11/29/2013, 00.00
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Pope: 2015 will be dedicated to consecrated life, which "is prophecy"

Francis met with 120 superiors general. Christians are asked to be radical, but men and women religious are called to follow the Lord in a special way. The problem of exclusion remains a top priority. In addition to these challenges, the Church must meet cultural and educational challenges in schools and universities.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The year 2015 will be dedicated to consecrated life, which "is prophecy". Pope Francis made the announcement at an audience with 120 superiors generals attending the 82nd General Assembly of the Union of Superiors General that ended today in Rome. During the three-hour meeting, the Union said in a press release, Pope Francis gave a speech but also took part in a questions and answers session.

For the pope, a radical approach is required of all Christians, but men and women religious are called upon to follow the Lord in a special way, because they "can awaken the world. Consecrated life is prophecy. God asks us to fly the nest and be sent to the frontiers of the world, avoiding the temptation to 'domesticate' them. This is the most concrete way of imitating the Lord".

When asked about the state of vocations, the Holy Father emphasised that there are young Churches which are bearing new fruit. This naturally gives rise to a re-evaluation of the inculturation of charism, following the example of Matteo Ricci. Intercultural dialogue calls for people with various cultural backgrounds, expressing different ways of living charism, to join the governance of religious institutes.

Francis insisted upon the importance of education, which he presented as based on four fundamental types of training, namely spiritual, intellectual, communitarian and apostolic training.

At the same time, it is vital to avoid every form of hypocrisy and clericalism through frank and open dialogue on all aspects of life.

"Education," he noted, "needs craftsmanship, not police work. Its aim is to form religious persons with a tender, not an acid vinegar-like heart. We are all sinners, but we are not corrupt. Sinners are to be accepted, the corrupt are not".

When asked about brotherhood, the pope said that this has great power of attraction, and presupposes accepting differences and conflicts.

At time it is difficult to live as brothers, but without it no fruit can be borne. In any case, "we must never act like managers when faced with a brother's conflict: conflict instead must be caressed", he said.

Speaking about relations between religious and the Churches in which they operate, the pope said, "We bishops must understand that consecrated persons are not helpers, but rather charisms which enrich dioceses".

The last questions focused on the frontiers of the mission consecrated persons face. "They must be sought on the basis of the charisms", the pope noted.

Situations of exclusion are also a top priority as are the challenges represented by the cultural and educational mission in schools and universities.

For the Pope, education stands on three pillars, namely "transmitting knowledge, transmitting methods, transmitting values. By these means, faith is communicated. The educator must measure up to those he educates, and must give careful thought on how to proclaim Jesus Christ to a changing generation".

Finally, the Pope thanked the superiors general for "for your spirit of faith and your service. Thank you for your witness and also for the humiliations through which you have had to pass."

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