Saturday, March 21, 2015

Grace-filled Orthopraxy

When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax-collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ Mark 2:16

You know the difference between orthodoxy and orthopraxy, right? Of course, we all do! Orthodoxy is essentially the right talk of faith and orthopraxy is the right walk of faith. Both are important, although the gap between the two is often scandalously wide, as reader Frank noted earlier this week.

Pope Francis fascinates me because so far he has changed very little, if anything, in terms of the orthodoxy of the Roman Catholic church. This had led to criticism of Francis by some and disappointment on the part of others. Yet his orthopraxy has sent seismic tremors throughout the church and while his actions have unsettled some who are self-appointed guardians of church doctrine he resolutely does what God calls him to do. He acts suspiciously like Jesus, literally embracing the afflicted and washing the feet of outcasts.

Today Francis will visit a prison in Naples where he will have lunch with some ninety inmates. Amongst the group will be ten from a section reserved for gay and transgendered prisoners, and those infected with the virus that causes AIDS. The visit wasn't supposed to include a meal but the pope asked that eating together be part of the occasion.

Francis has not made any ground-breaking official statements about homosexuality, which the Roman Catholic church has regarded as a sin. But through his actions he keeps challenging assumptions about who is in and who is outside God's grace. I'm glad he does.

Any thoughts about all this?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I think Pope Francis is a wonderful example of what Christ's followers ought to be - he may not last long as the Pope, however, because of this...