Congregation for the Clergy…

 

…judges Francis’ idea on this being the wonderful moments of the Church

  • Cultural and religious relativism brings ‘new religious movements’ with doctrines and practices alien to the Christian faith

In a climate of cultural and religious relativism, and sometime because of the inappropriate conduct of Christians, a proliferation of ‘new religious movements’ has occurred. These are sometimes called sects or cults but, because of the abundance of names and tendencies, are difficult to categorize in a comprehensive and precise framework. From available data, movements of Christian origin can be identified, while others derive from oriental religions, and others again appear to be connected with esoteric traditions. Their doctrines and their practices are of concern because they are alien to the content of the Christian faith. (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, no. 201, April 17, 1998)

…judges Francis’ idea that preaching the Gospel does not entail doctrinal and moral principles

  • The greatest obstacle for man to apply himself to the work of salvation is sin

Nevertheless, the conditions of history and of life are not to be considered the main impediment to human freedom. When man freely applies himself to the work of salvation, he finds sin the greatest obstacle. “Although he was made by God in a state of holiness, from the very dawn of history man abused his liberty, at the urging of the Evil One. Man set himself against God and sought to find fulfilment apart from God” (GS, 13). “Through one man sin entered the world, and with sin death, death thus coming to ail men inasmuch as ail sinned” (Rom 5, 12). “human nature so fallen, stripped of the grace that clothed it, injured in its own natural powers and subjected to the dominion of death, that is transmitted to ail men, and it is in this sense that every man is born in sin” (Paul VI, Profession fidei, n. 16). The multitude of sins, then, has become a sorrowful experience for mankind, and it is also the cause of manifold sorrows and ruin. (Congregation for the Clergy. General catechetical directory, no. 62)

  • By sin, man knowingly and deliberately violates the moral law

One must not neglect the teaching on the nature and effects of personal sins, whereby man, adding knowingly and deliberately, by his act violates the moral law, and in a serious matter also seriously offends God. (Congregation for the Clergy. General catechetical directory, no. 62)

  • The reality of sin is one of the principal points of the Christian faith, and it is not right to pass over it in silence

The history of salvation is also the history of liberation from sin. Every intervention of God both in the old and in the New Testament was to give guidance to men in the struggle against the forces of evil. The role entrusted to Christ in the history of salvation relates to the destruction of sin, and is fulfilled through the mystery of the cross. The profound reflections found in Saint Paul (cf. Rom 5) concerning the reality of sin and Christ’s consequent ‘work of justice’ must be numbered among the principal points of the Christian faith, and it is not right to pass over them in silence in catechesis. (Congregation for the Clergy. General catechetical directory, no. 62)

  • The docility with which the Holy Spirit must be obeyed entails a faithful observance of the commandments of God

Christ commissioned his apostles to teach the observance of everything that he had commanded (cf. Mt 28:20). Catechesis, therefore, must include not only those things which are to be believed, but also those things which are to be done. The moral life of Christians, which is a way of adding that is worthy of a man and an adopted son of God, is a response to the duty of living and growing, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in the new life communicated through Jesus Christ. The moral life of Christians is guided by the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit. ‘The love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us’ (Rom 5:5). The docility with which the Holy Spirit must be obeyed entails a faithful observance of the commandments of God, the laws of the Church, and just civil laws. (Congregation for the Clergy. General catechetical directory, no. 62)

  • By meeting Jesus Christ and by adhering to Him, the human being sees all of his deepest aspirations completely fulfilled

Faith involves a change of life, a ‘metanoia’, that is a profound transformation of mind and heart; it causes the believer to live that conversion. This transformation of life manifests itself at all levels of the Christian’s existence: in his interior life of adoration and acceptance of the divine will, in his action, participation in the mission of the Church, in his married and family life; in his professional life; in fulfilling economic and social responsibilities. Faith and conversion arise from the ‘heart’, that is, they arise from the depth of the human person and they involve all that he is. By meeting Jesus Christ and by adhering to him the human being sees all of his deepest aspirations completely fulfilled. (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, no. 55)

…judges Francis’ attitude towards public sinners, changing Vatican protocol

  • The priest must practice the ministry of forming consciences

In spite of the reality of a loss of the sense of sin, greatly extended in the culture of our times, the priest must practice, with joy and dedication, the ministry of the formation of consciences, pardon and peace. (Congregation for the Clergy. Directory for the ministry and life of priests, no. 51, March 31, 1994)

…judges Francis’ idea on God judging us by loving us

  • As a creative and insightful teacher, God admonishes with reward and punishment

‘God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline’ (Heb 12:7)? The salvation of the person, which is the ultimate purpose of Revelation, is shown as a fruit of an original and efficacious ‘pedagogy of God’ throughout history. Similar to human usage and according to the cultural categories of time, God in Scripture is seen as a merciful Father, teacher and sage. He assumes the character of the person, the individual and the community according to the conditions in which they are found. He liberates the person from the bonds of evil and attracts him to himself by bonds of love. He causes the person to grow progressively and patiently towards the maturity of a free son, faithful and obedient to his word. To this end, as a creative and insightful teacher, God transforms events in the life of his people into lessons of wisdom, adapting himself to the diverse ages and life situations. Thus he entrusts words of instruction and catechesis which are transmitted from generation to generation. He admonishes with reward and punishment, trials and sufferings, which become a formative influence. (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, no. 139, August 25, 1997)

…judges Francis’ idea on the poor being the heart of the Gospel

  • The central point of Christ’s Good News comprises liberation from sin and from the evil one

The message of Jesus about God is Good News for humanity. Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God; a new and definitive intervention by God, with a transforming power equal and even superior to his creation of the world. In this sense, ‘Christ proclaims salvation as the outstanding element and, as it were, the central point of his Good News. This is the great gift of God which is to be considered as comprising not merely liberation from all those things by which man is oppressed, but especially liberation from sin and from the domination of the evil one, a liberation which incorporates that gladness enjoyed by every man who knows God and is known by him, who sees God and who surrenders himself trustingly to him’ (EN 9). (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, no. 101, April 17, 1988)

…judges Francis’ idea that spiritual direction is a charism of the laity

  • The priest must practice the ministry of the formation of consciences

Despite the sad fact of the loss of the sense of sin, which is so broadly present in the culture of our time, the priest must practice the ministry of the formation of consciences, forgiveness and peace with dedication and joyfulness. (Congregation for the Clergy. Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, New Edition, no. 70, 2013)

  • The priest must not fail to exercise the ministry of spiritual direction

Along with the sacrament of Reconciliation the priest will not fail to exercise the ministry of spiritual direction. The rediscovery and extension of this practice, also at times outside the administration of Penance, is of great benefit for the Church in these times. The generous and active attitude of priests in practicing it also constitutes an important occasion for identifying and sustaining vocations to the priesthood and to the various forms of consecrated life. (Congregation for the Clergy. Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, New Edition, no. 73, 2013)

  • The laity should exercise their role so that the priest will be freer in attending to his primary commitments of spiritual direction

One of the tasks that demands special attention is the formation of the laity. The priest cannot be satisfied with the laity having a superficial knowledge of the faith, but must seek to give them a solid formation, persevering in his efforts through theology lessons and courses on Christian doctrine, especially through study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium. Such formation will help the laity to expedite in full their role as Christian animators of the temporal order (political, cultural, economic, social). Moreover, entrusted in certain cases to laypersons with sufficient formation and a sincere desire to serve the Church may be some tasks – in accord with the laws of the Church – that do not pertain exclusively to the priestly ministry, and which they can perform on the basis of their professional and personal experience. In this manner the priest will be freer in attending to his primary commitments such as preaching, the celebration of the Sacraments and spiritual direction. (Congregation for the Clergy. Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, New Edition, no. 73, 2013)

…judges Francis’ idea that sin forms a part of religious life

  • The Religious life constitutes a gift to the whole Christian community that can never be substituted for by priests or by laity

The profession of the evangelical counsels, which characterizes the religious life, constitutes a gift to the whole Christian community. In diocesan catechetical activity their original and particular contribution can never be substituted for by priests or by laity. This original contribution is born of public witness to their consecration, which makes them a living sign of the reality of the Kingdom: ‘it is the profession of these counsels, within a permanent state of life recognized by the Church, that characterizes the life consecrated to God’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 915). Although evangelical values must be lived by every Christian, those in consecrated life ‘incarnate the Church in her desire to abandon herself to the radicalism of the beatitudes’. (Evangelii nuntiandi, no. 69) (Congregation for the Clergy, General Directory for Catechesis, no. 228)

…judges Francis’ idea that man is the center of christian life

  • The Christian faith: conversion to Jesus Christ, full and sincere adherence to his person and the decision to walk in his footsteps

The Christian faith is, above all, conversion to Jesus Christ, full and sincere adherence to his person and the decision to walk in his footsteps. Faith is a personal encounter with Jesus Christ making, of oneself a disciple of him. This demands a permanent commitment to think like him, to judge like him and to live as he lived. In this way the believer unites himself to the community of disciples and appropriates the faith of the Church. (Congregation for the Clergy, General Directory for Catechesis, no. 53)

  • Faith involves a profound transformation of mind and heart in adhesion to Jesus Christ

Faith involves a change of life, a ‘metanoia’, that is a profound transformation of mind and heart; it causes the believer to live that conversion. This transformation of life manifests itself at all levels of the Christian’s existence: in his interior life of adoration and acceptance of the divine will, in his action, participation in the mission of the Church, in his married and family life; in his professional life; in fulfilling economic and social responsibilities. Faith and conversion arise from the ‘heart’, that is, they arise from the depth of the human person and they involve all that he is. By meeting Jesus Christ and by adhering to him the human being sees all of his deepest aspirations completely fulfilled. He finds what he had always been seeking and he finds it superabundantly. (Congregation for the Clergy, General Directory for Catechesis, no. 55)

…judges Francis’ prayer in the ecumenical and interreligious Meeting in Sarajevo

  • An essential part of the Church’s work of evangelization: teach people to pray to the Father through the Son

An essential part of the Church’s work of evangelization is to teach men and women to pray to the Father, through the Son in the Holy Spirit. (Congregation for the Clergy. The priest and the Third Christian Millennium, Teacher of the Word, Minister of the Sacraments, and Leader of the Community, Ch. 3, no. 2 , March 19, 1999)

…judges Francis’ idea comparing Catechesis with Yoga and Zen

  • The Church, animated by the Holy Spirit, is sent to be the teacher of the faith

Catechesis is an essentially ecclesial act. The true subject of catechesis is the Church which, continuing the mission of Jesus the Master and, therefore animated by the Holy Spirit, is sent to be the teacher of the faith. The Church imitates the Mother of the Lord in treasuring the Gospel in her heart. She proclaims it, celebrates it, lives it, and she transmits it in catechesis to all those who have decided to follow Jesus Christ. […]. She proclaims it, celebrates it, lives it, and she transmits it in catechesis to all those who have decided to follow Jesus Christ. (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, no. 78-79, August 25, 1997)

  • The Spirit causes the Church to grow and sustains her in proclaiming the Gospel

In virtue of his universal salvific will, God has ordained that Revelation should be transmitted to all peoples and to all generations and should remain always in its entirety. To fulfil this divine plan, Jesus Christ founded the Church, built on the Apostles. He gave them the Holy Spirit from the Father and sent them to preach the Gospel to the whole world. […] The Spirit causes her to grow constantly in her understanding of the Gospel, prompts her and sustains the task of proclaiming the Gospel in every corner of the world. (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, no. 42. 43, August 25, 1997)

  • Catechesis must lead to the gradual grasping of the whole truth about the divine plan

Who has encountered Christ desires to know him as much as possible, as well as to know the plan of the Father which he revealed. Knowledge of the faith (fides quae) is required by adherence to the faith (fides qua). Even in the human order the love which one person has for another causes that person to wish to know the other all the more. Catechesis, must, therefore, lead to ‘the gradual grasping of the whole truth about the divine plan’, by introducing the disciples of Jesus to a knowledge of Tradition and of Scripture, which is ‘the sublime science of Christ’. (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, no. 85, August 25, 1997)

  • Catechesis seeks to solidify and mature the first adherence to Christ

All evangelizing activity is understood as promoting communion with Jesus Christ. Starting with the ‘initial’ conversion of a person to the Lord, moved by the Holy Spirit through the primary proclamation of the Gospel, catechesis seeks to solidify and mature this first adherence. It proposes to help those who have just converted ‘to know better this Jesus to whom he has entrusted himself: to know his ‘mystery’, the kingdom of God proclaimed by him, the requirements and comments contained in his Gospel message, and the paths that he has laid down for anyone who wishes to follow him’. (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, no. 80, August 25, 1997)

… judges Francis’ ideas present in Laudato Si’

  • Christ introduced into time and into the world a new form of life, which is sublime and divine

Let us start with its Christological significance. Christ is newness. He brings about a new creation. His priesthood is new. He renews all things. Jesus, the Only-Begotten Son of the Father sent into the world, ‘became man in order that humanity which was subject to sin and death might be reborn, and through this new birth might enter the Kingdom of Heaven’. ‘Being entirely consecrated to the will of the Father, Jesus brought forth this new creation by means of his Paschal Mystery; thus, he introduced into time and into the world a new form of life which is sublime and divine and which radically transforms the human condition.’ (Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, no. 19). (Congregation for the Clergy. Reflection by Cardinal Claudio Hummes on the 40th Anniversary of the Encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus of Pope Paul VI, February 24, 2007)

 …judges Francis’ idea on the formation of consciences

  • The priest must practice the ministry of the formation of consciences

Sacramental Reconciliation re-establishes friendship with God the Father and with all his sons in his family which is the Church, which, in turn, is rejuvenated and edified in all of its dimensions: universal, diocesan, parochial (cf Council of Trent, sess. Vl, de iustificatione c. 14; sess. XIV, de poenitentia c. 1 2, 5-7, can. 10; sess. XXIII, de ordine c. 1; Vatican Council II, Presbyterorum Ordinis 2, 5). In spite of the reality of a loss of the sense of sin, greatly extended in the culture of our times, the priest must practice, with joy and dedication, the ministry of the formation of consciences, pardon and peace. (Congregation for the Clergy, Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests, no. 51, March 31, 1994)

…judges Francis’ idea on ‘good vibes

  • Religious relativism encourages a proliferation of ‘new religious movements’ or sects – they are alien to the Christian faith

In a climate of cultural and religious relativism, and sometime because of the inappropriate conduct of Christians, a proliferation of ‘new religious movements’ has occurred. These are sometimes called sects or cults but, because of the abundance of names and tendencies, are difficult to categorize in a comprehensive and precise framework. From available data, movements of Christian origin can be identified, while others derive from oriental religions, and others again appear to be connected with esoteric traditions. Their doctrines and their practices are of concern because they are alien to the content of the Christian faith. (Congregation for the Clergy, General Directory for Catechesis, Ch. IV, no. 201, April 17, 1998)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christ at the Final Judgment

  • It is not right be silent with respect to the final judgment

Catechesis on the subject of the last things:
– should, on the one hand, be taught under the aspect of consolation, of hope, and of salutary fear (cf. 1 Thess. 4:18) of which modem men have such great need; on the other hand, it should
– be imparted in such a way that the whole truth can be seen. It is not right to minimize the grave responsibility which everyone has regarding his future destiny. Catechesis cannot pass over in silence the judgement after death of each man, or the expiatory punishments of Purgatory, or the sad and lamentable reality of eternal death, or the final judgement. (Congregation for the Clergy, General Catechetical Directory, no. 69, April 1, 1971)

…judges Francis’ idea on the obedience of a Religious

  • Obedience is intrinsically required by the hierarchical structure of the Church

Obedience is a virtue of primary importance […] Just like that of Christ, the priest’s obedience expresses total and joyful readiness to do God’s will. This is why the priest recognises that this will also becomes evident in the indications of legitimate superiors. […] The virtue of obedience, intrinsically requested by the Sacrament and the hierarchical structure of the Church, is explicitly promised by the cleric, first in the rite of ordination to the diaconate, and then in the rite of ordination to the priesthood. (Congregation for the Clergy, Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, no. 56 (New Edition), 2013)

  • The gravity of dissenting from the Magisterium in matters of faith and morals

The obligation to follow the Magisterium in matters of faith and morals is intrinsically linked to all the functions the priest must perform in the Church. Dissent in this area is to be considered grave insofar as it leads to scandal and confusion among the faithful. […] Insofar as a minister of Christ and his Church, the priest generously takes upon himself the duty to comply faithfully with each and every norm, avoiding those forms of partial compliance, according to subjective criteria, which create division and have damaging effects upon the lay faithful and public opinion. (Congregation for the Clergy, Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, no. 57, (New Edition) 2013)

…judges Francis’ idea on Catholic Education to the Youth

  • Religious education should address all categories of the faithful

Master and educator of the faith, the priest will ensure that catechesis is a privileged part of Christian education in families, in religious education, in the formation of apostolic movements, etc., and that it is addressed to all the categories of the faithful: children, adolescents, adults, the elderly. Moreover, he will know how to transmit catechetical teaching with the use of all those didactic aids and instruments, as well as means of communication that may be effective so the faithful, in a manner suited to their disposition, ability, age, and practical conditions of life, may be able to learn the Christian doctrine in full and put it into practice in the most fitting way. (Congregation for the Clergy. Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests – New Edition, February 11, 2013)

  • Religious instruction should be taken with the same seriousness as other disciplines

It is necessary, therefore, that religious instruction in schools appear as a scholastic discipline with the same systematic demands and the same rigor as other disciplines. It must present the Christian message and the Christian event with the same seriousness and the same depth with which other disciplines present their knowledge. It should not be an accessory alongside of these disciplines, but rather it should engage in a necessary inter-disciplinary dialogue. This dialogue should take place above all at that level at which every discipline forms the personality of students. […] Through inter-disciplinary dialogue religious instruction in schools underpins, activates, develops and completes the educational activity of the school. (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, April 17, 1998)

  • Religious instruction provides responses to key questions

Those students who are searching, or who have religious doubts, can also find in religious instruction the possibility of discovering what exactly faith in Jesus Christ is, what response the Church makes to their questions, and gives them the opportunity to examine their own choice more deeply. (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, no. 75, April 17, 1998)

  •  Religious instruction has a missionary role for students who are non-believers

In the case of students who are non-believers, religious instruction assumes the character of a missionary proclamation of the Gospel and is ordered to a decision of faith, which catechesis, in its turn, will nurture and mature. (Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, no. 75, April 17, 1998)

…judges Francis’ idea on fraternal love

  • A Christian’s purpose is sanctity

This conformation to Christ is the very substance of sanctification and is the specific goal of all Christian life. In order to accomplish this objective, all Christians need the Church’s assistance, since she is both mater et magistra. The pedagogy of holiness is a goal which is as attractive as it is challenging for all those in the Church who hold responsibilities of government and formation. […] In contemporary society, which is marked by cultural, religious and ethnic pluralism, relativism, indifferentism, irenicism, and syncretism, it appears that some Christians have become accustomed to a form of ‘Christianity’ lacking any real reference to Christ and his Church. In these circumstances, the pastoral mission is reduced to social concerns which are envisaged in exclusively anthropological terms, often based on a vague appeal to pacificism, universalism or to a loose reference to ‘values’. (Congregation for the Clergy. The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community, no. 28-29, November 23, 2001)

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