Pope says he’s saddened by ‘perfect’ Catholics who despise others

| Junno Arocho Esteves | August 11, 2017 | 5 Comments
Pope talks about forgiveness

Pope Francis greets the crowd during his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 9. CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano

God did not choose perfect people to form his church, but rather sinners who have experienced his love and forgiveness, Pope Francis said.

The Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman shows how his actions went against the general mentality of his time, a way of thinking that saw a “clear separation” between the pure and impure, the pope said Aug. 9 during his weekly general audience.

“There were some scribes, those who believed they were perfect,” the pope said. “And I think about so many Catholics who think they are perfect and scorn others. This is sad.”

Continuing his series of audience talks about Christian hope, the pope reflected on Jesus’ “scandalous gesture” of forgiving the sinful woman.

The woman, he said, was one of many poor women who were visited secretly even by those who denounced them as sinful.

Although Jesus’ love toward the sick and the marginalized “baffles his contemporaries,” it reveals God’s heart as the place where suffering men and women can find love, compassion and healing, Pope Francis said.

“How many people continue today in a wayward life because they find no one willing to look at them in a different way, with the eyes — or better yet — with the heart of God, meaning with hope,” he said. But “Jesus sees the possibility of a resurrection even in those who have made so many wrong choices.”

Oftentimes, the pope continued, Christians become accustomed to having their sins forgiven and receiving God’s unconditional love while forgetting the heavy price Jesus paid by dying on the cross.

By forgiving sinners, Jesus doesn’t seek to free them from a guilty conscience, but rather offers “people who have made mistakes the hope of a new life, a life marked by love,” the pope said.

The church is a people formed “of sinners who have experienced the mercy and forgiveness of God,” Pope Francis said. Christians are “all poor sinners” who need God’s mercy, “which strengthens us and gives us hope.”

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Category: From the Pope

  • DebraBrunsberg

    I thought the title of this article was bad enough when it showed up on Facebook, but seeing it in the Catholic Spirit really makes me question who does your editing. Please direct me to the part where Pope Francis talks about the perfect Catholics who “despise” others. You can’t. He never said that. There is a big difference between those who “scorn” someone and those who “despise” someone. I presume the whole gist of this was to cause more division and kudos to the CS for jumping on the bandwagon with this. Really, who does your editing?

    • carolq

      Not sure how much difference there is between scorning someone and despising them. Both sound pretty rejecting.

      • DebraBrunsberg

        To scorn is to spurn, reject, ignore or look down upon. Not a good thing. To despise it to detest, to hate, to loathe. I think there is a difference when speaking of Catholics behavior towards others. If there is no difference, why change the Pope’s word from scorn to despise? Because it gets more attention.

  • James

    This imperfect Catholic is saddened by a man occupying the Chair of St. Peter who appears to be in a state of geriatric dementia.
    Or is it heresy?
    Go home.

  • Charles C.

    Are there really Catholics who see themselves as perfect? And do these Catholics scorn or despise other Catholics?

    I don’t think that’s the problem. I have no problem scorning some ideas or behaviors. The Lord knows there are more than enough of those going around that are damaging to the Faith and which possibly lead those who follow them to eternal fire.

    We are anxious to scorn or despise politicians for having bad ideas or using the wrong words, it is far more important that Catholics strive to be correct and loving, the stakes are much higher.

    We have a duty to correct our brothers with love. One group doesn’t use love frequently enough, the other group refuses to be corrected, they are convinced that wrong is right.

    God protect us from our folly.