Pope Francis: “Are we ‘sacristy Christians,’ Christians only by word but that live like pagans?”

“The Church is Apostolic because she is sent to take the Gospel to the whole world. The same mission that Jesus entrusted to the Apostles continues in the journey of history: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). This is what Jesus told us to do! I insist on this aspect of missionary activity, because Christ invites all to “go” and meet others, he sends us, he asks us to move to take the joy of the Gospel! Once again we ask ourselves: are we missionaries with our word and above all with our Christian life, with our witness? Or are we Christians that are closed in our hearts and in our churches, ‘sacristy christians’? Christians only by word but that live like pagans? We should ask ourselves these questions, which are not a rebuke. I too tell myself the same: how am I a Christian, with a true witness?

The Church has her roots  in the teaching of the Apostles, authentic witnesses of Christ, but she always looks to the future, she has the firm awareness of being sent – sent by Jesus – of being missionary, carrying the name of Jesus with prayer, the announcement and the witness. A Church that is shut-in on herself and in the past, a Church that looks only at the small rules of habit, of attitude, is a Church that betrays her own identity; a closed Church betrays its own identity! Now then, let us rediscover today all the beauty and the responsibility of being an Apostolic Church! And remember: [We are an] apostolic Church because we pray – our first task – and because we announce the Gospel with our life and with our words.”

—Pope Francis, in his audience today

Read the full text. 

UPDATE: It’s worth noting that the Holy Father also mentioned, fleetingly, deacons:

An apostle is a person who is sent, he is sent forth to do something and the Apostles were chosen, called and sent by Jesus, to continue his work, that is, to pray – it is the first job of an apostle – and second, to announce the Gospel. This is important, because when we think of the Apostles we may think that they are only sent to announce the Gospel, to do so many works. But in the first moments of the Church there was a problem because the Apostles had so much to do so they formed deacons, so that there would be more time for the Apostles to pray and announce the Word of God. When we think of the successors of the Apostles, the Bishops, including the Pope because he is also a Bishop, we should ask ourselves if this successor of the Apostles first prays and then announces the Gospel: this is being an Apostles and for this the Church is apostolic. All of us, if we want to be apostles as I will explain now, we must ask ourselves: do I pray for the salvation of the world? Do I announce the Gospel? This is the apostolic Church! It is an associative bond we have with the Apostles.


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