(Vatican) Does the Pope say "wounds" and mean sins? He confuses sinners with the "wounded"? Or he says priest and confessor, however, he believes they are social workers and Caritas employees? In 6 March, Pope Francis gave a long speech to the priests of his diocese of Rome a long speech at the beginning of Lent in the Paul VI Hall, whom he had called together. The theme of the address was the question of how a priest had to be to be a "good shepherd". Here are some tentative considerations and more questions from a simple Catholic woman.
The Sinner as Wounded?
Essay on an unfinished Commentary
by Martha Weinzl
The speech was as is typical of Pope Francis, divided into three points. "In the whole Church it is the time of mercy." "What is mercy for the priest," And: "Mercy is neither arms too widely opened or rigidity"
27 Times Mercy, Never Guilt
First, the test of an empirical text analysis. The text uses Pope Francis uses the word mercy 27 times, twelve times the word heart, ten times the word wounds, six times the word flesh, two of five times he speaks of the sacrament of reconciliation and the confessor, three times he used the words compassion, confess, and penance, only once the words sin, sinners, reconciled and absolve. The words guilt, confession and confessional do not occur, nor salvation, savior, savior, savior, salvation, salvation or absolution.
What tells us this list? Pope Francis was to talk about confession and the role of the priest as confessor. The subject for the talk, one would assume, is the sin and the sinner who has committed the sin. We are all sinners, but we should beware of sin. The Church presents us with the precious aids available for the lifelong struggle against sin. First, the instruction that contributes significantly to the formation of conscience. Then, however, especially the sacramental means of grace, especially the Sacrament of Penance instituted by Jesus Christ. After all, it is about eternal salvation, whether we can stand before God's justice and mercy.
Sin and sinners appear as terms in the papal address but each only appears once. Sin is indirectly mentioned in connection with criticism of lax priests who "minimize" sin, thus downplaying it. An important statement.
The Sinner, to be exact, "sinners" are in only one instance mentioned, without further explanation, together with the "sick", "about which nobody cares." Sinners and the sick are referred to by the Pope in the same sentence as "excluded". For them"Especially," the priest needs "tenderness".
Dimension of the Sin and the Sinner's Status Remain Unnoticed
The papal considerations can be far more reasonably followed when missing parts simply included. Nevertheless, it is remarkable how underexposed the dimension of sin and the status of the sinner remains, although they really should be the focus in the face of the subject.
The sinner becomes sick, but not in the sense of a spiritual disease. This can give rise to suspicion, the Pope coul view the priest - just to exaggerate - not as confessor, but as a nurse or Caritas staff member.
No perpetrators (sinner), only victims?
In fact, the Pope speaks not of sins and sinners, but of wounds and the sick. But wounds are not sins, but a change of perspective. The Pope says without a doubt wounded, people who are injured. Sin is a wound. The sinner is but the cause of the wound through sin and not merely the victim of a wound. That the sinner can be an injurer and the wounded a sinner, is another question, to which the Pope, however, did not respond.
Pope Francis sets the priests in the role of the minister in his speech, only to those wounded in the heart. The confessor has only to take care of the sinner. He has to condemn the sin, an issue the Pope doesn't even touch, and to move the sinner to repentance. The penitent who repents, he has - in Pope Francis is in his definition only agree - to go on his way to be reconciled as he is accompanied by God, but so that he no longer falls,this also includes the accompanying penance. These aspects are not mentioned.
According to Pope Francis, the sinner is not the offender, but obviously a synonym for the wounded. This is in need of explanation, if not to be assumed that the understanding is turned upside down. Offender and the victim as interchangeable sizes? The sinner is a doer, he wounded a victim. The priest who, according to Pope Francis is to take care of the wounded, so to victims, but in reality - one follows the papal versions - they are perpetrators, because why else would require a confessor. The sinner is thus in a new dialectic from the perpetrator to the wounded victims. For victims of their own sin? For victims of evil? For victims of the devil, the eternal tempter and seducer? But that is not explained by the Pope.
Sin? "Material problems, scandals, illusions of the world"
He speaks of the Church as a "field hospital" and gives the impression as if there were in a very special way in this day and age a "need to heal the wounds, many wounds! Many wounds!" But that would mean that priests would have had to take care especially to those who have been wounded by sin. It's just not clear from the further description, however. But why should our time need more to heal "wounds" than previous times, so that the Church is given a new role as "field hospital"?
In fact, the Pope is expected to be right. There were never as many people as today, which is why the number of sins should ipso facto be greater in number than ever before. Since the Pope does not name sin and never really speaks of sinners, his statement is vague and raises a number of questions that remain unanswered. Because the causes of the wounds that need confessors, so to sin, Pope Francis merely says: "Many people are wounded by material problems, scandals, even in the Church ... people who are wounded by the illusions of the world ..." .
You can rub your eyes in disbelief: "physical problems", "scandals", "in the Church", "illusions of the world"? What's this? Is this the dimension of sin, from which we have to guard ourselves? Wounds by social injustice? Perhaps the Marxists might be right that the only reason offenders sit in our prisons because they are victims of structural social injustices in the end, right? Sociological and psychological considerations? This requires the confessor, confession, the sacrament of reconciliation? This is something completely different: The reinterpretation of the confessor to life consultant? To psychotherapist? To a friend? The confusion of sin with worries and problems of the people? The question would then be justified, whether other professions due to their professional training are not yet suitable to solve such problems, as the "appointed" priests. If God actually is a kind of generic guidance counselor for social work?
The priest as Caritas staff?
Can the Pope's message to the priests of his diocese, and thus to all the priests, be summarized as follows: Go out, and do not fear for you to get dirty to help the people in their lives, everyday worries and troubles. One calling among several for every Christian. Also a perfect job description for a Caritas staff. But is this a definition for the priesthood? Especially in connection with the Sacrament of Penance? Questions, questions.
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org