“It (the church) is Vatican-centric,” he said. “It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests. This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us. I do not share this view and I’ll do everything I can to change it.”
In context, he’s saying the upper church management and the clergy are too worried about the hierarchy of the church and not worried enough about those in the world. (You can read the entire article here.) He’s saying the church places more emphasis and importance on the institution than those the institution is supposed to help save from the pits of hell (via Jesus, I believe). I agree with him on this point. (Like I’m sure he cares.) I tend to irritate those who tow the company line in the ‘upper management’ of the church as I did in this blog from January. But I’m in good company. Jesus also irritated the religious people.
We religious people need to be irritated now more than ever because the church is messed up. The church’s priorities are messed up and what the church cares most about is messed up. As an example, I have a friend who was recently told that people have left the church he pastors because they felt he was reaching out too much to the homeless. Seriously? When Jesus says “whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me”, I’m pretty sure that the homeless would be at the top of the “the least of these” list. The least of these is usually not the privileged. It would be great if we didn’t have to choose, but sometimes we do. And if we do have to choose between being loved by the denominational leaders, being loved by the lifelong church members, or being loved by the homeless, I’m pretty sure the true Jesus followers will be loved by the homeless (and widows and orphans and the lost). And as the Pope in inferring and in my friend’s case: even if it makes the church angry.