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Pope Francis: in Bozzolo, no to “sitting on the fence”, “separatist activism” and “dehumanizing supernaturalism”

“There are three roads that do not lead in the direction of the Gospel”: the way of “letting go”; the way of “separatist activism”; and the way of “dehumanizing supernaturalism”. Pope Francis said this in the address he delivered in Bozzolo in which, drawing on the example of Don Mazzolari, he explained that the road of “letting go” – of “sitting on the fence”, he added off the cuff – is typical of one who “stays at the window to look out without getting dirty hands”: we are “content to criticize, to describe with bitter and lustful mischief the errors of the world around. This attitude quietens the conscience, but it has nothing to do with Christianity because it leads us to back out, with a spirit of judgement, sometimes sour. There is a lack of proactive ability, or of constructive approach to problem solving”. The second wrong method is the way of “separatist activism” typical of those who are “committed to creating Catholic institutions (banks, cooperatives, clubs, trade unions, schools…). So faith becomes more operative, but – Mazzolari warned – it can create an elite Christian community. It favours interests and clientele with a Catholic label. And, inadvertently, barriers are built to the emergence of the question of faith, and risk becoming insurmountable. There is a tendency to affirm what divides rather than what we have in common. It is a method that does not facilitate evangelization, but rather closes doors and creates mistrust”. The third mistake is “dehumanizing supernaturalism” in the name of which one “takes refuge in the religious to circumvent the difficulties and disappointments we encounter. We leave the world, the true field of the apostolate, in favour of devotion. It is the temptation of spiritualism. A limp apostolate is born, without love”. “Those who are distant cannot be interested in a prayer that does not become charitable, with a procession that does not help bear the crosses of the hour”, Don Mazzolari warned: “The drama is in this distance between faith and life, between contemplation and action”, the Pope remarked.

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