Saturday, June 22, 2013
POPE FRANCIS IS CONSISTENT IN HIS MESSAGE SINCE BECOMING POPE AND AFTERWARD
Recalling and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the election of Pope Paul Vi, Pope Francis focused on Pope Paul VI’s love of the Church and said his predecessor had a “clear vision that the Church is a Mother who carries Christ and leads to Christ.”
Pope Francis quoted Pope Paul's Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi:
“After the Council and thanks to the Council, which was a time given her by God, at this turning-point of history, does the Church or does she not find herself better equipped to proclaim the Gospel and to put it into people's hearts with conviction, freedom of spirit and effectiveness?... Is she firmly established in the midst of the world and yet free and independent enough to call for the world's attention? Does she testify to solidarity with people and at the same time to the divine Absolute? Is she more ardent in contemplation and adoration and more zealous in missionary, charitable and liberating action? Is she ever more committed to the effort to search for the restoration of the complete unity of Christians, a unity that makes more effective the common witness?”
Pope Francis said these questions are also the ones which confront today’s Church.
“All of us, we are all responsible for the answers; and we should ask ourselves: Are we really a Church united to Christ, prepared to go out and announce Him to everyone, even, and especially, in what I call the ‘existential suburbs,’ or do we close in on ourselves, in our groups?” Pope Francis asked.
MY COMMENT: Are we closed in on ourselves? Pope Francis is indeed in continuity with Pope Benedict who often referred to the self-referential Church, the narcissistic Church as those groups (parishes?) who worship God in a purely horizontal way, forgetting the vertical dimension that leads us out of ourselves toward God and our neighbors outside of worship, to the periphery of salvation history in geography.