Friday, July 4, 2014

Mercy and Justice

The Desk Columnist  of the Catholic Times reminds us that he does not know Pope Francis with any depth, but in his position, he does a lot of reading of the foreign news and  translating, so he does have a little better grasp of what the  pope is saying and doing than the ordinary Catholic.

He would like to know, he says: how he lived his early years, his personality, his hobbies and interests, the food he likes, the woman whom he may have  loved. These and many other  areas of the pope's lifearouse his curiosity and have to be satisfied with a fragmentary understanding of Francis the pope.

However, since becoming pope, he has said many things, which have been unconventional, but have shown a certain consistency and have  won the admiration of many which as a journalist perks his curiosity.

For him, the number-one trait that impresses him the most is the pope's  mercy and justice. He can harmonize the justice with mercy. In dealing with the inhuman qualities of the economic structures, he is  critical of the neo-liberalism type of capitalism and at the same time showing mercy to the poor. On one occasion, it is  justice that comes first at another time it is mercy.This embarrasses the journalist.

The document in preparation of the October Synod has been released and there is the concern on how to make the teachings of the Church acceptable to our Catholics; it is not to review the teachings themselves. The emphasis of Francis is: How do we show mercy? There are many who are not following the teachings of the Church, the relativism that permeates all of society also has entered the Church. This along with many other unavoidable reasons have made married life, family life and the teaching on life difficult for the Christians. Pope Francis wants ways to show mercy.

Francis shows his mercy to the poor who are   harassed  and exploited by an immoral financial system and expresses this with a just anger. This mercy and justice are seen often in Francis. This, says the columnist is the reason for the admiration that is shown the pope. Mercy and justice go together. When mercy is necessary, and you thrust justice out in front you have oppression, and when you need to show a  courageous act of justice and you, recoil  and pull back, you are being a coward. The pope distinguishes the two clearly and with resolve, and without hesitation. Which makes his stand all the more attractive. He is waiting anxiously for his visit.

The problem of how to reconcile the two is difficult and  many are not able to see how they are compatible. St. Thomas said: "Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution;  justice without mercy is cruelty."

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