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  • Father David M. Knight

Error By Exclusion

Thursday of week 7 in Ordinary Time, May 24, 2018

Pope Francis says there are “two false forms of holiness that can lead us astray” (Rejoice, 35). Both are

defined by what they exclude.

1. Religion without spirituality is Pelagianism: the error of those who “ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior… because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular [religious] life-style” (Rejoice, 49).

Some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting. The Gospel then tends to be reduced and constricted, deprived of its simplicity, allure and savor. This may well be a subtle form of Pelagianism, for it appears to subject the life of grace to certain human structures. It can affect groups, movements and communities, and it explains why so often they begin with an intense life in the Spirit, only to end up fossilized… or corrupt (Rejoice, 58).

2. Spirituality without religion is Gnosticism: “a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or set of ideas… meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in one’s own thoughts and feelings….. By disembodying the mystery, they prefer ‘a God without Christ, a Christ without the Church, a Church without her people’” (36, 37).

Francis prays, “May the Lord set the Church free from these new forms of Gnosticism and Pelagianism that weigh her down and block her progress along the path to holiness! (Rejoice, 62).

ACTION: Focus on living in a way that is both human and divine.

PRAYER: Lord, keep us whole!


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