Pope Francis on Wednesday lambasted the presence of toxic masculinity and authoritarian culture within the Church and the commodification of sacramental services.
“When ministers go too far in their service and mistreat the people of God, they disfigure the face of the Church with macho and dictatorial attitudes,” the pontiff said.
The pope made the statement in an intervention delivered at the beginning of the 18th General Congregation of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
“It is painful to find in some parish offices the ‘price list’ of sacramental services in the manner of a supermarket,” he said.
He decried pastoral workers who embraced this approach, turning the Church into a marketplace of salvation and its clergy into mere employees.
Pope Francis condemned clericalism as a “scourge” and “a form of worldliness” that tarnishes the Church’s image.
“This is the great defeat to which clericalism leads us. And this is very sad and scandalous,” he said, adding that clericalism “enslaves God’s holy and faithful people”.
Pope Francis said that faith is often transmitted through a feminine dialect, symbolizing the maternal role of the Church. He said women hold a significant place in the life of the Church.
“The woman of God’s holy and faithful people is a reflection of the Church. The Church is feminine, she is a wife, she is a mother,” said Pope Francis.
The pontiff underscored the role of the faithful people in shaping the Church’s identity. He said he views the Church as a “simple and humble people” who walk in the presence of the Lord.
“This is the religious meaning of our faithful people. And I say faithful people so as not to fall into the many ideological approaches and schemes with which the reality of the people of God is reduced,” he said.