Pope laments rigidity, praises Pius XII for mitigating Eucharistic fast [CWN]


In his December 15 homily at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis decried the rigidity and lack of principle of the chief priests in the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 21:23-27) and praised …



He does have a way with words, doesn’t he?



I found one of the comments, the one about Sunday Mass being legalistic, somewhat interesting.


And? Don’t be so reticent.


“And these Pharisees [spoke about] ‘our discipline’ – rigid on the outside, but, as Jesus said of them, ‘rotting in the heart,’ weak, weak to the point of rottenness. Gloomy in the heart”.

                                                  With all due respect to Pope Francis, that sounds a bit judgmental.


Yes, Jesus was judgmental.

And finding someone that is rigid about law and shows no compassionate understanding to be Pharisaical is not judgmental; it is factual.


What verse is Pope Francis quoting here

                                            Jesus said of them, ‘rotting in the heart,

                                           Having trouble tracking it down.


My way of bumping the thread. :wink:


My way of bumping the thread. :wink:

Seriously, it seems the rigidity was more concerning Mass times than fasting from midnight. But I guess I saw things differently then.


It is not a quote; it is an analysis.


I don’t think that the Pope was saying that the fast from midnight was pharisaical; rather, the reaction that Pius 12 got to his reduction was. I was too young to take any notice of what reactions there were to the reduction of time; but assuming Pope Francis is correct that people reacted as if a doctrinal matter was tampered with, I can not only understand his comments, but would agree wholeheartedly. It would be a clear act of form over substance for those carping about the reduction. Mercy has a way of bringing out the evidence of those who are rigidly bound to a law, as opposed to being prompted by the purpose of the law.


Perhaps people overreacted because in many cases you would effectively fast from midnight anyway. How many people got up at least three hours earlier than the start time of Mass to finish a breakfast? I never did. Imagine getting up at 6am just to go to a 10am Mass, are you kidding? Having Masses said later meant you probably could sleep longer so no big problem there either, though the 3-hr fast did help a little with Masses past 1pm or so, which came later. OTOH, the relaxation of the fast to an hour before communion, not just the start time, became not a fast at all since most Sunday Masses are about an hour long in addition to the travel time involved in getting to church. The biggest sacrifice it seems is not to eat during Mass before communion. What kind of fast is that?


The 8 am and the 9 am Masses probably didn’t change much due to the fast change, but the 10 or 10:30 group benefited; and as a matter of fact, some people had something to eat, even if it was not a full meal. A 6 am rising was not unheard of at all. Breakfast never was a slow, leisurely meal when I was growing up, and Sunday was no different Sund;ay dinner? Oh, yeah. But not breakfast.

And as to today; - OK, you are from Chicago, and I assume they do things differently back there. But here, it is between 30 minutes (for a fast priest and a short homily) to 45 minutes before Communion starts. So yeah, eating can put you over the limit, particularly if you live close by.

And one can always fast longer; it just takes a bit of initiative.


In short, some look at it as rigidity; others look at it as a challenge.


We had a much healthier Church in the days of the communion fast from midnight on.




It amuses me how conservative/traditional Catholics, who’ve been clamoring for Church leaders to address in an unequivocal manner the sins and spiritual faults of people in the pews are upset and outraged when the pope’s admonishments are directed at them.

I’m not saying this is how the author I quoted necessarily feels. But it is interesting to see “faithful” Catholics get bent out of shape when taken to task for their own defects of character.


"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

  • Mt 23:27-28.


The Holy Father isn’t criticizing fasting or other pious practices. He’s pointing out the same faults that drove Jesus to lose his temper with the “religious people” of his day: their propensity to rigidly adhere to the rules as if this were an end in itself rather than the means to an end.


If this were true, effectively the Pope is criticizing all the rules the Church ever had set up in the first place.

But I don’t think he’s doing that either.

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