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The Church is not an NGO - Printable Version

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The Church is not an NGO - Poche - 06-12-2013

In his daily Morning Mass, Pope Francis told the faithful present that poverty and praise of God “are the two key signs of an evangelical and missionary Church.” The Holy Father echoed that same words he said the day after his election to the papacy, warning that a rich Church can become an NGO (non-governmental organization).


The Pope reflected on the Gospel of the day, which recounted Christ’s  exhortation to the Apostles on how to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ call to go proclaim the Gospel with neither gold nor silver, he said, is Christ’s call to proclaim his Word “with simplicity.” That simplicity, the Pope continued, “gives way to the power of the Word of God, because if the Apostles had not had confidence in the Word of God, they would probably have done something else.”

Meditating on Christ’s mandate to give freely what they had received freely, Pope Francis conveyed the importance of proclaiming the Gospel as a grace, while warning that “when we leave grace a little to one side in our proclamation, the Gospel is not effective.”

"Evangelical preaching flows from gratuitousness, from the wonder of the salvation that comes and that which I have freely received I must freely give,” the Holy Father said.

“This is what they were like at the beginning. St. Peter did not have a bank account, and when he had to pay taxes, the Lord sent him to the sea to catch fish and find the money in the fish, to pay. Philip, when he met Queen Candace’s finance minister, did not think, 'Ah, good, lets set up an organization to support the Gospel ...' No! He did not strike a deal with him: he preached, baptized and left.”

The Holy Father also warned that in announcing the Kingdom of God “as a free gift”, there is a temptation to seek some form of strength or authority in preaching the Gospel. The temptation, he continued, cause a confusion where “proclamation becomes proselytizing.”

“The Church does not grow through proselytizing but by drawing people to her". And this attraction comes from the testimony of those who freely proclaim the gratuity of salvation,” Pope Francis said.

"Everything is grace. Everything. And what are the signs of when an apostle lives this gratuity? There are so many, but I will underline only two: First, poverty. The proclamation of the Gospel must follow the path of poverty. The testimony of this poverty: I have no wealth, my wealth is the gift I received, God: this gratuity is our wealth! And this poverty saves us from becoming managers, entrepreneurs.”

The Church, he continued, should bring forth their works with a heart of poverty and not of an investment broker. "The Church is not an NGO,” the Holy Father exclaimed.

The Pope went on to say that the other sign of living in gratuity is praise, stressing that in praising the Lord, it is essentially a gratuitous prayer.

"These two are the signs of an apostle who lives this gratuity: poverty and the ability to praise the Lord,” the Pope concluded.

“And when we find the apostles who want to build a rich Church and a Church without the gratuitousness of praise, the Church becomes old, the Church becomes an NGO, the Church becomes lifeless. Today we ask the Lord for the grace to acknowledge this generosity: 'Freely you have received, freely give'. Recognizing this gratuity, this gift of God . Let us move forward in preaching of Gospel.”

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/francis-the-church-is-not-an-ngo


Re: The Church is not an NGO - Poche - 06-12-2013

I believe that this is an area where the SSPX has said that they agree with the pope.


Re: The Church is not an NGO - Sant Anselmo - 06-12-2013

Has anyone reminded the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Relief Services that they are not just an NGO, and that they are actually supposed to be Catholic? 


It will be interesting to see where things go vis-a-vie Pope Francis.  His words on grace are interesting.  The Society of Jesus has always had a bit of a different understanding as to the nature of grace from other religious, particularly the Order of Preachers. 


Re: The Church is not an NGO - Poche - 06-12-2013

(06-12-2013, 12:58 AM)Sant Anselmo Wrote: Has anyone reminded the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Relief Services that they are not just an NGO, and that they are actually supposed to be Catholic? 


It will be interesting to see where things go vis-a-vie Pope Francis.  His words on grace are interesting.  The Society of Jesus has always had a bit of a different understanding as to the nature of grace from other religious, particularly the Order of Preachers. 
Pope Benedict did last year;

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio_20121111_caritas_en.html


Re: The Church is not an NGO - winoblue1 - 06-12-2013

All this focus on social justice is really beside the point.
I don't recall Christ saying the only validity to His Church is that it supports social services.
What about the objective worship of God and encouraging a deep devotional life to help people to fight the world, the flesh and the devil?


Re: The Church is not an NGO - Basilios - 06-12-2013

(06-12-2013, 04:19 PM)winoblue1 Wrote: All this focus on social justice is really beside the point.
I don't recall Christ saying the only validity to His Church is that it supports social services.
What about the objective worship of God and encouraging a deep devotional life to help people to fight the world, the flesh and the devil?

but.... but.... but what about the immigration laws?!?!??!!!


Re: The Church is not an NGO - Sant Anselmo - 06-12-2013

(06-12-2013, 06:30 AM)Poche Wrote:
(06-12-2013, 12:58 AM)Sant Anselmo Wrote: Has anyone reminded the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Relief Services that they are not just an NGO, and that they are actually supposed to be Catholic? 


It will be interesting to see where things go vis-a-vie Pope Francis.  His words on grace are interesting.  The Society of Jesus has always had a bit of a different understanding as to the nature of grace from other religious, particularly the Order of Preachers. 
Pope Benedict did last year;

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio_20121111_caritas_en.html

I know he said it.  I'm waiting for them to do it, and for our bishops to make it happen. 


Re: The Church is not an NGO - Poche - 06-12-2013

(06-12-2013, 04:19 PM)winoblue1 Wrote: All this focus on social justice is really beside the point.
I don't recall Christ saying the only validity to His Church is that it supports social services.
What about the objective worship of God and encouraging a deep devotional life to help people to fight the world, the flesh and the devil?
All those things are important but Jesus did say, "Whatever you do unto the least of these that you do unto me."


Re: The Church is not an NGO - A-Catholic-Catholic - 06-14-2013

(06-12-2013, 11:47 PM)Poche Wrote:
(06-12-2013, 04:19 PM)winoblue1 Wrote: All this focus on social justice is really beside the point.
I don't recall Christ saying the only validity to His Church is that it supports social services.
What about the objective worship of God and encouraging a deep devotional life to help people to fight the world, the flesh and the devil?
All those things are important but Jesus did say, "Whatever you do unto the least of these that you do unto me."

A special "Thank You", not only to Poche and to winoblue1, but also to all the rest of you for each of your fine comments and for bringing all of this to the fore!  -  :tiphat:

All of you have made some very valid points!  But there is some obvious confusion about possible contradictions among these various points.

Therefore, I hope that what follows will help to clarify these very important issues for everyone by making the proper and necessary distinctions concerning these apparent contradictions on these various points.

The basic issue here has to do with what is called, in the Spiritual Life, Spiritual Perfection.

Actually, there are two basic types of Spiritual Perfection.

I.  Primary Means of Spiritual Perfection

The primary means of Spiritual Perfection consist in obeying the Commandments, where one reads:

Quote:“It is evident that [Spiritual] Perfection consists essentially in the observance of the Commandments; wherefore Augustine says (De perf. justit., VIII): ‘Why, then, should not this perfection be prescribed to man, although no man has it in this life?’” (Reverend Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.  [b. Auch, France 1877 A.D. - d. Rome, Italy, 1964 A.D.], who taught dogmatic and Spiritual theology for 53 years at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum, in Rome, “The Three Ages of the Interior Life, Prelude of Eternal Life”, Translated by Sister M. Timothea Doyle, O.P., Volume 1 on Ascetical Theology, p. 198; emphasis added.)

Therefore, no one is free to disobey the Ten Commandments of God and the Six Precepts, or Commandments, of the Catholic Church. 

This is why Christ teaches:

Quote:“You are my friends, if you do the things that I command you” (John 15:14).

Likewise, those to whom Christ gave specific Commandments are required to obey them, namely the Catholic Clergy which Commandments are automatically incurred with the reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, most especially the Sacrament of the Episcopacy and the Sacrament of the Priesthood, as in these five examples:

Commandments to Prelates and Priests:

1) To Offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

Quote:“Do this for a commemoration of Me” (Luke 22:19).

2) To perform Exorcisms:

3) To Preach:

Quote:“And having called His Twelve Disciples together, He gave them power [Exorcist] over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of diseases, and all manner of infirmities....  These Twelve Jesus sent:  commanding them, saying:  Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, and into the city of the Samaritans enter ye not.  But go ye rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And going, preach, saying:  The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick [Extreme Unction], raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils [Exorcism]:  freely have you received, freely give” (Matthew 10:1; 10:5-8; emphasis added).

Quote:“And how shall they preach unless they be sent” (Romans 10:15).

4) To Teach and Baptize all nations:

Quote:“And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying:  All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.  Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20; emphasis added).

Baptism is of extreme importance because it is the “sine qua non” - that which is indispensable - to enter Heaven:

Quote:“Jesus answered:  Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5).

Everyone is to obey everything Christ has commanded: “to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you”.

In other words, there is no such thing as “Cafeteria Catholicity” in which each one is free to pick and to choose only those things which appeal to one’s personal tastes or preferences or liking because breaking one law breaks the entire law:

Quote:“If then you fulfill the royal law, according to the scriptures, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; you do well.  But if you have respect to persons, you commit sin, being reproved by the law as transgressors.  And whosoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all.  For he that said, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’, said also, ‘Thou shalt not kill’.  Now if thou do not commit adultery, but shalt kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law” (James 2:8-11).

5) To Administer the Sacrament of Penance:

Quote:“As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When He had said this, He breathed on them; and He said to them:  Receive ye the Holy Ghost.  Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (John 20:21-23).

II. Secondary and Instrumental Means of Spiritual Perfection

This seems to be the crux of the problem?  Why?

Unfortunately, confusion easily comes in because the Secondary and Instrumental Means of Spiritual Perfection - good works - are sometimes mixed-up or confounded with the Primary Means of Spiritual Perfection, which are explained above.

For example, Christ teaches that this good work is an Instrumental Means of Spiritual Perfection:

Quote:“Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).

Please notice that here Christ mentions only one species of good works which is an Instrumental Means of Spiritual Perfection.

In reality, there are also other species of good works which are likewise  an Instrumental Means of Spiritual Perfection which are either equally meritorious, or even greater in degree of merit.

Why? 

Because what is called the “Secondary and Instrumental Means of Spiritual Perfection” is not precisely the same for everyone.

Examples:

Some people are saved:

1) by the practice of the evangelical counsel of poverty, e.g. members of Religious Orders and Religious Congregations take the Vow of Poverty which serve as a help to their eternal salvation;

2) by the practice of solitude, e.g. hermits, historically in some cases, pre-dated the Religious Orders and from some of them came Monasticism;

3) by the practice of one or more of the Corporal Works of Mercy which is something which many Catholics can do;

4) by the practice of one or more of the Spiritual Works of Mercy which, in some respects, are even easier to perform than some of the Corporal Works of Mercy and which all Catholics should do, at least one of them of one’s personal preference;

5) by the practice of that Theological or Moral Virtue which is practiced in the greatest degree of Spiritual Perfection.

Christ’s Example

Christ Himself provides all Catholics an example which is quite different from that “good work” He mentions in Matthew 25:40:

Quote:“Now the feast of the pasch, and of the Azymes was after two days; and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might by some wile lay hold on Him, and kill Him.  But they said:  Not on the festival day, lest there should be a tumult among the people.  And when He was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, and was at meat, there came a Woman having an alabaster box of ointment of precious spikenard:  and breaking the alabaster box, she poured it out upon His head.  Now there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said:  ‘Why was this waste of the ointment made?’

[N.B.  Judas, the Traitor, is said to be one of them which is why he “went to the chief priests, to betray Him to them” immediately thereafter.]

For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and given to the poor.  And they murmured against her.  But Jesus said:  Let her alone, why do you molest her?  She hath wrought a good work upon Me.  For the poor you have always with you:  and whensoever you will, you may do them good:  but Me you have not always.  She hath done what she could:  she is come beforehand to anoint My Body for burial.  Amen, I say to you, wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memorial of her.  And Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests, to betray Him to them” (Mark 14:1-10; emphasis added).

Note that Christ says:

Quote:“She hath wrought a good work upon Me.” 

This “good work” is a Secondary and Instrumental Means of Spiritual Perfection.

Also note that Christ says:

Quote:“For the poor you have always with you: and whensoever you will, you may do them good”.

In other words, because there are always the poor, it is always a “good work” to help them because they most certainly do need one’s help on a frequent basis.  Yet, by the same token, no person is commanded by Christ to do this.  Christ leaves it up to a person’s free will.  No one should ever be forced to do this.

This is why Christ teaches that, just as with all of the other ”good works”, here also, this “good work” is to be done “whensoever you will”.

To focus exclusively on this one ”good work”, is to misunderstand the Spiritual Life and to attempt to make the Spiritual Life one-dimensional by ignoring all the rest of the basic elements of the Spiritual Life.

Hence, the point is that there are, in fact, also other ”good works”, some of which are so vitally important that they are actually commanded and really fall under the Primary Means of Spiritual Perfection such as attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days.

Therefore, one can perform other “good works” as found in these few examples:

1)  attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass during the week IF this is possible.  But this is dependent upon one’s personal daily routine and schedule and other responsibilities and duties and circumstances in one’s life.  Please note that this ”good work” is not of obligation because there is no command to attend daily Mass because this command is limited to only Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation;

2) receiving the Sacraments frequently;

3)  continuing with:

3a)  Devotions such as the First Fridays, First Saturdays, Family Rosary every day;

3b) wearing the Brown Scapular;

3c)  saying your Morning and Evening Prayers and Prayers before and after meals;

3d) making an Examination of Conscience before retiring for the night;

3e)  performing daily Spiritual Reading;

3f)  making a daily Meditation;

3g)  keeping oneself updated by reading about the current bad news concerning the latest in the never-ending Modernist changes to the Catholic Faith, Mass, and Sacraments;

3h)  re-reading the “Catechism of the Council of Trent” to refresh one's memory on basic unchangeable Catholic Teachings;

3i)  checking on the latest data on the Catholic Church found on various internet web sites - especially this web site, of course;

3j)  making your comments, entries, on this web site;

3k)  etc., etc.

The bottom line is that it is an error to try to force someone to focus on one specific “Secondary and Instrumental Means of Spiritual Perfection”.

Historically, this is not the precise teaching of Christ or of the Catholic Church over the last almost 2,000 years.

Not everyone has a vocation to the same, one and only, “good work”.  If a person is somehow “forced” to perform a “good work” which is not in harmony with one's specific talents and the special Actual Graces God gives them, it could be Spiritually harmful.

For example, suppose that a person is “forced” to practice a “good work” which happens to be the Virtue of Humility because someone is telling them this is the “good work” they need to do to be saved.

In such an instance, there is always the possibility that a person who practices the “good work” of the exercise of the Virtue of Humility could become very proud by thinking he or she is much more humble than anyone else they know!

Or, they always talk about their “humility” for whatever specious reason.

But this nonsense is NOT the heresy of the Pelagians, but rather it is nothing less than the blatant hypocrisy of the Pharisees - you remember what Christ had to say to them about their hypocrisy:

Example 1:

Quote:“Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them:  otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father Who is in Heaven.  Therefore when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men.  Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth.  That thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee” (Matthew 6:1-4; emphasis added).

Example 2:

Quote:“Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and of all filthiness.  So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27-28; emphasis added).

Yes, it is true that Humility is the basis of all of the Virtues

But constantly talking about Humility is nothing more than the proverbial sounding the “trumpet” of false Humility which is Pride in disguise.

Hopefully the above has helped to clarify these important Spiritual issues?

Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to read this!  :tiphat:

God Bless You!  :pray:

A-Catholic-Catholic:  Father Jim


Re: The Church is not an NGO - Tim - 06-14-2013

Just saying thanks so I'll come back to re-read this, to take it in.

tim