Francis calls for a change mentality in the Church, easier homilies and flexible times


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A child at mass

Francis addresses participants of the International Pastoral Congress on the World’s Big Cities: “Go out and facilitate”, don’t be afraid of multicultural contexts or of proclaiming Jesus

Domenico Agasso jr Taken from Vatican Insider

Francis was honest from the start: “I don’t want to give a formal speech, partly because I want to be spontaneous and partly because I haven’t had time to prepare any speeches other than those for Europe and Turkey.” The Pope said this during this morning’s audience with cardinals and bishops who attended the International Pastoral Congress on the World’s Big Cities held in Barcelona from 24 to 26 November. “I want to speak to you from my own personal experience.”


Francis focused on the challenges big cities present to individuals, the world as a whole and therefore the Church as well. Calling it a real “ecclesial transformation”, a change in mentality “from receiving to going out, from waiting for people to come to us, to going out and searching for them.” Francis spoke again of the mission of the Church which must always “go out”. He suggested an ecclesial transformation, with a missionary spirit. He also encouraged the Church to adapt to the city’s times. This means “rendering the Sacrament of Baptism accessible; making sure churches are open and administrative offices have opening hours that suit the needs of people who go to work;” and ensuring “that the Catechesis be suitable in content and accessibility to the time limitations of people who live in big cities.”


“It’s all about going out and meeting God who lives in cities with the poor,” Francis said. “Meeting, listening to, blessing, walking with the people; facilitating the encounter with the Lord are his rule of thumb. 


“We find it easier to help the faith grow than to help give birth to it. I think we need to continue looking into these changes which are necessary in our various catecheses. It is essentially pedagogical methods that need to change so that contents can be understood more easily. At the same time though, we need to learn to re-awaken our audience’s curiosity and interest in Jesus Christ, so that we can then invite them to follow Him.” In a spontaneous comment, he said that there is in fact a patron saint of curiosity: St. Zacchaeus: “We pray to St. Zacchaeus that he may help us … We must learn to inspire faith,” Francis added.


“In Strasbourg I spoke to a multi-cultural Europe. But even the big cities are multicultural. And we have to talk to this reality, without fear. It is time to acquire a pastoral dialogue without relativism, which does not negotiate our Christian identity, but one which reaches the heart of others, other than us, and there sow the Gospel. We need a contemplative attitude, that without rejecting the contribution of the various sciences to learn about the urban phenomenon – these contributions are important – seek to discover the foundation of cultures, that in their deepest core are always open towards and thirsty for God.” “And so often I think of the creativity and the courage Paul showed in his address to the Athenians: he showed creativity … think of the Jewish Christian mentality, and yet he managed to get inside their culture and it was a success, he was trying to make himself understood by them, as a Jewish Christian.”


The Pope also urged bishops and cardinals not to let fear paralyze or confuse them. “We must have the courage to evangelize at a pastoral level with audacity and fearlessness.” “By reflecting with you, I wish to help examine certain fears we all often feel one way or another, fears which confuse and paralyze us.”


“We must not be disoriented” – he said – “because that would lead us to take the wrong road” as well as confuse the people of God that is looking for Life, Truth and the Sense. Our pastoral practice dates back centuries, way back to when the Church was the only cultural point of reference. Like the true teacher that she is, the Church felt it was her responsibility to outline and lay down, not only cultural models but also values. Beyond that, she wished to trace a personal and collective consciousness, in other words stories people could hinge on in order to find the ultimate meanings and answers to their questions in life.”


“We are no longer in that era. We are not in Christianity. Today we are not the only ones that produce culture, we are not the first nor the most listened to”. Thus, he said, we need a change in pastoral mentality. But he pointed out that we do not need “relativistic pastoral care” which would leave man alone and “emancipated from God’s hands: “This would not be pastoral care!” He said it would leave man in danger of treading a road of solitude and death.

“We must have the courage to be daring and fearless in our pastoral care,” Francis said “because this is what the men, women, families and groups who inhabit the city expect from us, and need for their lives, the good news of  Jesus and His Gospel. So often  I hear of people who feel ashamed to expose themselves. We must work to have no shame or reluctance in announcing Jesus Christ.”


About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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