APOSTOLIC ZEAL IS “PUTTING ON THE ARMOR OF GOD,” PROCLAIMING GOSPEL OF PEACE
Pope Francis began this week’s general audience catechesis on apostolic zeal, by noting that “we have been reflecting on the example of the Apostle Paul. From his earlier experience as a persecutor of the Church, Paul was well aware of the danger of misguided zeal, or a zeal motivated not by love of Christ but by vanity or self-assertion. Authentic zeal for the Gospel is instead, Paul teaches, completely centred on Christ and the power of his resurrection.
“By virtue of his own experience,” explained the Pope to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, “Paul is not unaware of the danger of a distorted zeal, oriented in the wrong direction. He himself had fallen into this danger before the providential fall on the road to Damascus. Sometimes we have to deal with a misdirected zeal, doggedly persistent in the observance of purely human and obsolete norms for the Christian community.”
The square was still decorated with the tens of thousands of flowers brought from Holland by Dutch florists for the Easter liturgies.
“We cannot ignore the solicitude with which some devote themselves to the wrong pursuits even within the Christian community itself; one can boast of a false evangelical zeal while actually pursuing vainglory or one’s own convictions or a little bit of love of self.”
The Holy Father underscored how, “In his Letters, Paul uses the imagery of putting on the ‘armour of God’ and exhorts his listeners to have their ‘feet shod’ in readiness to proclaim the Gospel of peace. The image is eloquent, since the feet of an evangelist must be solidly planted yet constantly in movement, ever ready to confront new situations in the effort to proclaim the Good News with creativity and conviction.”
Francis adds, “we find reference to the feet of a herald of good news. Why? Because the one who goes to proclaim must move, must walk! But we also note that Paul, in this text, speaks of footwear as part of a suit of armour, following the analogy of the equipment of a soldier going into battle: in combat it was essential to have stability of footing in order to avoid the pitfalls of the terrain – because the adversary often littered the battlefield with traps – and to have the strength to run and move in the right direction. So the footwear is to run and to avoid all these things of the adversary.”
The Pope insisted on the idea that “there is no proclamation without movement, without walking. One does not proclaim the Gospel standing still, locked in an office, at one’s desk or at one’s computer, arguing like ‘keyboard warriors’ and replacing the creativity of proclamation with copy-and-paste ideas taken from here and there. The Gospel is proclaimed by moving, by walking, by going.”
“May each of us,” said Pope Francis in conclusion, “in the circumstances of our daily lives, prove zealous in discerning when and how best to proclaim the risen Jesus and his promise of the fullness of life and peace.
(For more photos: General Audience – Activities of the Holy Father Pope Francis | Vatican.va)
PAPAL MOTU PROPRIO AMENDS PENAL LEGISLATION, JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF VATICAN CITY STATE
In yet another Motu proprio, Pope Francis once again is making changes to the penal legislation and judicial system of Vatican City State.
The juridical and very technical motu proprio was sent to journalists this morning. No summary yet on the English Vatican news site. The following are some of the opening paragraphs from the Italian that I translated:
In the light of the “needs that have emerged over the last few years in the Vatican’s sector of the administration of justice, Pope Francis has established some changes to the penal legislation and the judicial system of the Vatican City State, in force from tomorrow, April 13.
Defining them in the new motu Proprio, Francis wrote “Further adjustments” were also made necessary by the “multiplying” of issues that require “a prompt and just definition in the procedural field” and therefore with the “increasing workload” for the judiciary.” A reference is made to the various ongoing judicial proceedings, starting with the one for the management of the Holy See’s funds that began on July 27, 2021 and is still in full swing.
The changes introduced today by the Pope are aimed at simplifying the mechanisms and ensuring that “the functionality of the system” is maintained and, if possible, improved. Among the innovations, a more precise classification of the investigative and prosecutorial functions of the Office of the Promoter of Justice; the possibility of adding a substitute to the college of three magistrates – who must remain the only one – in the event one of the members has to leave; the possibility for the Pope to appoint an additional president of the Vatican Tribunal in the event that the one in office is in the year of his resignation; the repeal of the full-time presence of at least one judge in the judging panel. The latter was a novelty introduced in Law number CCCLI of March 16, 2020, with which the Pope promulgated a new judicial system.