At the close of the 77th Synod of the Italian Bishops Conference, Pope Francis urged the Italian Church to continue to move forward together on the same path, to promote a “joint responsibility” of lay people and clergy, thus clearing the Church of “the clergy-centered disease.
(Vatican News Network)Pope Francis addressed the bishops present at the close of the 77th Congress of the Italian Bishops Conference on May 25, encouraging them to continue their process of fellowship “with courage and determination”. Above all “valuing the potential of its parishes and Christian communities”.
The Pope pointed out that the current path of fellowship is a process of “a unique spiritual experience of conversion and renewal”, which can make the Church community “more missionary and better prepared to evangelize the world today”. He then made four proposals to the bishops present in response to some of the questions posed by the Permanent Committee of the Italian Bishops’ Conference concerning the pastoral priorities of the Italian Church, how to transcend opposition and concerns, and the participation of the clergy and the laity .
Continue to move forward under the guidance of the Holy Spirit
The Pope’s first proposal is to “continue to walk under the guidance of the Holy Spirit”, always at the service of the Gospel, “rooted in the core elements”, thus cultivating “freedom and creativity” and becoming a witness to the Gospel of God’s love. “A Church weighed down by institutions, bureaucracy and formalism will strive to cross history with the Holy Spirit and meet the men and women of our time,” he said.
The Church’s Shared Responsibility
The Pope’s second proposal, then, is to unite the Church, that is, to strengthen the “sense of common responsibility of the Church” by involving all baptized people in the life and mission of the Church, as requested by the Second Vatican Council. “We need to expand the space of the Christian community so that all feel at home. The structure and pastoral approach of the Christian community is not to create small groups, but to enable all to experience the joy of shared responsibility,” the Pope said. .”
The Pope emphasized that the mission of the Church always requires cooperation with others. In this respect, for bishops, their mission is inseparable from priests and deacons. The principle of cooperation with others also applies to priests, deacons, and the entire baptized community. “In it, everyone walks with other brothers and sisters in the light of the Holy Spirit in a evangelical school”.
an open church
The third point emphasized by the Pope is that the Church should be open to all. He said the “clergy-centred phenomenon” was a sickly sickness, and that it was bad for bishops and clergy, and it was even worse for religious people. “The spirit of fellowship urges us to be a Church that walks with joy, humility and creativity in our time, aware that we are all vulnerable and need each other,” the pope said.
An “Agitated” Church
The final advice given by the Pope is to make the Church an “anxious” Church. “We are called to take on the urgency of history, to accept its questioning, to bring it all to the presence of God, to immerse it in the Paschal mystery of Christ,” he said.
Finally, concluding his remarks, the Pope once again encouraged the Italian Church to continue this journey together, believing that the Holy Spirit is “the protagonist of the same journey”. He concluded: “Let us entrust ourselves to the Holy Spirit. He is harmony, he makes all things different, but he can create harmony, which is completely different from the order we ourselves can create.”
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