Pope Francis yesterday (Tuesday) unveils his mission statement and how intends to transform the church, according to him to make the papacy reflect better what Jesus intended and what the church needs today.
In the 85 paged address, which the Vatican Spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi has confirmed that the Pope personally wrote, the Pope hinted that some of the church’s historical customs might even be caste out if they no longer serve to communicate the faith ‘so as not to burden the lives of the faithful’ citing St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas.
Pope Francis emphasized on the expediency to reinvigorate the church’s evangelical zeal in a world marked by indifference, secularization and vast income inequalities.
In the document entitled, ‘The Joy of the Gospel’, Pope Francis while commenting on the modus operandi of the Roman Catholic Church he stated that the church should not operate rule that make her become a harsh judges to others in a bid to preserve and to secure itself.
In his words, “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security, I do not want a church concerned with being at the center and then ends up by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.” Said Pope Francis.
In addition, Pope Francis said, “More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us, ‘Give them something to eat.”
Speaking to the priests of the church, he reminded them that their greatest attention and care should be to the poor and tender since they are the ones at the receiving end of the ills of the society. Pope Francis in his address further chastised priests for their complacency, giving them a lesson on preparing homilies that don’t put the faithful to sleep. He reminded them that confession shouldn’t be “torture,” and told them to get out of their sacristies, get their shoes muddy, get involved in the lives of their faithful and not be defeatist “sourpusses.”
The Pope however maintained the church’s position against abortion, making clear that this doctrine is non-negotiable and is at the core of the church’s insistence on the dignity of every human being. While again ruling out women’s ordination, Pope Francis made a clarion call for enhanced participation of women in making decisions in the church and not think that because priests preside over mass, they are greater than others who make up the church.
In his words, “The church, as the agent of evangelization, is more than an organic hierarchical institution; she is first and foremost a people advancing on its pilgrim way towards God,” Pope Francis wrote.
The Pope in the same vein further advocated for decentralization of authority and functionality in the church.
He wrote, “Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the church’s life and her missionary outreach,” he added that he must rethink the papacy in terms of the way the primacy of the Pope is exercised to achieve the goals of spreading the faith, adding that his administration is open to suggestions on how to make that possible.
Article by Michael James