Pope: Church without chains, welcoming and outgoing like Peter and Paul
Francis dedicated his homily for the solemnity of the two apostles to the synodal path. He also blessed the pallia of 44 archbishops appointed in the past year. At the Angelus he prayed for the victims of the war in Ukraine hit in the Kremenchuck shopping mall. Yesterday, the logo of the 2025 Jubilee was unveiled with “Pilgrims of hope” as its motto.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – At the Mass to celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis blessed the pallia of 44 metropolitan archbishops appointed this year during the Eucharistic celebration in St Peter’s Basilica.
During the service, the pontiff said that the Church must be “without chains and walls, in which everyone can feel welcomed and accompanied, one where listening, dialogue and participation are cultivated under the sole authority of the Holy Spirit.”
For the pope, Peter, who was “free and humble” and shook off the chains, should provide a perspective for the synodal path involving the Catholic Church across the world.
In his homily, Francis stressed two situations in the lives of Peter and Paul: Jailed by King Herod, Peter received the angel's exhortation to “get up quickly” (Acts 12:7), while Paul, summed up his whole life and apostolate, when he said, “I have fought the good fight” (2 Tim 4:7).
“Often we are like Peter in chains, imprisoned by our habits, fearful of change and bound to the chains of our routine.” For this reason, we must avoid sliding into “spiritual mediocrity,” which turns into “a Christianity that is clerical, formalistic, anemic and callous.”
Instead, “The Synod that we are now celebrating calls us to become a Church that gets up, one that is not turned in on itself, but capable of pressing forward, leaving behind its own prisons and setting out to meet the world,” one in which “listening, dialogue and participation are cultivated under the sole authority of the Holy Spirit.”
For the pope, the Church must be “free and humble,” one “that ‘gets up quickly’ and does not temporize or dilly-dally before the challenges of the present time. A Church that does not linger in its sacred precincts, but is driven by enthusiasm for the preaching of the Gospel and the desire to encounter and accept everyone.”
While sometimes she left the doors open, “sending people away,” as well as “condemning people,” now “it is the time to welcome” them.
Citing Paul who said that he fought the good fight, the pontiff explained that the Apostle asked Timothy and the brothers of the community to continue the work of proclaiming the Gospel, each doing his part. Hence, everyone should ask themselves what they can do for the Church.
For starter, “Not complaining about the Church, but committing myself to the Church. Participating with passion and humility,” Francis answered. “That is what a synodal Church means: everyone has a part to play, no individual in the place of others or above others.”
What can we do together, as Church, to make the world in which we live more humane, fairer, more supportive? “Surely, we must not retreat into our ecclesial circles and remain pinned to some of our fruitless debates. Let us take care not to fall into clericalism, for clericalism is a perversion.”
On the contrary, “we are called to be a Church that promotes the culture of care, tenderness and compassion towards the vulnerable. A Church that fights all forms of corruption and decay, including those of our cities and the places we frequent, so that in the life of every people the joy of the Gospel may shine forth. This is our ‘fight’, and this is our challenge.
Speaking to the 44 recently appointed metropolitan archbishops, he told them that they too are called to "get up quickly", stand on guard for their flock and fight “the good fight," never alone, but with all the holy faithful People of God.
Acknowledging the presence of a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, “sent by my dear brother Bartholomew,” the pope offered words of gratitude. “Thank you for walking together because only together can we be the seed of the Gospel and witnesses of fraternity.”
Looking out onto St Peter's Square during the Angelus prayer, Francis did not forget to remind everyone once again of the suffering caused by the war.
“Every day I carry in my heart the dear and tormented Ukraine, which continues to be scourged by barbaric attacks, like the one that struck the Kremenchuck shopping centre.
“I pray that this insane war may soon see an end, and I renew the invitation to persevere, without tiring, in prayer for peace: may the Lord open those paths of dialogue that men are unwilling or unable to find! And let us not neglect to come to the aid of the Ukrainian people, who are suffering so much.”
In front of groups of pilgrims who tried to shelter under umbrellas and hats from Rome’s scorching sun and intense heat, Francis mentioned the fires that recently struck the city and the drought that is causing serious damage to the economy and the environment.
Today's situation, he said, must make us reflect "on caring for Creation which is our responsibility, of each of us.” Indeed, “it is not a fad, but a responsibility. The future of the Earth is in our hands.”
The pontiff also mentioned L'Osservatore Romano’s new monthly supplement, L'Osservatore di strada, whose first issue was handed out today free of charge in St Peter’s Square by and for Rome’s poor and marginalised.
Yesterday, the Vatican also released the motto and logo of the 2025 Jubilee. The logo contains the words “Pilgrims of hope” (in Latin) along with the image of four stylised figures, indicating humanity coming from the four corners of the Earth, one embracing the other, a symbol of solidarity and brotherhood that must unite peoples. The lead figure holds the cross in a show of faith and hope in trying times.
Photo: Vatican Media