Pope Francis on Religious Fundamentalism

In Pope Francis’s first interview with an independent radio station in Argentina with no connection to any religious organization, he spoke about fundamentalism and other issues. Vatican Radio reports:

…The Holy Father also went on to point out the dangers of religious fundamentalism which distances one from God, saying that fundamentalism in any religion “is a transversal darkness which robs us of an horizon, which closes us in convictions”.

“No religion is immune from its own fundamentalisms. In any confession there will be a small group of fundamentalists, whose work is to destroy in the interests of an idea, not of a reality. Reality is superior to an idea.  God, whether in Judaism, in Christianity, or in Islam, in the faith of those three peoples, accompanies God’s people with His presence. In the Bible we see it, Muslims in the Koran. Our God is a God of nearness, which accompanies.  Fundamentalists push God away from the companionship of His people; they dis-Incarnate Him, they transform Him into an ideology. Therefore, in the name of this ideological God, they kill, attack, destroy, and calumniate. Practically, they transform this God into a Baal, into an idol,” Pope Francis said. …


  1. You don’t suppose this includes Roman Catholics who insist that God, acting through Peter and the Apostles and thier successors are not free to act boldly and compassionately on behalf of sinners and transgressors. “But they must repent”, cry the fundamentalists. “They must conform to irreformable doctrines or risk being cast into the fiery furnace.” “We very Catholic folks must prefer some popes to others, some councils to other, some teachings and practices to others.” I’ve heard and made countless confessions over 42 years, my repentance was often woefully imperfect or even absent….confessing the same sins over and over again. I see this this pattern with great frequency, people hoping that sacramental grace will actually change them with no effort on their part. I submit there is a lot of sacramental fundamentalism in the church that crys out for maturing reform. Long live Jesus Christ and his Universal Vicar!

  2. I hear in all this a Jesuit whose life was changed by decisive encounters with Christ in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola,an experience that made the true fundamentals stand out as as necessary choice of compassionate and Christ like behavior.

  3. It took me twenty years to become a fundamentalist. It will take until in paradisum for me to emerge from it, and perhaps beyond.

    Right now my challenge is to accept that laypersons have a role in the administration of the sacrament in the reformed rites. I still cringe visibly when a layperson touches or reaches into a tabernacle and has the audacity to not only touch sacred vessels but the Host itself! Are your fingers blessed? Were you given the deacon’s cup? Is this what Pope Paul intended? Did he not write that EMHCs were only for unduly large Masses? I don’t mind waiting twenty or more minutes for a priest and deacon to distribute the sacrament alone.

    I now try to see the question this way. The use of EMHCs has spread throughout the world. If this innovation were unpopular, it would have probably decreased in influence. Instead, EMHCs are now ubiquitous. Perhaps I am so focused on the Eucharist that i have almost completely forgotten that the person holding the Host or cup is a person. Would I be just as contented to receive the Eucharist from a robot in choir dress and a stole? Sadly, I probably would not mind so long as the robotic tongs were anointed with the Latin formula. I have arrived at the point where rubric and function have blocked out humanity. Quite a sad state of affairs.

    It is healthy to see the self in others, brothers and sisters, the Body of Christ, interacting with one another during Mass. To give the Eucharist to someone else requires a charity which is for some innate and for others learned.

  4. They have to hear and see the Good News being lived by those who claim to be followers of Christ before repudiating their sins in favor of becoming disciples themselves.

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