Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Mission
is key to ministry. A Church that does not come out of itself, sooner or later,
becomes sick," Pope Francis said in a letter for the bishops of Argentina. The prelates
are currently meeting in plenary assembly in Pilar; under normal circumstances,
Cardinal Bergoglio would have been among them, but in his missive, Francis
apologised for his absence, because, as Vatican
Radio reports, "recent commitments" prevented him.
The pope reminded the bishops that
the final document of the Conference of Latin American Bishops (Aparecida,
2007) focus on mission, urging them to "come out of yourselves and go into the
outskirts of existence and grow in parrhesia."
"A Church that does not come out of
itself," he writes, "sooner or later, becomes sick from the stale air of closed
rooms." Although it is true, that, like anyone else, in coming out the Church might
get into accidents, "it is a thousand times better to have an injured Church
than a sick one."
For the Holy Father, the Church
typically suffers from being self-referential, inward looking and self-relying.
In his view, such "narcissism [. . .] leads to spiritual frivolity and affected
clericalism", which prevent people from experiencing "the sweet and comforting
joy of evangelisation."
In closing his letter, Francis dedicates
a special greeting to the people of Argentina as well as a brotherly embrace to the prelates of his
native land, calling on them to pray "so that I do not grow proud and that I
may always know how to listen to what God wants and not what I want".