The Pope had a field day this week, accusing his opponents within the Church of clericalism as he mangled revelation:
The Pope directed his attention to Jesus, who in the day’s Gospel turns to the chief priests and the elders of the people, and focuses precisely on their role. “They had juridical, moral, religious authority,” he said. “They decided everything.” Annas and Caiaphas, for example, “judged Jesus,” they were the high priests who “decided to kill Lazarus”; Judas, too, went to them to “bargain,” and thus “Jesus was sold.” They arrived at this state of “arrogance and tyranny towards the people,” the Pope said, by instrumentalizing the law:
But a law that they have remade many times: so many times, to the point that they had arrived at 500 commandments. Everything was regulated, everything! A law scientifically constructed, because this people was wise, they understood well. They made all these nuances, no? But it was a law without memory: they had forgotten the First Commandment, which God had given to our father Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” They did not walk: they always stopped in their own convictions. They were not blameless!
The people discarded by the intellectuals of religion
And so, the Pope said, they had forgotten the Ten Commandments of Moses”: “With the law they themselves had made – intellectualistic, sophisticated, casuistic – they cancelled the law the Lord had made, they lacked the memory that connects the current moment with Revelation.” In the past their victim was Jesus; in a similar way, now their victim is “the humble and poor people who trust in the Lord,” “those who are discarded,” those who understand repentance even if they do not fulfill the law, and suffer these injustices. They feel “condemned,” and “abused,” the Pope said, by those who are vain, proud, arrogant.” And one who was cast aside by these people, Pope Francis observed, was Judas:
Judas was a traitor, he sinned gravely, eh! He sinned forcefully. But then the Gospel says, “He repented, and went to them to return the money.” And what did they do? “But you were our associate. Be calm… We have the power to forgive you for everything!” No! “Make whatever arrangement you can!” [they said.] “It’s your problem!” And they left him alone: discarded! The poor Judas, a traitor and repentant, was not welcomed by the pastors. Because these people had forgotten what it was to be a pastor. They were the intellectuals of religion, those who had the power, who advanced the catechesis of the people with a morality composed by their own intelligence and not by the revelation.
The evil of clericalism can still be found in the Church today
“A humble people, discarded and beaten by these people.” Even today, the Pope observed, this sometimes happens in the Church. “There is that spirit of clericalism,” he explained: “Clerics feel they are superior, they are far from the people”; they have no time to hear the poor, the suffering, prisoners, the sick”:
Go here to read the rest. The Pope seems to confuse the Sadducees, the temple priests, with the Pharisees. The Sadducees contended that they held strictly to Holy Writ, while it was the Pharisees, their adversaries, who added to Scripture such novelties as the resurrection of the body. The Pope could use one of his swear words, fundamentalist, more accurately against the Sadducees, rather than accusations that they twisted the Law for their purposes, which is the accusation that Christ made against the Pharisees. In regard to Judas, I assume that the Sadducees would have been puzzled since from their viewpoint Judas did nothing that required repentance. He had aided them in capturing a man who claimed to be God, and no greater blasphemy was imaginable to almost all Jews. PopeWatch assumes that the Pope will always bash his adversaries within the Church, but it would be nice if he could keep his mitts off a history he clearly does not understand.