Doubling down on Cardinal João Braz de Aviz' warning to religious vocations directors from around the world about the consequences of distancing oneself from the "great lines" of the Second Vatican Council, the following day Pope Francis gave the same group a short list of warning signs that a young person might not be suited for religious life.*
Given the state of the Church, one might be tempted to expect such a list to include, say, active homosexuality, pedophilia, theological and/or pastoral dissent, careerism, inordinate fondness of polyester pantsuits, etc. But I suspect that even considering such things as being potentially harmful to religious vocations is to have already distanced oneself from Vatican II - perhaps irreparably so. No, the real threat to religious vocations is to be found elsewhere: deep in the Freudian Unconscious. Pope Francis explains:
All the people who know the human personality - may they be psychologists, spiritual fathers, spiritual mothers - tell us that young people who unconsciously feel they have something unbalanced or some problem of mental imbalance or deviation unconsciously seek strong structures that protect them, to protect themselves.
Did I mention it was a short list?
While insinuating mental imbalance in one who seeks structure is somewhat new - I mention only in passing his description of Christian ideology as a "serious illness" - decrying the threefold evil of 'structures, rules and habits' is an established trope of Pope Francis' personal magisterium. As he wrote in Evangelii Gaudium (§49):
More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: "Give them something to eat."
Again, is there any doubt as to who is meant here? And could the modus operandi of setting up false dichotomies be any clearer?
St. Francis, pray for us.
|Confirmation of the Rule of St. Francis by Pope Innocent III|
*If Jeff Foxworthy were a Catholic, gentle reader, this would be a comedy goldmine.