Pope Francis took an apparent dig at conservatives resisting change in the Roman Catholic Church on Thursday, lamenting those whose religion he said was self-referential and encased in a “suit of armour”.
“Have we been stuck all too long, nestled inside a conventional, external and formal religiosity that no longer warms our hearts and changes our lives?,” Francis said.
“Do our words and our liturgies ignite in people’s hearts a desire to move towards God, or are they a ‘dead language’ that speaks only of itself and to itself?”
Faith was not “a suit of armour that encases us; instead, it is a fascinating journey, a constant and restless movement, ever in search of God,” Francis said.
The pope made his comments in the homily at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the day Christians commemorate what the Bible says was the arrival of the three wise men, or magi, in Bethlehem following Jesus’ birth.
Unsurprisingly, this is being greeted with standard issue outrage and self-pity that is the perpetual reaction of the Greatest Catholics of All Time whenever the Pope dares to suggest that Reactionaries might have something learn from the gospel.
It’s that thing of when your fundamental contract with God (that He never signed) is “I will worship you so long as I get to stoop down to the rest of the human race and explain that I know his will and approve what is excellent, because I am instructed in the law, sure that I am a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, and a teacher of children” and you are suddenly confronted with a pope who impolitely points out that none of that is true and you remain what you always have been and what he himself is: a sinner in need of grace.