Thursday, 18 April 2013

God Spray

Pope Francis today used a witty expression to describe the vague religiosity of many people who are happy enough to use the Church when they need it but stay within the bounds of saying "I think it's nice to have a faith."

It seems that the Vatican news agencies are now shying away from providing the full text of his daily homilies and giving only summary reports. As others have noted, this is a problem in itself: in a world of instant communication, we really do need to have the exact text rather than someone else's interpretation if we are to have anything at all. Nevertheless, there are some quotations in today's Vatican Radio report and I enjoyed this section:
The Pope drew inspiration for his homily from the Gospel of John in which Jesus tells the crowd that "he who believes has eternal life". He says the passage is an opportunity for us to examine our conscience. He noted that very often people say they generally believe in God. "But who is this God you believe in?" asked Pope Francis confronting the evanescence of certain beliefs with the reality of a true faith:

"An ‘all over the place - god, a 'god-spray' so to speak, who is a little bit everywhere but who no-one really knows anything about. We believe in God who is Father, who is Son, who is Holy Spirit. We believe in Persons, and when we talk to God we talk to Persons: or I speak with the Father, or I speak with the Son, or I speak with the Holy Spirit. And this is the faith."
I confess that I have already used this quotation in my pastoral ministry and I intend to use it again. It sums up in a gentle way an attitude that we have to challenge.
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