November 28 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Positive early reaction to Pope’s vision for the Church

The Holy Father’s vision for the Church, which reminds us that in Baptism we are called to be missionary disciples, has been well received in the Catholic community in Scotland and beyond.

“The Holy Father is proposing orthodox Catholic doctrine in a new and pastorally creative way,” Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said on Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). “That is his great gift and that is the great value of this new document.”

The archbishop (above) also noted the call ‘to throw open the doors of our churches and to be dispensers of mercy in the confessional.’

Pope Francis’ debut Apostolic exhortation on sharing the joy of the Gospel, which was published on Tuesday, looks at decentralisation—and unity—in the ‘bruised, hurting and dirty’ Church as well as commenting on issues in wider society such as poverty, family, abortion and the economy.

The document, which applies the work of the 2012 Synod of New Evangelisation to wider areas, has been labelled by some secular critics as a bid to modernise by a ‘liberal’ Pope.

Papal Advisor Professor John Haldane, a professor of philosophy at St Andrews University, refutes this.

“Every Pope is and must be a ‘conservative’—not as a matter of politics or culture but as one of religious fidelity,” he said. “If someone doubted this and countered that Pope Francis is certainly out to review, revise and update the Church’s teachings, just as a political leader might do with a party manifesto so as to ‘modernise’ it, then they would need to look at Evangelii Gaudium and read what he has to say about, for example abortion.”

John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, added that in Evangelii Gaudium: “Pope Francis calls for a bold self-examination by Catholics of how consistent are their lives with the Gospel and with the Church’s mission… So it is incumbent upon Catholics to both believe and spread those messages which are contingent on the Gospel of Life, such as the injustice of all abortions, the wrongness of euthanasia…”

The Joy of the Gospel, the Archbishop Vincent Nicols of Westminster concluded, ‘lays out the enterprise which lies ahead of us all.’

“It is inspiring and presents some of the challenges faced by our world today for ‘a Church without frontiers,’” the president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales added.


—Don’t miss an in depth look at Evangelii Gaudium in tomorrow’s SCO in parishes

—For full reaction to the Apostolic exhortation, including Archbishop Tartaglia’s and Professor Haldane’s comments in full, see next week’s SCO in parishes December 6.


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