Pope Francis continues his critique of religious fundamentalism


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Why does Pope Francis continue to return to his concern about religious fundamentalism present in all religions? During his press conference on the plane back from his trip to Africa, he returned to the subject in response to a journalist’s question.

Listen to what he says:

“In the Catholic Church we have some – many – who believe that they have the absolute truth and they continue to defile others with slander and slander and that is wrong. Religious fundamentalism must be fought. is not religious, God is missing, it is idolatrous. “

Strong words indeed. Note that he says fundamentalism is not religious. Of course, he is not religious, in the sense that he often condemns others. At worst, it could lead to wars of religion. On a more modest level, it alienates people and pits groups against each other rather than leading to respect and working together for the good of all.

At a more fundamental level, fundamentalism is not religious because it is not the object of religion. Religion is about our relationship with God. It is about what God does for us: his mercy, his love, his care for us. Religion is not a matter of doctrine. Fundamentalists often become rigid and demand strict orthodoxy, but even most Catholics are often not familiar with the details of their own religious doctrine.

It is not necessary to fully understand doctrine to be Catholic or to adhere to a religion. What does it matter if a practicing Catholic can or cannot explain that the Holy Spirit flows from both the Father and the Son? What effect is there on the practice of your religion if you become confused about the difference between Assumption and Ascension?

I think Pope Francis also points out that we just don’t know everything. Specifically, we do not know enough to condemn the elements of faith to which another may subscribe. So we dive forward like we have the corner of the truth and we have to defend it against the world. We forget how much of what we know is shrouded in mystery. As Saint Paul says, we only see through dark glass, but then we will see face to face. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

We would do well to believe and trust God, and recognize that many things will be revealed to us when we see God face to face. I’m pretty sure we’ll find a number of surprises when we get there.

In the meantime, we should practice our religion. We should reach out to others with respect, compassion, and love, rather than condemning them for what they believe. We should help each other as we go through this difficult journey of life. We should all be working to create a better world for everyone here, so that we can walk through those mother-of-pearl doors together, certain that God is there to welcome us all.

I’m pretty sure that’s religion.

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