WHAT THE POPE DID WRONG!
By: Fr. Oselumhense Anetor.
Days ago, Pope Francis said something in the course of responding to a question that a group of journalists posed to him in an in-flight interview from Greece.
I personally feel the question was inappropriate. But, as you already know, Pope Francis is so authentic and so genuinely concerned about truth telling, that he didn’t hide under the usual “no comment” phrase.
As my colleague Fr Emmanuel Ojeifo wrote earlier on his Facebook wall, “among the questions posed to the Pope…was a question about why he accepted the resignation of the Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit.”
The journalists who were asking why the Pope accepted the resignation of the Archbishop didn’t know the details of why the Archbishop resigned.
Pope Francis, explaining what the Archbishop was accused of said; “it was his failure, a fault against the sixth commandment — but not total — of small caresses and massages that he gave to the secretary, so stands the accusation.”
The Pope wasn’t obliged to discuss another’s failing. But because the matter was already in the public domain, he decided to set the records straight. But rather than focus on the truth of his words, many journalists have given the impression that the Pope said ADULTERY WASN’T A SIN.
What Pope Francis did say about sins of the flesh is that it’s “SIN, BUT IT IS NOT OF THE MOST SERIOUS SINS, BECAUSE THE SINS OF THE FLESH ARE NOT THE MOST SERIOUS. THE GRAVEST SINS ARE THOSE THAT ARE MORE ANGELIC: PRIDE, HATRED. THESE ARE GRAVER.”
There! You have it! That’s what the Pope said.
Did the Pope say that “small caresses and massages” aren’t sins? No! Did he say that adultery isn’t a sin? No! What he said is exactly what I’ve written above.
So, what did the Pope do wrong?
As Fr Ojeifo submits in his write up, “The Pope accepted Archbishop Aupetit’s resignation not because he sinned, but because he had lost his public reputation and could not muster the moral authority to remain as Archbishop of Paris.”
Explaining further, the Pope said “when the gossip grows, grows, grows and takes away the reputation of a person, that man will not be able to govern… and that is an injustice…This is why I accepted Aupetit’s resignation, not on the altar of truth, but on the altar of hypocrisy.”
Speaking about the incident, Archbishop Aupetit said he offered to step down “to preserve the diocese from the division that suspicion and loss of trust are continuing to provoke.” The Archbishop’s resignation was “not a confession of guilt, but a humble gesture, an offer of dialogue.”
An Archbishop had to resign because of the injustice of gossip. He said he didn’t do what he was accused of. But his reputation had already been battered by the accusations. So he had to step down. This in itself is an injustice.
Everyone sins. Even the religious fanatics and fundamentalists who give the impression that they’re saints commit sins too. Ask them.
The only difference is that these latter folks never accept that they’re sinners. They say they’ve been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Yet they wallow in shocking depths of evil. They let PRIDE reign in their members. They’re worse than adulterers. Why did Lucifer fall? PRIDE! He wanted to take God’s place.
Why did God not destroy David after he committed adultery? Why did Jesus not condemn the woman caught in the very act of adultery? Because they took responsibility for their failings and repented. They weren’t proud of their mistakes. They didn’t wear their sins like a badge while claiming to have been saved by the blood of the Lamb.
In my opinion, those who aren’t compassionate are the worse sinners. Those who are quick to judge and condemn others are the worse sinners. Those who gossip and fuel rumours are the worse sinners.
Where do you belong?