VATICAN CITY, January 2, 2019 – Pope Francis addressed a crowd of faithful with some jarring remarks during his first Wednesday Audience of 2019. Speaking in the Paul VI Audience Hall, this morning, the pope focused on two reoccurring themes of his pontificate: hypocritical Christians and the “revolutionary” nature of the Gospel.
“How many times do we see the scandal of those people who go to church and stay there all day or go every day and then live hating others or talking badly about people? This is a scandal – it is better not to go to church: better to live as an atheist,” the pope admonished.
Reading from his prepared statements, the pope continued, “The Christian is not one who commits himself to be better than others: he knows that he is a sinner like everyone else.”
According to the Italian media outlet La Repubblica, reporting from the audience hall, the pope continued to read from his prepared texts, “where there is Gospel, there is revolution: the Gospel does not leave us quiet, it pushes us: it is revolutionary.” Pointing to the Our Father, he would conclude that St Matthew placed Jesus’ prayer “at the center of the mountain’s discourse[.] … Blessed are the poor, the meek, the merciful, the humble people of heart: It is the revolution of the Gospel.”
The Roman pontiff’s use of the term “revolution” harkens to a recent LifeSite exclusive with Chilean author José Antonio Ureta on his book, Pope Francis’s Paradigm Shift: Continuity or Rupture in the Mission of the Church? In his full interview (found here), Mr. Ureta would explain the concerning trend of some in the Vatican – to include Pope Francis – to label attempts at change in the Church as “revolutions” or “paradigm shifts.” Such terms have found their place in the theological narratives of Pope Francis and his close advisers.
To note, Pope Francis’s prepared statements, today, are the first since news shook the international press of the joint resignation of Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, and his deputy, Paloma García Ovejero, over the New Year.