Pope Francis: “We Need a Church Capable of Warming Hearts”

This is simply beautiful: 

Francis was addressing the Brazilian Church but today’s lunch with the region’s cardinals and bishops in Rio’s Archbishopric was much more than this. The Pope laid out a plan for his pontificate. He presented the image of a Church which walks beside its faithful in order to be truly missionary and “is able to make sense of the “night” contained in the flight of so many of our brothers and sisters from Jerusalem.” In order to do this, the Church must stop being “too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas, perhaps the world seems to have made the Church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions.” It needs to learn to be simple again, warm people’s hearts and “rediscover the maternal womb of mercy.”

The Pope’s speech to Brazilian bishops is the most carefully thought out one he has given so far on this visit to Brazil. It marks yet another step forward in the path taken by this pontificate and is the most thorough expression of the Pope’s thoughts yet. …

…Francis said “perhaps we have reduced our way of speaking about mystery to rational explanations; but for ordinary people the mystery enters through the heart.” The Church needs to make room for “God’s mystery” so “that it can entice people, attract them.”  …

…Another lesson the Church must never forget, is that “it cannot leave simplicity behind; otherwise she forgets how to speak the language of Mystery … At times we lose people because they don’t understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people. Without the grammar of simplicity, the Church loses the very conditions which make it possible “to fish” for God in the deep waters of his Mystery.”

Francis addressed the following question to all those present: “are we still a Church capable of warming hearts?” People in today’s world feel a need for speed and yet “at the same time we see a desperate need for calmness, I would even say slowness.” What we need, the Pope said, is not a Church that is “caught up in the frantic pursuit of efficiency” but a Church that is “able to move slowly” and “ take the time to listen, to have the patience to mend and reassemble.” “We need a Church capable of restoring citizenship to her many children who are journeying, as it were, in an exodus.”

The Pope reiterated the importance of “reaffirm[ing] the family, which remains the essential cell of society and the Church; young people, who are the face of the Church’s future; women, who play a fundamental role in passing on the faith. Let us not reduce the involvement of women in the Church, but instead promote their active role in the ecclesial community” because “losing women, the Church risks becoming sterile.”

Read it all. 

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