Monday, May 20, 2013
How to live as "a poor Church, for the poor" | Pope Francis
NOTE: On Saturday, May 18, Pope Francis met with members of ecclesial movements of new lay communities and associations to reflect on the theme “I Believe! Increase our Faith!”. During one such gathering in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father answered some questions asked by representatives of the movements.
Q: How to live as “a poor Church, for the poor”.
A: “First of all, the main contribution we can make is to live the Gospel. The Church is not a political movement or a well-organized structure: That is not her. … The Church is the 'salt of the earth, the light of the world’. She is called to make the leaven of the Kingdom of God present in society and do it first by witness, her witness of fraternal love, solidarity … When you hear some say that solidarity is not a value, that it's a 'basic attitude' that needs to disappear ... this is wrong! … Moments of crisis, such as the one we are experiencing ... are not only an economic crisis, not a cultural crisis. It is a crisis of humanity: it is humanity that is in crisis. And what can be destroyed is mankind! But mankind is the image of God!”
“In this time of crisis we can't just worry about ourselves, can't get wrapped up in loneliness or discouragement … Please do not get locked away in yourselves! That is a danger: locking ourselves away inside our parish, among our friends, in our movement, with people who think the same way we do ... But you know what is happening? When the Church becomes closed up in itself it gets sick. ,,, The Church must go out from herself. Where? Towards the boundaries of existence, whatever those might be, but get out. Faith is an encounter with Jesus and we must do the same as Jesus, meet others. .… We have to bring about encounter. We have to make our faith a 'culture of encounter' and of friendship, a culture wherein we find brothers and sisters, where we can talk even with those who do not think like us, even with those with which have a different faith … Everyone has something in common with us: they are made in the image of God! … We must go out to meet with everyone without negotiating about the faith we belong to.”
“And another important point: we must go out to meet the poor. … Today, imagine, all the children who don't have something to eat is not news. This is serious. We cannot stay calm! We cannot become starch-pressed Christians, those Christians who are too highly educated, who speak of theological issues over tea, calmly. No! We must become courageous Christians and go out in search of those who are the flesh of Christ. … Poverty, for us Christians, is not a sociological or philosophical or cultural category. No. It is a theological category. I would say, perhaps, the first category, because God, the Son of God, humbled himself, became poor to walk along the road with us. This is our poverty: the poverty of the flesh of Christ; the poverty that has brought us the Son of God with his Incarnation.”