Cardinal Bergoglio: End sacramental blackmail and neo-clericalism

Cardinal Bergoglio angered at priests refusal to baptise children born out of wedlock

The Bishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, has used strong language to criticise priests who refuse to baptise children born to single mothers.

Almost apologising for the actions of some priests, Bergoglio recalled the story of a young unmarried mother who had the courage to bring her child into the world and who then “found herself on a pilgrimage, going from parish to parish, trying to find someone who would baptise her child.”

Vatican Insider reports that in his homily at the end of a Buenos Aires convention on urban pastoral care, Bergoglio called for an end to “sacramental blackmail” saying that “hijacking” of the sacraments is an expression of rigorous and hypocritical neo-clericalism.

“Sacraments are not a way for priests to affirm their own supremacy”, said the Cardinal.

Rubbing the fragility and wounds of the faithful in their faces, or dampening the hopes and expectations of those who supposedly do not fulfil the ‘requirements’ in terms of doctrinal preparation, or moral status, is a pastorally misleading model which rejects the dynamics of Christ’s incarnation.

“Jesus did not preach his own politics: he accompanied others”, said Bergoglio.

Priests who deny the sacraments to people because of their life circumstances are the “hypocrites of today”, and the “followers of the Pharisees”, the ones Jesus turned his back on.

Emphasising that the Church is not an NGO or a proselyte of some multinational company”, Bergoglio said denying baptism to children born out of wedlock is a form of “pharisaic Gnosticism” that “drives people away from salvation”.


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