Pastry Shop Christians

During his historic trip to Assisi, Pope Francis visited the hall in the Bishop's residence in which Saint Francis stripped himself of his clothes and renounced his earthly birthright. Seemingly no previous Pope had ever visited the place.

Pope Francis remarked that there had been rumors in the Italian press that bishops, cardinals, perhaps the pope himself would in a dramatic gesture engage in a communal stripping off of robes. Reminding that the Church is all the baptized, he said all must imitate Christ who stripped himself to become a servant of all, even to accepting the Cross. And, if we would be Christians, we must follow Jesus on his Way, there is no other Way.

Then the Pope said: "But some will object: can't we have a Christianity that is a little more human – without the cross, without Jesus, without stripping away of self?" And the Pope replies; "In this way we would become pastry shop Christians, luscious cakes, sweet dainties. Delectable, but not real Christians. We need to strip away that worldliness which leads to vanity, arrogance, pride."

And he made it clear he was not speaking only of the Curia.

The Italian is here.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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