Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

There has always been a significant difference between spiritual and ritualistic Catholics. The gap; however, is widening. In large part, due to the excellent shepherding example of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis continues to dispel the notion of the so-called ‘Ritualistic’ Catholic, in favor of the ‘Spiritual’ Catholic.

The difference?

A ritualistic Catholic may go to church each Sunday, perhaps even more. They may live a life dedicated to their faith, but it is one of periodic worship, rule following, and judgement. It is spent more on a life of words than a life of continual Christian actions.

It is conditional Catholicism.

A spiritual Catholic, on the other hand, continues the walk outside the four walls of Sunday or daily mass. They are Catholic in action and not just attendance. They are faithful to Catholicism and the doctrines, but they understand that Christianity is tolerance, understanding, kindness, and love. It is not judgement. They live their lives to make a difference, to help others and empathize with others. They do not lose sight of the fact that all hardships, their own and those endured by others are each individual’s path in God’s unique plan.

It is unconditional Catholicism.

Pope Francis may not use these exact monikers, but he repeatedly urges today’s Catholics to continue their spiritual evolution and treat all people as Jesus did. He fosters religion and not rules. He promotes understanding and not judgement. He urges faith and not false motives. He asks for Christian unity rather than divide.

He reminds all Catholics what being Catholic means.

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