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Pope Francis (once again) slams ‘rigid’ Christians — and raises conservative suspicion

The Holy Father has circled back to one of his favorite themes over the past few months: the fight against “rigid” attitudes in the Church.

During an early-morning Mass at his private residence in the Vatican, Pope Francis recalled “many young people in the church today who have fallen into the temptation of rigidity. Some are honest, they are good and we must pray that the Lord help them grow along the path of meekness.”

The pope has discussed the idea of Catholics being stuck in a rigid mindset on a few occasions since October, most notably when wondering why some young people prefer the old school Latin Mass — even though they were never raised with it. “And I ask myself: Why so much rigidity? Dig, dig, this rigidity always hides something, insecurity or even something else. Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.”

For conservative Catholics, Francis’ comments on the pre-Vatican II liturgy were yet another example of a reformer pope who was quick to dismiss the traditional aspects of the faith in favor of a modern approach.

In reality, the pope’s words were less progressive and more pragmatic. At the heart of the issue, Francis seems to be arguing that life is far from black and white. With organized religion in general, there is the risk of falling into a pattern of inflexibility, of going through the motions without a deeper look at things. In reality, life is messy and the pontiff seemingly feels an urgent need to remind the faithful of that.