THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON POPE FRANCIS
APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION “EVANGELII GAUDIUM” - 2
November 30, 2013
From the crossroad of 2011 (on our 30th year), CFC-FFL has
moved boldly into new paths, in our desire to return to rapid
and massive evangelization, according to our authentic calling.
We have not just stood on the status quo of three decades.
We have boldly rethought long-standing traditions and ways
of doing things. We have desired just to focus on spreading
the gospel, especially to the poor and marginalized. We have
been bold, creative and radical in rethinking the methods
God has given us is the Live Christ, Share Christ (LCSC) Movement.
It is designed to mainstream Catholic lay evangelization,
and thereby to reach the millions of lapsed Catholics through
the parishes. It is our response to the New Evangelization.
the Lord’s business, but no longer business as usual.
Pope Francis: No more business as usual
By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
- Pope Francis on Tuesday called for big
changes in the Roman Catholic Church –
including at the very top – saying the church needs
to rethink rules and customs
that are no longer widely understood or effective for evangelizing.
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," the Pope said in a major new statement.
do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and
then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures,"
Pope's address, called an "apostolic exhortation,"
is part mission statement, part pep talk for the world's 1.5
billion Catholics. Francis' bold language and sweeping call
for change are likely to surprise even those who've grown
accustomed to his unconventional papacy.
everyone will like this document," said the Rev. James
Martin, a Jesuit priest and author in New York. "For
it poses a fierce challenge
to the status quo."
it's not just a verbal challenge, the Pope said on Tuesday.
want to emphasize that what I am trying to express here has
a programmatic significance and important consequences."
his election in March, Pope Francis, the first pontiff to
hail from Latin America, has made headlines by decrying the
iniquities of modern capitalism, embracing the poor and people
with disabilities and reaching out to gays and lesbians.
the same time, the 77-year-old pontiff has sought to to awaken
a spirit of joy and compassion in the church, scolding Catholic
"sourpusses" who hunt down rule-breakers and calling
out a "tomb psychology" that "slowly transforms
Christians into mummies in a museum."
evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come
back from a funeral!" the Pope said.
known in Latin as "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of
the Gospel), the 85-page statement released on Tuesday is
the first official document written entirely by Pope Francis.
(An earlier document was co-written by Francis and Pope Emeritus
Francis sprinkles the statement with citations of previous
popes and Catholic luminaries like St. Thomas Aquinas and
St. Augustine, the new pontiff makes a
bold call for the church to rethink even long-held traditions.
her ongoing discernment, the Church can also come to see that
certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the
Gospel, even some which have deep historical roots, are no
longer properly understood and appreciated," the Pope
of these customs may be beautiful, but they no longer serve
as means of communicating the Gospel. We should not be afraid
to re-examine them. At the same time, the Church has rules
or precepts which may have been quite effective in their time,
but no longer have the same usefulness for
directing and shaping people’s lives."
statements mark a sharp break from Benedict XVI, a more tradition-bound
pope who focused on cleaning up cobwebs of unorthodoxy in
contrast, in "Evangelii" Francis repeats his calls
for Catholics to stop "obsessing" about culture
war issues and to focus more
on spreading the Gospel, especially to the poor and marginalized.
outside world, particularly its economic inequalities, didn't
escape Francis' notice either.
a section of "Evangelii" entitled "some challenges
to today's world," he sharply criticized what he called
an "idolatry of money" and "the inequality
that spawns violence."
Pope also blasted "trickle-down economics," saying
the theory "expresses a crude and naïve trust in
the goodness of those wielding economic power."
Francis said, “the excluded
are still waiting.”
the bulk of Francis' statement addresses the church, which,
he said, should not be afraid to "get its shoes soiled
by the mud of the street."
Pope also hinted that he wants to see an end to the so-called
"wafer wars," in which Catholic politicians who
support abortion rights are denied Holy Communion. His comments
could also be taken as another sign that he plans to reform
church rules that prevent divorced Catholics from receiving
can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone
can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the
sacraments be closed for simply any reason," Francis
Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life,
is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and
nourishment for the weak."
so, Francis reiterated the church's stand against abortion,
defending it against critics who call such arguments "ideological,
obscurantist and conservative."
because this involves the internal consistency of our message
about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be
expected to change her position on this question," Francis
Pope also reiterated previous rejections on ordaining women,
saying the topic is "not open for discussion."
But that doesn't mean the church values men more than women,
need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive
female presence in the Church," the Pope said.
also said he expects other parts of the church to change,
and called on Catholics to be
unafraid of trying new things.
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."
didn't mention specific reforms, but he suggested that it
could include changes at the very top of the church.
I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too
must think about a conversion of the papacy," he said.
church's centralization, where all roads lead to Rome, and
the "we've always done it this way" type of thinking
have hindered Catholics' ability to minister to local people
in far-flung places, Francis suggested.
invite everyone to be bold and
creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures,
style and methods of evangelization in their
respective communities," the Pope said.
the Jesuit priest and author, said he could not recall ever
"reading a papal document that was so thought-provoking,
surprising and invigorating."
document’s main message is that Catholics
should be unafraid of new ways of proclaiming the Gospel and
new ways of thinking about the church."
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