Pope Francis has said that fidelity to Church teaching is a fundamental part of belonging to the Church and that we cannot use Church doctrine “as we please.”
Speaking during his homily at daily Mass today at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis defined the three ‘pillars’ of belonging as ‘humility,’ ‘fidelity’ and ‘special service.’
Pope Francis said that fidelity was the ‘second pillar.’ He said: “Fidelity to the Church, fidelity to its teaching; fidelity to the Creed; fidelity to the doctrine, safeguarding this doctrine. Humility and fidelity. Even Paul VI reminded us that we receive the message of the Gospel as a gift and we need to transmit it as a gift, but not as a something of ours: it is a gift that we received.”
He continued: “And be faithful in this transmission. Because we have received and we have to gift a Gospel that is not ours, that is Jesus’, and we must not – he would say – become masters of the Gospel, masters of the doctrine we have received, to use it as we please”.
Quoting Pope Paul VI, Pope Francis said that it was an “absurd dichotomy” to love Christ without loving the Church. He said: “The Christian is not a baptised who receives baptism and then goes on his way. The first fruit of baptism is to make you belong to the Church, the People of God. You cannot understand a Christian without the Church.
“This is why the great Paul VI said that it is an absurd dichotomy to love Christ without the Church, to listen to Christ but not the Church, to be with Christ at the margins of the Church. It’s not possible. It is an absurd dichotomy. We receive the Gospel message in the Church and we carry out our holiness in the Church, our path in the Church. The other is a fantasy, or, as he said, an absurd dichotomy”.