Pope: Narrow Thinking Destroys Freedom of Conscience

Francis' Homily at Santa Marta Calls Faithful to Vigilance and Prayer

Rome, (Zenit.org) | 1140 hits

The “dictatorship of a narrow line of thought” kills “people’s freedom, their freedom of conscience." This was the central point of Pope Francis’ homily during today's morning Mass at the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican.


The Holy Father’s homily recalled the first reading of the day, explaining the end of Christ’s words to the Pharisees. Their mistake was detaching “the commandments from the heart of God", believing it was enough to keep the commandments. These commandments, said the Pope, “are not just a cold law,” but stem from a relationship of love, helping the faithful in their journey toward Christ. The Pharisees, he continued, do not understand “the path of hope”.

"This is the drama of the closed heart, the drama of the closed mind,” Pope Francis said, “and when the heart is closed, this heart closes the mind, and when the heart and mind are closed there is no place for God", but only a place for what we believe ought to be done.

"It is a closed way of thinking that is not open to dialogue,” the Pope continued, “to the possibility that there is something else, the possibility that God speaks to us, tells us about His journey, as he did to the prophets. These people did not listen to the prophets and did not listen to Jesus. It is something greater than a mere stubbornness. No, it is more: it is the idolatry of their own way of thinking. 'I think this, it has to be this way, and nothing more'. These people had a narrow line of thought and wanted to impose this way of thinking on the people of God, Jesus rebukes them for this: 'You burden the people with many commandments and you do not touch them with your finger'".

The theology of such people, the Pope continued, “becomes a slave to this pattern, this pattern of thought: a narrow line of thought".

"There is no possibility of dialogue, there is no possibility to open up to new things which God brings with the prophets. They killed the prophets, these people; they close the door to the promise of God. When this phenomenon of narrow thinking enters human history, how many misfortunes. We all saw in the last century, the dictatorships of narrow thought , which ended up killing a lot of people, but when they believed they were the overlords, no other form of though was allowed. This is the way they think”. 

"Even today,” he said, “there is the idolatry of a narrow line of thought".

"Today we have to think in this way and if you do not think in this way, you are not modern, you're not open or worse. Often rulers say : 'I have asked for aid, financial support for this' , ' But if you want this help, you have to think in this way and you have to pass this law, and this other law and this other law…' Even today there is a dictatorship of a narrow line of thought and this dictatorship is the same as these people: it takes up stones to stone the freedom of the people, the freedom of the people, their freedom of conscience, the relationship of the people with God. Today Jesus is Crucified once again”.

"Faced with this dictatorship,” said the Pope, the Lord’s exhortation “is always the same: be vigilant and pray.” He says not to be buy things that are not needed, but rather: “be humble and pray, that the Lord always gives us the freedom of an open heart, to receive his Word which is joy and promise and covenant! And with this covenant move forward!"

[Translation by Vatican Radio]