Pope Francis had some strong words today regarding the scandals that have rocked the Church in recent history, calling them “the shame of the Church.”
The Holy Father reflected on the topic during his homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
The first reading from the 1st book of Samuel recalled the defeat of Israel by the Philistines, during a time in which Israel had abandoned the Lord. Thinking that they could use the Ark of the Covenant as a magical object, the Israelites were again defeated and the Ark captured. The Pope said that this outcome shows that there was not a true faith in God, nor of his real presence in life.
“This passage from Scripture makes us think on how is our relationship with God, with the Word of God: is it a formal relationship? Is it a long-distance relationship? The Word of God enters into our heart, it changes our heart. Does it have this power or not? Is it a formal relationship, and everything is ok?”
When the heart is closed to the Word of God, the Pope continued, it can only bring failure. Today’s word “brings us to think of so many failures of the Church, of so many failures of the people of God simply because they don’t listen to the Lord.”
The Holy Father went on to speak strongly on the scandals of the Catholic Church. “Do we feel ashamed? So many scandals that I do not want to mention singularly, but we all know them. We know where they are! Scandals, some who have paid so much money …The shame of the Church!” he exclaimed.
“The Word of God in those scandals is rare; in those men and in those women the Word of God was rare! They did not have a bond with God! They had a position in the Church, a position of power, also of comfort. But the Word of God, no! ‘But, I have a medal’; ‘I wear the Cross’’. Yes, like those who carried the Ark! Without the living relationship with God and with the Word of God! The Words of Jesus come to mind for them and for those involved in scandals. And here scandal has come: a decay of the people of God, to the weakness, to the corruption of priests”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray to the Lord, to ask Him to allow us to never forget the Word of God “that is living, that it may enter our heart and to never forget the holy, faithful people of God.” (J.A.E.)