The Pope is busily dispensing some of his patented mercy again to faithful Catholics:
Pope Francis spoke critically again of the faithful who have a strong embrace of Catholic doctrine, resorting to pejorative terms he has often used such as hypocritical and phariseeism.
“You cannot be more restrictive than the Church herself,” he told a lay association gathered Thursday morning at the Vatican, “nor more Papist than the Pope.”
Addressing the Congress of the International Forum of Catholic Action in the Synod Hall, the pope told participants he wanted them to be out among the people and that there is a need for “active mercy.”
The theme for the association’s three-day gathering was “Catholic Action is mission, with all and for all.”
“Do not be border police,” he told the conference.
“Please, open the doors,” Pope Francis stated, “don’t administer Christian perfection tests because you will only promote a hypocritical phariseeism.”
He also warned Thursday against trying to clericalize the laity.
Compelling laypeople into a vocation because they perform valued service to the Church instead leaving this to the Holy Spirit “worries me,” Pope Francis said, according to the Catholic Herald. “Do not clericalize!”
The pope spoke negatively as well about “proselytism or coercion,” the Herald report said, “which goes against the Gospel.”
“It makes me really sad to see people who are in ministry – lay, consecrated, priests, bishops – who are still playing the proselytism card,” he stated. “No! It is done through attraction. That is the genius phrase of Pope Benedict XVI.”
The notion of working to convert others to the faith is something he has repeatedly criticized previously.
“That has nothing to do with proselytism,” he said of low priest numbers in Germany. “By proselytism, you will not gain vocations … ”
He defined proselytism as “the poaching of those with a different faith, like with a charity organization who poaches members. Then many young people come, who do not feel called, and ruin the Church.”
The pope stated in October that “there is a very grave sin against ecumenism: proselytism. We should never proselytize the Orthodox!”