “with precepts such as ‘you can’t do that, you must do that, you must, you must not, you can, and you can’t.’”

Morality is a consequence of an encounter with Jesus Christ, he explained. It’s a consequence of the faith for us Catholics. And for others, morality is a consequence of an encounter with an ideal, or with God, or with oneself, but with the best part of oneself. Morality is always a consequence. “

The Reductio of Morality “Under the Belt”

The Pontiff puts preachers on guard against the “great danger” of a morality that only condemns – I ask your pardon – that ‘under the belt.’” However, the other sins, which are the most serious – hatred, envy, pride, vanity, killing of another, taking life … there isn’t much talk of these,” he notes.

Recalling also the question of Communion to divorced persons who have remarried, the Pope contests the “fixed” and “rigid” norms. He gives Pastors this advice: “Speak then with the divorced man, speak with the divorced woman, receive, accompany, integrate, discern!”

He points the finger at the “temptation of the Church” to pronounce herself in terms of “they can’t do this”: “But no, and no, and no! This type of interdiction is what one finds in Jesus’ dramas with the Pharisees. The same! The greats of the Church are those that have a vision that goes beyond, those that understand. “

“Behind every rigidity, there is an inability to communicate . . . it’s a form of fundamentalism. When I come across a rigid person, especially a young one, I say to myself immediately that he’s sick . . . I fear rigidity. I prefer a disordered youth, with normal problems, who is enervated . . . because all these contradictions will help him grow.”

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