Question on Francis' EVANGELII GAUDIUM #47


“The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.”

Is the pope saying that all those “rules” of who is eligible for Communion and Baptism should be eliminated or toned down?


It looks to me more like he’s saying that unnecessary hindrances should be eliminated. It might help to remember that as archbishop, Pope Francis had to deal with certain priests who were denying baptism to babies born to unwed mothers. That was wrong of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was this kind of thing he had in mind when he wrote this, judging from the fact that he singled out baptism as an example.

That’s what I have a feeling he is saying shouldn’t be happening. If there are extraneous or unnecessary things blocking people from the sacraments and experiencing Christ’s mercy and healing, those shouldn’t exist, and we need to work to eliminate that.

I just read a comment on the Catholic Answers Blog today, about how this person’s daughter had had several abortions and was addicted to drugs and alcohol. She was raised Catholic, but always felt unwelcome at her parish because of her past, and so turned to the Salvation Army for help. She did end up turning her life around, but now she is alienated from the sacraments and the Church Jesus established for her. Why? Because we were treating the Church as a club for the pure, and not as a hospital for sinners.

My brother almost got turned away from the Church because of the same thing. There were some judgmental people gossiping about him, though he was doing nothing wrong.

It’s these kind of actions that keep people from God, from the Church, from the sacraments. And it’s these kind of things the Pope is trying to get us to be aware of and avoid.To stop putting unnecessary roadblocks up in front of our wounded brothers. But rather do our best to bring as many people to them as we can. That’s what his whole mission has always been, reaching out to the outcasts and bringing them to Christ.


Very good knowledge! If only the churches still kept their doors open 24/7. Perpetual Adoration is awesome but I have to travel to appreciate it. So I like your argument.

Metaphorically speaking of course. What would stop the theifs from coming in the night? I use to live in the country and I never locked my doors and my doors were always open. Till someone took advantage So I started to lock my doors. Through fear I would think. Fear for me to loose what I had acquired and held dear.

I have just found that God works from within and works outwards. The enemy works from without towards our innermost self.



Flatly denying baptism to babies born to unwed mothers is wrong. However, there are other situations. Similar to this is the situation of a Catholic mother who is unwilling to accept the faith herself for some reason. I don’t think there is (yet) a universal teaching about that, actually. Some say that plenty of Catholic parents don’t believe everything the Church teaches and priests still baptize their kids. However, I think there is a moral difference on the part of a priest who knows, because parents have demonstrated it in a clear way, that the parents don’t believe and are just “getting the card punched,” and parents who the priest merely suspects about but has no real proof.

In the situation of parents who patently say they don’t believe (for whatever reason):

On one hand, you can argue that it is merciful to baptize and that grace builds on grace, etc.

On the other hand, you can argue that a priest who baptizes the baby of parents who are themselves in a very precarious situation with their faith might sin in performing the baptism because there is a high likelihood that they won’t keep the faith, so to speak, and common sense prevails in this interpretation. So it can be seen as irresponsible and imprudent until such time as the parents themselves are helped. Just a thought: how can parents in the situation I describe validly and really make the baptismal promises for their child? I don’t think baptismal promises are necessary for baptismal validity, but an affirmation to them is necessary for the priest to licitly proceed with baptism, no?

Please nobody say something like, “YTC you are a meanie and you hate Pope Francis and Vatican II.” I’m trying to add some dimension here.


No. He is merely saying that if we’re denying one of those Sacraments to someone, there had better be good reasons.

If Fr. X denies Communion to Mr. A because he runs an abortion clinic, that’s a good reason.

If Fr. Y denies Communion to Mrs. B because she’s wearing pants rather than a skirt, that’s a silly reason.

The Holy Father is merely bringing this to our attention.

And in the case of Baptism, reasons must be extremely strong, because Baptism is essential for salvation. :thumbsup:


Hmm… Without getting into the dogmatics of it all… .I celebrate this pope and understand that for some reason, the Holy Spirit is asking us to follow the spirit of the law not just the legalities of the law…the sabbath was made for man, men were not made for the sabbath…that sort of stuff…



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