» 06/08/2014, 00.00
Pope: Pentecost gave birth to a Church that “surprises and unsettles”
At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis says a Church without surprises is a “weak, sick, Church that needs to be hospitalized and in the intensive care unit”. "The Church of Pentecost is a Church that can never settle with being innocuous and decorative ... Even if this message brings us problems and often leads to martyrdom." "Thanks” for the prayers ahead of the invocation for peace to be held later this evening at the Vatican, together with the Patriarch of Constantinople, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - At Pentecost, with "the outpouring of the
Holy Spirit on the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room" a Church that "surprises
and unsettles" was born; a Church which "no one expected to hear
anymore of" and that "announces a new message"; a Church that is
not a paralyzed by "fear" that "will not settle with being merely innocuous
or decorative"; a Church "that does not hesitate to come out, meet the
people, to proclaim the message that it has been entrusted." "A
Church that does not have the ability to surprise, is a weak, sick Church, that
needs to be hospitalized in an intensive care unit". These are some features of
the Church traced by Pope Francis today before praying the Regina Caeli.
Speaking of today's feast, Pentecost, to pilgrims gathered in St Peter's
Square, he explained Pentecost's element of "surprise": "No one
expected anything from the disciples: after Jesus' death it was an
insignificant, defeated group, orphaned of their Master. Instead there is an
unexpected event that arouses wonder: people were unsettled because each heard
the disciples speak in their own language, telling the mighty works of God (cf.
Acts 2,6-7.11.) The Church that was born in Pentecost is a community that
inspires awe because, with the strength that comes from God, it announces a new
message - the Resurrection of Christ - with a new language - universal love. The
disciples are clothed with power from on high and speak with courage and
frankness, with the freedom of the Holy Spirit".
"This - he added - is how the Church is called to always be: capable
of surprising everyone by announcing
that Jesus Christ has conquered death, that God's arms are always open, that His
patience is always there waiting for us, to heal and forgive . It was precisely
for this mission that the Risen Jesus gave His Spirit to the Church. "
And moving from his texted script he added a phrase greeted by much applause:
"But be careful: if the Church is alive, it is always surprising. A Church
that does not have the ability to surprise, is a weak, sick Church, that must
be hospitalized in intensive care".
Explaining how the Church should "unsettle" he said, "Some in Jerusalem,
would have preferred the disciples of Jesus, paralyzed by fear, to remain
locked in the house so as not to create confusion." "Even today - he
added - many would like this from Christians."
"Instead - he continued - the Risen Lord leads them into the
world:" As the Father has sent me, so I send you "(Jn 20:21). The
Church of Pentecost is a Church that will not settle for being reduced to an
innocuous, decorative thing. It is a Church
that does not hesitate to come out, meet the people, to proclaim the message
that it has been entrusted, even if that message unsettles and worries
consciences. Even if that message brings us problems and often leads to
"The Church is born one and universal, with a distinct, but open
identity, a Church that embraces the world but not capture it, like as the
colonnade of this square, two arms open to receive, but which do not close in
on themselves to keep [people] in". And he stressed: "We Christians
are free and the Church wants us free."
The Pope then invoked the Virgin Mary, "who the morning of Pentecost was
in the Upper Room with the disciples. The power of the Holy Spirit really
accomplished "great things" in her(Lk 1:49). Mother of the Redeemer and Mother
of the Church, through her intercession May she obtain for us a renewed
outpouring of the Spirit of God, on the Church and the world".
After the Marian prayer of the Easter season - tomorrow we return to the Angelus
- Francis recalled that this evening at 7pm, the presidents of Israel and
Palestine will join him and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople,
"my brother Bartholomew," " to ask God for the gift of peace in
the Holy Land, the Middle East and throughout the world. " While making the
announcement, some young people in the square waved dozens of Palestinian
"I want to thank - said the Pope - all those who, personally and in the
community, who have prayed and are praying for this meeting, and who will be
joined spiritually to our supplication. Thank you".
Pope: There is no Pentecost without the Virgin Mary. Prayer for China
At the Regina Caeli, Pope Benedict XVI urged Christians around the world (including Chinese Christians) to celebrate World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. The memory of Fatima and all Marian shrines: "wherever Christians gather in prayer with Mary, the Lord gives us his Spirit." The councils - especially the Vatican - and the meeting of international movements with John Paul II (1998) a "special outpouring of the Spirit."
From the land of St Benedict my thoughts go to the people of China and it’s Catholics, says Pope
Marking the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China and Our Lady of Sheshan (Shanghai). Saint Benedict, witness of peace, gift of God and duty of all.
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On the Solemnity of Jesus’ Ascension to heaven, Francis stressed the importance of the mission entrusted to his disciples and the whole Church. We “should leave our churches every Sunday to go into homes, offices, schools, meeting places, hospitals, prisons, seniors’ centres, crowded immigrant gatherings, city suburbs [. . .]”.
Pope: Pentecost, the Church of multiple languages and cultures, sacrament of peace
Benedict XVI emphasises catholicity and universality as characteristics of the Church born from the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Its unity is not that of a federation. The pontiff recalls his message to the UN. The Church works for peace and reconciliation among peoples, with commitments "at the highest levels" and with daily life among the peoples. An appeal for Lebanon.
The Holy Spirit makes us witnesses of hope and peace, says Pope
Church movements are an important instrument for the New Evangelization
Card. Tong’s article on China-Holy See dialogue, arouses joy and dismay
The Hong Kong bishop’s optimism over a change in the method of appointing bishops and the function of the Patriotic Association. But it is unclear whether it is real change or just nominal, in words. Underground bishops are patriotic and love their country, but the Party is suspicious of them. Freedom in episcopal appointments is “essential", but the bishops are not free to exercise their ministry. Patriotic bishops controlled in their visits with members of the universal Church. The "bugs" (hidden microphones) in a bishop’s office.
Card. Tong: The future of Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view
Card. John Tong
The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."
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