Pope Francis drew the theme for his June 5th homily from the Gospel reading for the day, from John 17:20-26, and Jesus’ prayer that there would be unity among His followers, not divisions and conflict, this as we observe Pentecost and its recounting of Jews from all over the world hearing the disciples and understanding, despite their many different tongues.
The pope signalled out“Uniformists” who are "are rigid!,” who “call themselves Catholics, but their rigid attitude distances them from the Church.” Who might he have had in mind? Catholic traditionalists, who are critical of Francis much as they were of his predecessors? Many in the blogosphere think so.
The Pope also mentioned “Alternativists,” those who hold alternative teachings and doctrines and thus have “a partial belonging to the church,"not recognizing that its teaching is based on the preaching of Jesus and the apostolic tradition. Are these the same as those I wrote about in my second chapter, the so-called “progressive” groups in the public square today--Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, Women‘s Ordination Conference, the Catholic Theological Society of America, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Catholics for a Free Choice? It would seem so.
In response to these groups, the Pope reminds us that "in the Church you must give your heart to the Gospel, to what the Lord has taught, and never have an alternative for yourself!" Francis reiterated his plea for unity in the Church in Jordan, when he said:
“The mission of the Holy Spirit… is to beget harmony–He himself is harmony–and to create peace in different situations and between different people.”
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy Faithful, and kindle in us the fire of Thy love.