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Be Ashamed When Tempted To Use Church For Power Struggles, pope says

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Be Ashamed When Tempted To Use Church For Power Struggles, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Whenever one is tempted to use the
church for pursuing personal ambitions or to be arrogant, pray to feel ashamed,
Pope Francis said.

When the competitive bug strikes, reflect whether one can
“see my Lord on the cross” and still be capable of wanting “to
use the Lord for moving up” the ladder of success, he said Feb. 21 during
his early morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

“May the Lord give us the grace of shame, that holy
embarrassment — when we find ourselves in that situation, with that
temptation,” he said.

In his homily, the pope looked at the day’s Gospel
reading (Mk 9:30-37) in which the disciples were arguing among themselves on
the way to Capernaum about “who was the greatest.” When Jesus asked
them what they were arguing about, “they remained silent.”

“They became silent because they were embarrassed
about their discussion,” the pope said.

The disciples “were good people, they wanted to
follow the Lord, to serve the Lord. But they didn’t know that the path of
service to the Lord wasn’t so easy. It wasn’t like joining a group, a
charitable organization, to do good. No. It’s something else and they were
afraid of this,” he said.

Laypeople, priests, bishops — everyone is tempted, the
pope said. It’s part of being Christian, so whoever wants to serve the Lord had
better be prepared to be tempted, he added.

Some of the many ways people may be tempted is to use the
church to pursue their personal ambitions, like maneuvering, wrangling, pulling
strings or backbiting to lead a church group or a particular parish or diocese,
he said.

The desire to be a big shot pushes people along a path of
wordiness, which is why people must ask God for “the grace of feeling
ashamed when we find ourselves in these situations.”

In the same Gospel account, Jesus is aware of what the
disciples argued about and confronts them saying, “If anyone wishes to be
first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

May the Lord protect everyone from “ambition, the
worldliness of feeling greater than others,” the pope said, and may he
“give us the grace of a child’s simplicity” and see only the path of


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