What Does the Gospel Smell Like? (Some thoughts on Pope Francis)…

The Pope is sure getting a lot of press today! He’s all over Twitter (even trending!) and Facebook. This NYT article is getting a lot of attention in particular.  The article is well worth the five minutes to read. The gist is this: The church has its priorities screwed up. In this case, of course, Pope Francis is talking about the church he leads, the Roman Catholic church, but when I read this “We have to find a new balance…otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel,” tears welled up in my eyes.  He’s absolutely right.

The freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. What does the gospel smell like? To me, the gospel smells like justice and freedom, new life and hope. But with our emphasis on judgment and infighting, worship wars and scandal, the church often makes the gospel smell like hatred and division. The institutional church is deeply flawed, everyone knows it. It’s refreshing that Pope Francis is boldly (and in my opinion prophetically) willing to challenge the church to ask itself whether or not the gospel we proclaim is sweet and fragrant or if it, well… stinks.*

* Yep, cheap pun. Roll with it.

For further reading:

A Big Open Heart to God, America Magazine 

Five of the Biggest Revelations from the Pope’s Stunning New Interview, Relevant Magazine 

Pope Bluntly Faults the Church’s Focus on Gays and Abortion, New York Times