04/18/2013, 00.00
VATICAN

Mission is key to the Church, which becomes sick if it remains closed on itself, pope says

In a letter to the bishops of Argentina currently meeting at their plenary assembly, Francis calls on them to "come out of yourself to go into the outskirts of existence and grow in parrhesia," adding that "recent commitments" have prevented the former archbishop of Buenos Aires from attending.

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".

 

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