21 September 2020, The Tablet

Pope Francis warns against 'sick', closed-in Church

Pope Francis warns against 'sick', closed-in Church

Religious sisters at St Peter's, out listening to Pope Francis as he warned yesterday against a closed-in Church.
Evandro Inetti/Zuma Press/PA Images

Pope Francis has warned that a Church that functions like a closed system is a sick Church subject to evil and disease.

The Pope said in his Angelus message yesterday that it was better for the Church to be “outgoing” like God, and offer salvation to all.

He was speaking to the Gospel passage of the day, the parable of the workers called to the day by the owner of the vineyard.

The owner of a vineyard goes out into the square five times looking for workers. 

“God acts like this today too: he continues to call anyone, at any time, to invite them to work in his kingdom,” said Pope Francis. “This is the style of God, which we in turn are called to accept and imitate. He is not locked up in his world, but ‘goes out’: God is always going out, looking for us. He is not locked up. God goes out. He continually goes out in search of people, because he wants no one to be excluded from his plan of love.”

Likewise, Pope Francis said, Catholic Church communities are also called to leave the various types of boundaries that may exist, to offer everyone the word of salvation that Jesus came to bring. 

“It is a question of opening up to horizons of life that offer hope to those who are stationed in the existential peripheries and have not yet experienced, or have lost, the strength and light of the encounter with Christ. 

“The Church must be like God: always outgoing; and when the Church is not going out, she falls ill with so many evils that we have in the Church. And why these diseases in the Church? Because it is not out.”

The Pope conceded: “It is true that when one goes out there is the danger of an accident. But a damaged Church is better, to go out, to proclaim the Gospel, than a Church sick from closure. God always goes out, because he is Father, because he loves. The Church must do the same: always outgoing.”

After the Angelus, Pope Francis referred to the International Eucharistic Congress, which should have taken place in Budapest this month. The Congress will now take place next year, from 5 to 12 September, again in Budapest. “Let us continue, spiritually united, the journey of preparation, finding in the Eucharist the source of the life and mission of the Church,” said Pope Francis.

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