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Pope: Homilies during the weekdays of Easter 2013

Popes: Homilies during the Easter 2013

Regina Coeli: Easter 2013

Pope: Homily for inaugural Mass of Petrine Ministry

Pope Francis' Angelus

Pope Francis to Journalists .. . . . . . . . . .

HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER POPE FRANCIS Sistine Chapel Thursday, 14 March 2013. . . ..

Pope Francis pays homage to Our Lady





































Meeting with journalists during the flight to Brazil (22 July 2013) 


Meeting with journalists during the flight to Brazil (22 July 2013) 

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPG APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO RIO DE JANEIRO


Papal Flight
Monday, 22 July 2013

Father Lombardi:
Pope Francis, welcome among this community of journalists and communications workers on board the aeroplane. We are very moved to be accompanying you on your first intercontinental, indeed your first international journey, having followed you to Lampedusa with great emotion. Apart from anything else, it is the first journey to your own continent, to the end of the world. It is a journey with the young. So there is great interest. As you see, we have filled up all the available places for journalists on this flight. There are over 70 of us, and the group is very varied in its composition; there are representatives of television – both producers and cameramen – there are representatives of the print media, press agencies, radio, internet ... So for all practical purposes, all the media have expert representation. And different cultures, different languages are also represented. On this flight we have a sizeable group of Italians, then of course there are the Brazilians, some of whom have travelled from Brazil in order to come on the flight with you. There are ten Brazilians who have come for this very purpose. Then there are ten from the United States of America, nine from France, six from Spain, there are British, Mexicans and Germans; Japan is also represented, along with Argentina naturally, Poland, Portugal and Russia. So it is a very varied community. Many of those present are frequent followers of Papal trips abroad, so it is not their first experience – on the contrary, some are very well travelled and know these journeys much better than you do. Others, though, are here for the first time, because some, like the Brazilians, are following this journey specifically.
Very well, we thought we would welcome you to this group through the voice of one of our members, indeed one of our female members, who has been chosen – I think without any risk of competition – because she is certainly the one who has been on the greatest number of Papal journeys abroad: she vies with Dr Gasbarri for the number of journeys she has made. Moreover, she comes from your own continent, and can therefore speak to you in Spanish, your own language: and apart from anything else, she is a woman, so it is right and proper that we give her a platform. I will pass the microphone straight away, then, to Valentina Alazraki, who has been the correspondent forTelevisa for many years, and so she is always youthful, as you see, and apart from anything else we are pleased to have her here with us because a few weeks ago she broke her foot and then we were afraid she would be unable to come. Thankfully, she has recovered in time, the plaster was removed two or three days ago and now she is with us on the aeroplane. So it is she who will express to you the sentiments of the community on board.
Valentina Alazraki:
Pope Francis, good morning! The one qualification I possess for having the privilege of welcoming you is a very large number of flying hours. I took part in Pope John Paul II’s first flight to Mexico, my own country. Then I was the “mascot”, now I am the “dean”, 34 and a half years later! That is why I have the privilege of welcoming you. We know from your friends and collaborators in Argentina that journalists are not exactly “saints to whom you have a devotion”. Perhaps you thought that Father Lombardi had thrown you into the lions’ den ... but the truth is that we are not particularly fierce and we are very glad to be able to accompany you on the journey. We would be pleased if you saw us that way, as travelling companions in this and in many other journeys to come. Obviously we are journalists, and if today, tomorrow, or over the next few days you wish to respond to questions, we will not say no, because we are journalists. We have seen that you entrusted this journey to Mary, by going to Santa Maria Maggiore, and soon you will go to Aparecida, so I thought of making you a small gift of a little pilgrim Virgin, so that she may accompany you on this pilgrimage and on many more to come. It happens to be the Virgin of Guadalupe, not because she is Queen of Mexico, but rather because she is the Patron of America, so that no Virgin might take offence, neither the Virgin from Argentina, nor Aparecida, nor any other. I present her to you with great affection on the part of all of us here, in the hope that she will protect you during this journey and many more in the future.
Father Lombardi:
And now, naturally, we invite the Holy Father to speak, so that he may offer at least a few words of introduction to this journey.
Pope Francis:
Good morning. Good morning to all of you. I heard you say something a little strange: “You are not saints to whom I have a devotion”, “I am here among the lions”, but not particularly fierce ones, is that right? Thank you. It is true that I do not give interviews, but why, I do not know, I can’t, it’s just like that. For me it is quite an effort to do so, but I thank all of you here. This first journey is about meeting the young people, but not in isolation from their lives – I would rather meet them within their social context, in society. Because when we isolate the young, we do them an injustice; we take away their “belonging”. The young do belong, they belong to a family, to a homeland, to a culture, to a faith .. They belong in all sorts of ways, and we must not isolate them! But in particular, we must not isolate them from the whole of society! They really are the future of a people: it is true. But not only they: they are the future because they have the strength, they are young, they will go forward. But at the other end of life, the elderly, they too are the future of a people. A people has a future if it goes forward with both elements: with the young, who have the strength, and things move forward because they do the carrying; and with the elderly because they are the ones who give life’s wisdom. And I have often thought that we do the elderly an injustice, we set them aside as if they had nothing to offer us; they have wisdom, life’s wisdom, history’s wisdom, the homeland’s wisdom, the family’s wisdom. And we need all this! That is why I say that I am going to meet the young, but within their social context, principally with the elderly. It is true that the global crisis harms the young. I read last week the percentage of the young without work. Just think that we risk having a generation that has never worked, and yet it is through work that a person acquires dignity by earning bread. The young, at this moment, are in crisis. We have become somewhat accustomed to this throwaway culture: too often the elderly are discarded! But now we have all these young people with no work, they too are suffering the effects of the throwaway culture. We must rid ourselves of this habit of throwing away. No! The culture of inclusion, the culture of encounter, making an effort to bring everyone into society! This is the meaning I want to give to this visit among the young, the young within society.
Thank you very much, my dear friends, “saints without devotion”, and “not particularly fierce lions”. But thank you very much. And I should like to greet you, each one of you. Thank you.
Father Lombardi:
Thank you very much, Your Holiness, for this most engaging introduction. And now everyone will pass by to greet you. Please come this way, so that all of you can have a chance to meet the Holy Father and to introduce yourselves. Could each of you say which agency, which television company, which newspaper you come from. In that way the Pope can greet you and know who you are...
Pope Francis:
We have ten hours ...
The journalists pass one by one to meet the Holy Father
Father Lombardi:
Has everyone finished now? Yes? Excellent! We truly and sincerely thank Pope Francis because for all of us, I think, it has been an unforgettable moment and I think it is a very good introduction to this journey. Holy Father, I think you have rather won the hearts of these “lions”, so that during the journey they will assist you, they will understand your message and spread it most effectively. Thank you, Your Holiness.
Pope Francis:
I thank you indeed, and I ask you to help me and to assist in this journey, for the good, for the good; the good of society, the good of the young people and the good of the elderly; both together, don’t forget! And like the Prophet Daniel, I am just a little sad, because I have seen that the lions were not all that fierce! Thank you very much indeed. I embrace all of you! Thank you!


Welcome Ceremony at the Garden of Guanabara Palace (Rio de Janeiro, 22 July 2013) 

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGWELCOME CEREMONY
Garden of Guanabara Palace, Rio de Janeiro
Monday, 22 July 2013

Madam President,
Distinguished Authorities,
Brethren and Friends!

In his loving providence, God willed that the first international trip of my pontificate should take me back to my beloved Latin America, specifically to Brazil, a country proud of its links to the Apostolic See and of its deep sentiments of faith and friendship that have always kept it united in a special way to the Successor of Peter. I am grateful for this divine benevolence.
I have learned that, to gain access to the Brazilian people, it is necessary to pass through its great heart; so let me knock gently at this door. I ask permission to come in and spend this week with you. I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ! I have come in his name, to feed the flame of fraternal love that burns in every heart; and I wish my greeting to reach one and all: The peace of Christ be with you!
I cordially greet the President and the distinguished members of her government. I thank her for her warm welcome and for the words by which she expressed the joy of all Brazilians at my presence in their country. I also greet the state governor who is hosting us in the government palace, and the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, as well as the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the government of Brazil, the other authorities present and all those who worked hard to make my visit here a reality.
I would like to greet affectionately my brother bishops, to whom falls the serious task of guiding God’s flock in this vast country, as well as their beloved local churches. With this visit, I wish to pursue the pastoral mission proper to the Bishop of Rome of confirming my brothers in their faith in Christ, of encouraging them to give an account of the reasons for the hope which comes from him, and of inspiring them to offer everyone the inexhaustible riches of his love.
As you know, the principal reason for my visit to Brazil goes beyond its borders. I have actually come for World Youth Day. I am here to meet young people coming from all over the world, drawn to the open arms of Christ the Redeemer. They want to find a refuge in his embrace, close to his heart, to listen again to his clear and powerful appeal: “Go and make disciples of all nations”.
These young people are from every continent, they speak many languages, they bring with them different cultures, and yet they also find in Christ the answer to their highest aspirations, held in common, and they can satisfy the hunger for a pure truth and an authentic love which binds them together in spite of differences.
Christ offers them space, knowing that there is no force more powerful than the one released from the hearts of young people when they have been conquered by the experience of friendship with him. Christ has confidence in young people and entrusts them with the very future of his mission, “Go and make disciples”. Go beyond the confines of what is humanly possible and create a world of brothers and sisters! And young people have confidence in Christ: they are not afraid to risk for him the only life they have, because they know they will not be disappointed.
As I begin my visit to Brazil, I am well aware that, in addressing young people, I am also speaking to their families, their local and national church communities, the societies they come from, and the men and women upon whom this new generation largely depends.
Here it is common for parents to say, “Our children are the apple of our eyes”. What a beautiful expression of Brazilian wisdom this is, applying to young people an image drawn from our eyes, which are the window through which light enters into us, granting us the miracle of sight! What would become of us if we didn’t look after our eyes? How could we move forward? I hope that, during this week, each one of us will ask ourselves this thought-provoking question.
Listen! Young people are the window through which the future enters the world. They are the window, and so they present us with great challenges. Our generation will show that it can rise to the promise found in each young person when we know how to give them space. This means that we have to create the material and spiritual conditions for their full development; to give them a solid basis on which to build their lives; to guarantee their safety and their education to be everything they can be; to pass on to them lasting values that make life worth living; to give them a transcendent horizon for their thirst for authentic happiness and their creativity for the good; to give them the legacy of a world worthy of human life; and to awaken in them their greatest potential as builders of their own destiny, sharing responsibility for the future of everyone. If we can do all this, we anticipate today the future that enters the world through the window of the young.
As I conclude, I ask everyone to show consideration towards each other and, if possible, the sympathy needed to establish friendly dialogue. The arms of the Pope now spread to embrace all of Brazil in its human, cultural and religious complexity and richness. From the Amazon Basin to the pampas, from the dry regions to the Pantanal, from the villages to the great cities, no one is excluded from the Pope’s affection. In two days’ time, God willing, I will remember all of you before Our Lady of Aparecida, invoking her maternal protection on your homes and families. But for now I give all of you my blessing. Thank you for your welcome!


  • Holy Mass in the Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Conception (Aparecida, 24 July 2013) 


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Your Eminence,
My Brother Bishops and Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

What joy I feel as I come to the house of the Mother of every Brazilian, the Shrine of our Lady of Aparecida! The day after my election as Bishop of Rome, I visited the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, in order to entrust my ministry to Our Lady. Today I have come here to ask Mary our Mother for the success of World Youth Day and to place at her feet the life of the people of Latin America.
There is something that I would like to say first of all. Six years ago the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean was held in this Shrine. Something beautiful took place here, which I witnessed at first hand. I saw how the Bishops – who were discussing the theme of encountering Christ, discipleship and mission – felt encouraged, supported and in some way inspired by the thousands of pilgrims who came here day after day to entrust their lives to Our Lady. That Conference was a great moment of Church. It can truly be said that the Aparecida Document was born of this interplay between the labours of the Bishops and the simple faith of the pilgrims, under Mary’s maternal protection. When the Church looks for Jesus, she always knocks at his Mother’s door and asks: “Show us Jesus”. It is from Mary that the Church learns true discipleship. That is why the Church always goes out on mission in the footsteps of Mary.
Today, looking forward to the World Youth Day which has brought me to Brazil, I too come to knock on the door of the house of Mary – who loved and raised Jesus – that she may help all of us, pastors of God’s people, parents and educators, to pass on to our young people the values that can help them build a nation and a world which are more just, united and fraternal. For this reason I would like to speak of three simple attitudes: hopefulness, openness to being surprised by God, and living in joy.
1. Hopefulness. The second reading of the Mass presents a dramatic scene: a woman – an image of Mary and the Church – is being pursued by a Dragon – the devil – who wants to devour her child. But the scene is not one of death but of life, because God intervenes and saves the child (cf. Rev 12:13a, 15-16a). How many difficulties are present in the life of every individual, among our people, in our communities; yet as great as these may seem, God never allows us to be overwhelmed by them. In the face of those moments of discouragement we experience in life, in our efforts to evangelize or to embody our faith as parents within the family, I would like to say forcefully: Always know in your heart that God is by your side; he never abandons you! Let us never lose hope! Let us never allow it to die in our hearts! The “dragon”, evil, is present in our history, but it does not have the upper hand. The one with the upper hand is God, and God is our hope! It is true that nowadays, to some extent, everyone, including our young people, feels attracted by the many idols which take the place of God and appear to offer hope: money, success, power, pleasure. Often a growing sense of loneliness and emptiness in the hearts of many people leads them to seek satisfaction in these ephemeral idols. Dear brothers and sisters, let us be lights of hope! Let us maintain a positive outlook on reality. Let us encourage the generosity which is typical of the young and help them to work actively in building a better world. Young people are a powerful engine for the Church and for society. They do not need material things alone; also and above all, they need to have held up to them those non-material values which are the spiritual heart of a people, the memory of a people. In this Shrine, which is part of the memory of Brazil, we can almost read those values: spirituality, generosity, solidarity, perseverance, fraternity, joy; they are values whose deepest root is in the Christian faith.
2. The second attitude: openness to being surprised by God. Anyone who is a man or a woman of hope – the great hope which faith gives us – knows that even in the midst of difficulties God acts and he surprises us. The history of this Shrine is a good example: three fishermen, after a day of catching no fish, found something unexpected in the waters of the Parnaíba River: an image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Whoever would have thought that the site of a fruitless fishing expedition would become the place where all Brazilians can feel that they are children of one Mother? God always surprises us, like the new wine in the Gospel we have just heard. God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God! Cut off from him, the wine of joy, the wine of hope, runs out. If we draw near to him, if we stay with him, what seems to be cold water, difficulty, sin, is changed into the new wine of friendship with him.
3. The third attitude: living in joy. Dear friends, if we walk in hope, allowing ourselves to be surprised by the new wine which Jesus offers us, we have joy in our hearts and we cannot fail to be witnesses of this joy. Christians are joyful, they are never gloomy. God is at our side. We have a Mother who always intercedes for the life of her children, for us, as Queen Esther did in the first reading (cf Est 5:3). Jesus has shown us that the face of God is that of a loving Father. Sin and death have been defeated. Christians cannot be pessimists! They do not look like someone in constant mourning. If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our heart will “light up” with a joy that spreads to everyone around us. As Benedict XVI said here, in this Shrine: “the disciple knows that without Christ, there is no light, no hope, no love, no future” (Inaugural Address, Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, Aparecida, 13 May 2007, 3).
Dear friends, we have come to knock at the door of Mary’s house. She has opened it for us, she has let us in and she shows us her Son. Now she asks us to “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Yes, Mother, we are committed to doing whatever Jesus tells us! And we will do it with hope, trusting in God’s surprises and full of joy. Amen.


  • Impromptu address of Pope Francis from the balcony of the Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida after the celebration of Holy Mass (24 July 2013) 


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Brothers and Sisters ... Brothers and Sisters, I do not speak “Brazilian”. Forgive me if I speak in Spanish. Forgive me. Thank you very much. Thank you for being here. Thank you from my heart, with all my heart I ask the Virgin, Our Lady of Aparecida, to bless you, to bless your families, to bless your children, to bless your parents, to bless the whole country.
Well now, I’ll soon find out whether you understand me. I’m going to ask you a question: does a mother forget her children? [No...] She does not forget us, she loves us and takes care of us. Now we ask her for a blessing. May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come down upon you and remain with you always.
I want to ask you a favour, a small favour: pray for me, pray for me, I need it. May God bless you. May Our Lady of Aparecida protect you. And goodbye until 2017, when I shall be back...


  • Visit to the St. Francis of Assisi of the Providence of God Hospital - V.O.T. (Rio de Janeiro, 24 July 2013) 

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGVISIT TO ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI OF THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD HOSPITAL - V.O.T.
Rio de Janeiro
Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Dear Archbishop Tempesta, brother Bishops,
Distinguished Authorities,
Members of the Venerable Third Order of Saint Francis of Penance,
Doctors, Nurses, and Health Care Workers,
Dear Young People and Family Members, good night!

God has willed that my journey, after the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, should take me to a particular shrine of human suffering – the Saint Francis of Assisi Hospital. The conversion of your patron saint is well known: the young Francis abandoned riches and comfort in order to become a poor man among the poor. He understood that true joy and riches do not come from the idols of this world – material things and the possession of them – but are to be found only in following Christ and serving others. Less well known, perhaps, is the moment when this understanding took concrete form in his own life. It was when Francis embraced a leper. This suffering brother was the “mediator of light ... for Saint Francis of Assisi” (Lumen Fidei, 57), because in every suffering brother and sister that we embrace, we embrace the suffering Body of Christ. Today, in this place where people struggle with drug addiction, I wish to embrace each and every one of you, who are the flesh of Christ, and to ask God to renew your journey, and also mine, with purpose and steadfast hope.
To embrace, to embrace – we all have to learn to embrace the one in need, as Saint Francis did. There are so many situations in Brazil, and throughout the world, that require attention, care and love, like the fight against chemical dependency. Often, instead, it is selfishness that prevails in our society. How many “dealers of death” there are that follow the logic of power and money at any cost! The scourge of drug-trafficking, that favours violence and sows the seeds of suffering and death, requires of society as a whole an act of courage. A reduction in the spread and influence of drug addiction will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use, as is currently being proposed in various parts of Latin America. Rather, it is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future. We all need to look upon one another with the loving eyes of Christ, and to learn to embrace those in need, in order to show our closeness, affection and love.
To embrace someone is not enough, however. We must hold the hand of the one in need, of the one who has fallen into the darkness of dependency perhaps without even knowing how, and we must say to him or her: You can get up, you can stand up. It is difficult, but it is possible if you want to. Dear friends, I wish to say to each of you, but especially to all those others who have not had the courage to embark on our journey: You have to want to stand up; this is the indispensable condition! You will find an outstretched hand ready to help you, but no one is able to stand up in your place. But you are never alone! The Church and so many people are close to you. Look ahead with confidence. Yours is a long and difficult journey, but look ahead, there is “a sure future, set against a different horizon with regard to the illusory enticements of the idols of this world, yet granting new momentum and strength to our daily lives” (Lumen Fidei, 57). To all of you, I repeat: Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! And not only that, but I say to us all: let us not rob others of hope, let us become bearers of hope!
In the Gospel, we read the parable of the Good Samaritan, that speaks of a man assaulted by robbers and left half dead at the side of the road. People pass by him and look at him. But they do not stop, they just continue on their journey, indifferent to him: it is none of their business! How often we say: it’s not my problem!  How often we turn the other way and pretend not to see!Only a Samaritan, a stranger, sees him, stops, lifts him up, takes him by the hand, and cares for him (cf. Lk 10:29-35). Dear friends, I believe that here, in this hospital, the parable of the Good Samaritan is made tangible. Here there is no indifference, but concern. There is no apathy, but love. The Saint Francis Association and the Network for the Treatment of Drug Addiction show how to reach out to those in difficulty because in them we see the face of Christ, because in these persons, the flesh of Christ suffers. Thanks are due to all the medical professionals and their associates who work here. Your service is precious; undertake it always with love. It is a service given to Christ present in our brothers and sisters. As Jesus says to us: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).
And I wish to repeat to all of you who struggle against drug addiction, and to those family members who share in your difficulties: the Church is not distant from your troubles, but accompanies you with affection. The Lord is near you and he takes you by the hand. Look to him in your most difficult moments and he will give you consolation and hope. And trust in the maternal love of his Mother Mary. This morning, in the Shrine of Aparecida, I entrusted each of you to her heart. Where there is a cross to carry, she, our Mother, is always there with us. I leave you in her hands, while with great affection I bless all of you. Thank you.


  • Greeting to the young people from Italy at the conclusion of the visit to the St. Francis of Assisi of the Providence of God Hospital - V.O.T. (Rio de Janeiro, 24 July 2013)


Rio de Janeiro
Mercoledì, 24 luglio 2013


Mi rivolgo a voi giovani italiani che ci state seguendo in diretta dal Maracanàzinho. So che vi siete riuniti insieme a tanti brasiliani di origine italiana ed ai vostri vescovi per far festa e riflettere sulla persona di Gesù e sulle risposte che solo Lui sa dare ai vostri interrogativi di fede e di vita. Fidatevi di Cristo, ascoltatelo, seguitene le orme. Non ci abbandona mai, neanche nei momenti più bui della vita. E’ Lui la nostra speranza. Domani a Copacabana ci sarà l’occasione per approfondire questa verità, per rendere luminosa la vita. A domani.


  • Blessing of the olympic flags at the City Palace of Rio de Janeiro (25 July 2013) 

Town Hall of Rio de Janeiro
Thursday, 25 July 2013

We have just blessed the flags and the religious images. Good morning to everyone! Many thanks for being here at this time, and now, with all my heart, I give my Blessing to all of you, to your families, to your friends, to the district, to everyone.
And pray for me!


  • Visit to the Community of Varginha [Manguinhos] (Rio de Janeiro, 25 July 2013) 

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGVISIT TO THE COMMUNITY OF VARGINHA (MANGUINHOS)
Rio de Janeiro
Thursday, 25 July 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
It is wonderful to be here with you! It is wonderful! From the start, my wish in planning this visit to Brazil was to be able to visit every district throughout the nation. I would have liked to knock on every door, to say “good morning”, to ask for a glass of cold water, to take a cafezinho, - not a glass of grappa! – to speak as one would to family friends, to listen to each person pouring out his or her heart – parents, children, grandparents ... But Brazil is so vast! It is impossible to knock on every door! So I chose to come here, to visit your community, this community, which today stands for every district in Brazil. How wonderful it is to be welcomed with such love, generosity, and joy! One need only look at the way you have decorated the streets of the community; this is a further mark of affection, it comes from your heart, from the heart of all Brazilians in festive mood. Many thanks to each of you for this kind welcome! And I thank Rangler and Joana for their kind words.
1. From the moment I first set foot on Brazilian soil, right up to this meeting here with you, I have been made to feel welcome. And it is important to be able to make people welcome; this is something even more beautiful than any kind of ornament or decoration. I say this because when we are generous in welcoming people and sharing something with them – some food, a place in our homes, our time – not only do we no longer remain poor: we are enriched. I am well aware that when someone needing food knocks at your door, you always find a way of sharing food; as the proverb says, one can always “add more water to the beans”! Is it possible to add more water to the beans? … Always? … And you do so with love, demonstrating that true riches consist not in material things, but in the heart!
And the Brazilian people, particularly the humblest among you, can offer the world a valuable lesson in solidarity; this word solidarity is too often forgotten or silenced, because it is uncomfortable. It almost seems like a bad word … solidarity. I would like to make an appeal to those in possession of greater resources, to public authorities and to all people of good will who are working for social justice: never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity! No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world! Everybody, according to his or her particular opportunities and responsibilities, should be able to make a personal contribution to putting an end to so many social injustices. The culture of selfishness and individualism that often prevails in our society is not, I repeat, not what builds up and leads to a more habitable world: rather, it is the culture of solidarity that does so; the culture of solidarity means seeing others not as rivals or statistics, but brothers and sisters. And we are all brothers and sisters!
I would like to encourage the efforts that Brazilian society is making to integrate all its members, including those who suffer most and are in greatest need, through the fight against hunger and deprivation. No amount of “peace-building” will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself. A society of that kind simply impoverishes itself, it loses something essential. We must never, never allow the throwaway culture to enter our hearts! We must never allow the throwaway culture to enter our hearts, because we are brothers and sisters. No one is disposable! Let us always remember this: only when we are able to share do we become truly rich; everything that is shared is multiplied! Think of the multiplication of the loaves by Jesus! The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty!
2. I would also like to tell you that the Church, the “advocate of justice and defender of the poor in the face of intolerable social and economic inequalities which cry to heaven” (Aparecida Document, 395), wishes to offer her support for every initiative that can signify genuine development for every person and for the whole person. Dear friends, it is certainly necessary to give bread to the hungry – this is an act of justice. But there is also a deeper hunger, the hunger for a happiness that only God can satisfy, the hunger for dignity. There is neither real promotion of the common good nor real human development when there is ignorance of the fundamental pillars that govern a nation, its non-material goods: life, which is a gift of God, a value always to be protected and promoted; the family, the foundation of coexistence and a remedy against social fragmentation; integral education, which cannot be reduced to the mere transmission of information for purposes of generating profit; health, which must seek the integral well-being of the person, including the spiritual dimension, essential for human balance and healthy coexistence; security, in the conviction that violence can be overcome only by changing human hearts.
3. I would like to add one final point, one final point. Here, as in the whole of Brazil, there are many young people. You young people, my dear young friends, you have a particular sensitivity towards injustice, but you are often disappointed by facts that speak of corruption on the part of people who put their own interests before the common good. To you and to all, I repeat: never yield to discouragement, do not lose trust, do not allow your hope to be extinguished. Situations can change, people can change. Be the first to seek to bring good, do not grow accustomed to evil, but defeat it with good. The Church is with you, bringing you the precious good of faith, bringing Jesus Christ, who “came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10).
Today, to all of you, especially to the residents of this Community of Varginha, I say: you are not alone, the Church is with you, the Pope is with you. I carry each of you in my heart and I make my own the intentions that you carry deep within you: thanksgiving for joys, pleas for help in times of difficulty, a desire for consolation in times of grief and suffering. I entrust all this to the intercession of Our Lady of Aparecida, Mother of all the poor of Brazil, and with great affection I impart my blessing. Thank you!


  • Welcome Meeting with the youth from Argentina gathered in the Cathedral of San Sebastián (25 July 2013) 

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGMEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE FROM ARGENTINA
Thursday, 25 July 2013

Thank you, thank you for being here, thank you for coming ... thanks to those who are inside, and thanks especially to those who are left outside. They tell me there are thirty thousand outside. I greet them from here. They are in the rain ... thank you for this sign of your closeness, thank you for coming to World Youth Day. I suggested to Dr Gasbarri, the person who has been organizing my journey, to look out for a place for me to meet you, and in half a day he sorted the whole thing out. I would like to thank Dr Gasbarri publicly for all he has managed to do today.
Let me tell you what I hope will be the outcome of World Youth Day: I hope there will be noise. Here there will be noise, I’m quite sure. Here in Rio there will be plenty of noise, no doubt about that. But I want you to make yourselves heard in your dioceses, I want the noise to go out, I want the Church to go out onto the streets, I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable, everything to do with clericalism, everything that might make us closed in on ourselves. The parishes, the schools, the institutions are made for going out ... if they don’t, they become an NGO, and the Church cannot be an NGO. May the bishops and priests forgive me if some of you create a bit of confusion afterwards. That’s my advice. Thanks for whatever you can do.
Look, at this moment, I think our world civilization has gone beyond its limits, it has gone beyond its limits because it has made money into such a god that we are now faced with a philosophy and a practice which exclude the two ends of life that are most full of promise for peoples. They exclude the elderly, obviously. You could easily think there is a kind of hidden euthanasia, that is, we don’t take care of the elderly; but there is also a cultural euthanasia, because we don’t allow them to speak, we don’t allow them to act. And there is the exclusion of the young. The percentage of our young people without work, without employment, is very high and we have a generation with no experience of the dignity gained through work. This civilization, in other words, has led us to exclude the two peaks that make up our future. As for the young, they must emerge, they must assert themselves, the young must go out to fight for values, to fight for these values; and the elderly must open their mouths, the elderly must open their mouths and teach us! Pass on to us the wisdom of the peoples!
Among the Argentine people, I ask the elderly, from my heart: do not cease to be the cultural storehouse of our people, a storehouse that hands on justice, hands on history, hands on values, hands on the memory of the people. And the rest of you, please, do not oppose the elderly: let them speak, listen to them and go forward. But know this, know that at this moment, you young people and you elderly people are condemned to the same destiny: exclusion. Don’t allow yourselves to be excluded. It’s obvious! That’s why I think you must work. Faith in Jesus Christ is not a joke, it is something very serious. It is a scandal that God came to be one of us. It is a scandal that he died on a cross. It is a scandal: the scandal of the Cross. The Cross continues to provoke scandal. But it is the one sure path, the path of the Cross, the path of Jesus, the path of the Incarnation of Jesus. Please do not water down your faith in Jesus Christ. We dilute fruit drinks – orange, apple, or banana juice, but please do not drink a diluted form of faith. Faith is whole and entire, not something that you water down. It is faith in Jesus. It is faith in the Son of God made man, who loved me and who died for me. So then: make yourselves heard; take care of the two ends of the population: the elderly and the young; do not allow yourselves to be excluded and do not allow the elderly to be excluded. Secondly: do not “water down” your faith in Jesus Christ. The Beatitudes: What must we do, Father? Look, read the Beatitudes: that will do you good. If you want to know what you actually have to do, read Matthew Chapter 25, which is the standard by which we will be judged. With these two things you have the action plan: the Beatitudes and Matthew 25. You do not need to read anything else. I ask you this with all my heart. Very well, I thank you for coming so close. I am sorry that you are all penned in, but let me tell you something. I experience that myself now and then. What an awful thing it is to be penned in. I openly admit it, but we’ll see. I understand you. I would have liked to come closer to you, but I understand that for security reasons, it just isn’t possible. Thank you for coming, thank you for praying for me; I ask you from my heart, I need it. I need your prayers, I need them very much. Thank you for that. Well then, I want to give you my blessing, and afterwards, we will bless the image of the Virgin that is to travel all over the Republic. And also the Cross of Saint Francis, which will travel on that same missionary journey. But do not forget: make yourselves heard; take care of the two ends of life, the two ends of the history of peoples: the elderly and the young; and do not water down the faith. And now let us pray, so as to bless the image of the Virgin, and then I will give you the Blessing.
Let us stand for the Blessing, but first I want to thank Archbishop Arancedo for what he said, because I haven’t had the good manners to thank him before. So thank you for your words!
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary ...
Lord you left your Mother in our midst that she might accompany us.
May she take care of us and protect us on our journey, in our hearts, in our faith.
May she make us disciples like herself, missionaries like herself.
May she teach us to go out onto the streets.
May she teach us to step outside ourselves.
We bless this image, Lord, which will travel round the country.
May she, by her meekness, by her peace, show us the way.
Lord, you are a scandal. You are a scandal: the scandal of the Cross. A Cross which is humility, meekness; a Cross that speaks to us of God’s closeness. We bless this image of the Cross that will travel round the country.
Thank you very much. We will see each other again in the coming days. May God bless you. Pray for me. Don’t forget!



  • Ceremony by the young people on the waterfront of Copacabana (Rio de Janeiro, 25 July 2013)

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGWELCOMING CEREMONY FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE
Waterfront of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Thursday, 25 July 2013


Dear Young Friends,
Good evening! First of all, I want to thank you for the testimony you are giving to the world. I always heard it said that the people of Rio didn’t like the cold and rain, but you are showing that your faith is stronger than the cold and rain. Congratulations! You are true heroes!
In you I see the beauty of Christ’s young face and I am filled with joy. I recall the first World Youth Day on an international level. It was celebrated in 1987 in Argentina, in my home city of Buenos Aires. I still cherish the words of Blessed John Paul II to the young people on that occasion: “I have great hope in you! I hope above all that you will renew your fidelity to Jesus Christ and to his redeeming Cross” (Address to Young People, Buenos Aires, 11 April 1987).
Before I continue, I would like to call to mind the tragic accident in French Guiana, that the young people suffered on their way to this World Youth Day. There young Sophie Morinière was killed and other young people were wounded. I invite all of you to observe a moment of silence and of prayer to God, Our Father, for Sophie, for the wounded, and for their families.
This year, World Youth Day comes to Latin America for the second time. And you, young people, have responded in great number to the invitation extended by Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate this occasion. We thank him with all our hearts! We send our greeting and our enthusiastic applause to him who brought us together here today. You know that, before coming to Brazil, I spoke with him, and I asked him to accompany me in prayer on this trip. And he said to me: I will accompany all of you in prayer and I will follow you on television. So, at this moment, he is watching us. We express to him our heartfelt thanks. I am looking at the large crowd before me – there are so many of you! And you have come from every continent! In many cases you have come from afar, not only geographically, but also existentially, culturally, socially and humanly. But today you are all here, or better yet, we are all here together as one, in order to share the faith and the joy of an encounter with Christ, of being his disciples. This week Rio has become the centre of the Church, its heart both youthful and vibrant, because you have responded generously and courageously to the invitation that Christ has made to you to be with him and to become his friends.
The train of this World Youth Day has come from afar and has travelled across all of Brazil following the stages of the project entitled “Bota fé – put on faith!” Today the train has arrived at Rio de Janeiro. From Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer embraces us and blesses us. Looking out to this sea, the beach and all of you gathered here, I am reminded of the moment when Jesus called the first disciples to follow him by the shores of Lake Tiberias. Today Christ asks each of us again: Do you want to be my disciple? Do you want to be my friend? Do you want to be a witness to my Gospel? In the spirit of The Year of Faith, these questions invite us to renew our commitment as Christians. Your families and local communities have passed on to you the great gift of faith, Christ has grown in you. Today he desires to come here to confirm you in this faith, faith in the living Christ who dwells within you, but I have come as well to be confirmed by the enthusiasm of your faith! You know that in the life of a Bishop there are many problems that need to be resolved. And with these problems and difficulties, a Bishop’s faith can grow sad. How horrible is a sad Bishop! How bad is that! So that my faith might not be sad, I came here to be filled with your contagious enthusiasm!
I greet you with affection. All of you assembled here from the five continents and, through you, all young people of the world, in particular those who wanted to come to Rio de Janeiro but weren’t able to come. To those who are following us by means of radio, television and internet, to everyone I say: Welcome to this feast of faith! In several parts of the world, at this very moment, many young people have come together to share this event with us: let us all experience the joy of being united with each other in friendship and faith. And be sure of this: my heart embraces all of you with universal affection. Because what is most important today is your gathering here and the gathering together of all the young people who are following us through various forms of media. From the summit of the mountain of Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer welcomes you and embraces you in this beautiful city of Rio!
A particular greeting to the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the untiring Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, and to all who work with him. I thank Archbishop Orani João Tempesta, of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, for the warm welcome given to me – I wish to say here that the people of Rio know well how to welcome, they know how to offer a great welcome – and I thank the Archbishop for the considerable work of realizing this World Youth Day, together with his Auxiliary Bishops and with the many Dioceses of this vast country of Brazil. I would also like to express my gratitude to all the national, state and local authorities and to those who have worked to make possible this unique moment of celebration of unity, faith and fraternity. Thank you to my brother Bishops, to the priests, seminarians, consecrated persons and the lay faithful that have accompanied the young from various parts of the world on their pilgrimage to Jesus. To each and every one of you I offer an affectionate embrace in Jesus and with Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, dear friends, welcome to the XXVIII World Youth Day in this marvellous city of Rio de Janeiro!

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGHOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER
Dear Friends,
“It is good for us to be here!”, Peter cries out after seeing the Lord Jesus transfigured in glory. Are we able to repeat these words with him? I think the answer is yes, because here today, it is good for all of us to be together around Jesus! It is he who welcomes us and who is present in our midst here in Rio. In the Gospel we have heard God the Father say: “This is my Son, my chosen one; listen to him!” (Lk 9:35). If it is Jesus who welcomes us, we too want to welcome him and listen to his words; it is precisely through the welcome we give to Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, that the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future, and enables us joyfully to advance along that way with wings of hope (cf. Lumen Fidei, 7).
But what can we do? “Bota fé – put on faith”. The World Youth Day Cross has proclaimed these words throughout its pilgrimage in Brazil. “Put on faith”: what does this mean? When we prepare a plate of food and we see that it needs salt, well, we “put on” salt; when it needs oil, then you “put on” oil. “To put on”, that is, to place on top of, to pour over. And so it is in our life, dear young friends: if we want it to have real meaning and fulfilment, as you want and as you deserve, I say to each one of you, “Put on faith”, and life will take on a new flavour, life will have a compass to show you the way; “put on hope” and every one of your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark, but luminous; “put on love”, and your life will be like a house built on rock, your journey will be joyful, because you will find many friends to journey with you. Put on faith, put on hope, put on love! All together: “put on faith”, “put on hope”, “put on love”.
But who can give us all this? In the Gospel we hear the answer: Christ. “This is my Son, my chosen one. Listen to him!” Jesus brings God to us and us to God. With him, our life is transformed and renewed, and we can see reality with new eyes, from Jesus’ standpoint, with his own eyes (cf. Lumen Fidei, 18). For this reason, I say to every one of you today: “Put on Christ!” in your life, and you will find a friend in whom you can always trust; “put on Christ” and you will see the wings of hope spreading and letting you journey with joy towards the future; “put on Christ” and your life will be full of his love; it will be a fruitful life. Because we all want to have a fruitful life, one that is life-giving for others.
Today, it would be good for all of us to ask ourselves sincerely: in whom do we place our trust? In ourselves, in material things, or in Jesus? We all have the temptation often to put ourselves at the centre, to believe that we are the axis of the universe, to believe that we alone build our lives or to think that our life can only be happy if built on possessions, money, or power. But we all know that it is not so. Certainly, possessions, money and power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy, but they end up possessing us and making us always want to have more, never satisfied. And we end up “full”, but not nourished, and it is very sad to see young people “full”, but weak. Young people must be strong, nourished by the faith and not filled with other things! “Put on Christ” in your life, place your trust in him and you will never be disappointed! You see how faith accomplishes a revolution in us, one which we can call Copernican; it removes us from the centre and puts God at the centre; faith immerses us in his love and gives us security, strength, and hope. Seemingly, nothing has changed; yet, in the depths of our being, everything is different. With God, peace, consolation, gentleness, courage, serenity and joy, which are all fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22), find a home in our heart; then our very being is transformed; our way of thinking and acting is made new, it becomes Jesus’ own, God’s own, way of thinking and acting. Dear friends, faith is revolutionary and today I ask you: are you open to entering into this revolutionary wave of faith? Only by entering into this wave will your young lives make sense and so be fruitful!
Dear young people: “Put on Christ” in your lives. In these days, Christ awaits you in his word; listen carefully to him and his presence will arouse your heart; “Put on Christ”: he awaits you in the sacrament of Penance, with his mercy he will cure all the wounds caused by sin. Do not be afraid to ask God’s forgiveness, because he never tires of forgiving us, like a father who loves us. God is pure mercy! “Put on Christ”: he is waiting for you also in the Eucharist, the sacrament of his presence and his sacrifice of love, and he is waiting for you also in the humanity of the many young people who will enrich you with their friendship, encourage you by their witness to the faith, and teach you the language of love, goodness and service.
You too, dear young people, can be joyful witnesses of his love, courageous witnesses of his Gospel, carrying to this world a ray of his light. Let yourselves be loved by Christ, he is a friend that will not disappoint.
“It is good for us to be here”, putting on Christ in our lives, putting on the faith, hope and love which he gives us. Dear friends, in this celebration we have welcomed the image of Our Lady of Aparecida. In our prayer to Mary, we ask her to teach us to follow Jesus, that she may teach us to be disciples and missionaries. Like her, may we say “Yes” to God. Let us ask that her maternal heart intercede for us, so that our hearts may be open to loving Jesus and making others love him. Dear young people, Jesus is waiting for us. Jesus is counting on us. Amen.


  • Welcome Recital of the Angelus Domini from the central balcony of the Archbishopric of St. Joaquin (Rio de Janeiro, 26 July 2013) 

Central balcony of the Archbishop’s Residence of St. Joaquin, Rio de Janeiro
Friday, 26 July 2013


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Dear Friends, Good day!

I give thanks to Divine Providence for bringing me here to the city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro. I offer heartfelt thanks to Archbishop Orani Tempesta and to each of you for your warm welcome, which demonstrates your affection for the Successor of Peter. I would be happy if my visit to this city were to renew, in each one of you, your love for Christ and his Church and your joy in being one with him, belonging to the Church and being committed to offering a living witness to the faith.
The Angelus prayer is a beautiful popular expression of the faith. It is a simple prayer, recited at three specific times during the day. It thus punctuates the rhythm of our daily activities: in the morning, at midday, and at sunset. But it is an important prayer. I encourage each of you to recite it, along with the Hail Mary. It reminds us of a luminous event which transformed history: the Incarnation, the moment when the Son of God became man in Jesus of Nazareth.
Today the Church celebrates the parents of the Virgin Mary, the grandparents of Jesus, Saints Joachim and Anne. In their home, Mary came into the world, accompanied by the extraordinary mystery of the Immaculate Conception. Mary grew up in the home of Joachim and Anne; she was surrounded by their love and faith: in their home she learned to listen to the Lord and to follow his will. Saints Joachim and Anne were part of a long chain of people who had transmitted their faith and love for God, expressed in the warmth and love of family life, down to Mary, who received the Son of God in her womb and who gave him to the world, to us. How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith! Speaking about family life, I would like to say one thing: today, as Brazil and the Church around the world celebrate this feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, Grandparents Day is also being celebrated. How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society! How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogue, especially within the context of the family. The Aparecida Document says, “Children and the elderly build the future of peoples: children because they lead history forward, the elderly because they transmit the experience and wisdom of their lives” (No. 447). This relationship and this dialogue between generations is a treasure to be preserved and strengthened! In this World Youth Day, young people wish to acknowledge and honour their grandparents. They salute them with great affection. Grandparents. Let us salute grandparents. Young people salute their grandparents with great affection and they thank them for the ongoing witness of their wisdom.
And now, in this Square, in all the surrounding streets, and in those homes that are experiencing this moment of prayer with us, we feel like one big family, and we turn to Mary, that she may protect our families and make them places of faith and love in which the presence of Jesus her Son is felt.


  • Way of the Cross with the young people on the waterfront of Copacabana (Rio de Janeiro, 26 July 2013)

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGWAY OF THE CROSS WITH THE YOUNG PEOPLE
Waterfront of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Friday, 26 July 2013


Dear Young Friends,
We have come here today to accompany Jesus on his journey of sorrow and love, the Way of the Cross, which is one of the most intense moments of World Youth Day. At the end of the Holy Year of Redemption, Blessed John Paul II chose to entrust the Cross to you, young people, asking you “to carry it throughout the world as a symbol of Christ’s love for humanity, and announce to everyone that only in the death and resurrection of Christ can we find salvation and redemption” (Address to Young People, 22 April 1984). Since then, the World Youth Day Cross has travelled to every continent and through a variety of human situations. It is, as it were, almost “steeped” in the life experiences of the countless young people who have seen it and carried it. Dear brothers and sisters, no one can approach and touch the Cross of Jesus without leaving something of himself or herself there, and without bringing something of the Cross of Jesus into his or her own life. I have three questions that I hope will echo in your hearts this evening as you walk beside Jesus: What have you left on the Cross, dear young people of Brazil, during these two years that it has been crisscrossing your great country? What has the Cross of Jesus left for you, in each one of you? Finally, what does this Cross teach us?
1. According to an ancient Roman tradition, while fleeing the city during the persecutions of Nero, Saint Peter saw Jesus who was travelling in the opposite direction, that is, toward the city, and asked him in amazement: “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus’ response was: “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.” At that moment, Peter understood that he had to follow the Lord with courage, to the very end. But he also realized that he would never be alone on the journey; Jesus, who had loved him even unto death, would always be with him. Jesus, with his Cross, walks with us and takes upon himself our fears, our problems, and our sufferings, even those which are deepest and most painful. With the Cross, Jesus unites himself to the silence of the victims of violence, those who can no longer cry out, especially the innocent and the defenceless; with the Cross, he is united to families in trouble, and those who mourn the tragic loss of their children, as in the case of the 242 young victims of the fire in the City of Santa Maria at the beginning of this year. We pray for them. On the Cross, Jesus is united with every person who suffers from hunger in a world which, on the other hand, permits itself the luxury of throwing away tons of food every day; on the Cross, Jesus is united to the many mothers and fathers who suffer as they see their children become victims of drug-induced euphoria; on the Cross, Jesus is united with those who are persecuted for their religion, for their beliefs or simply for the colour of their skin; on the Cross, Jesus is united with so many young people who have lost faith in political institutions, because they see in them only selfishness and corruption; he unites himself with those young people who have lost faith in the Church, or even in God because of the counter-witness of Christians and ministers of the Gospel. How our inconsistencies make Jesus suffer! The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on his shoulders our crosses and saying to us: “Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life” (cf. Jn 3:16).
2. Now we can answer the second question: What has the Cross given to those who have gazed upon it and to those who have touched it? What has the Cross left in each one of us? You see, it gives us a treasure that no one else can give: the certainty of the faithful love which God has for us. A love so great that it enters into our sin and forgives it, enters into our suffering and gives us the strength to bear it. It is a love which enters into death to conquer it and to save us. The Cross of Christ contains all the love of God; there we find his immeasurable mercy. This is a love in which we can place all our trust, in which we can believe. Dear young people, let us entrust ourselves to Jesus, let us give ourselves over to him (cf. Lumen Fidei, 16), because he never disappoints anyone! Only in Christ crucified and risen can we find salvation and redemption. With him, evil, suffering, and death do not have the last word, because he gives us hope and life: he has transformed the Cross from being an instrument of hate, defeat and death to being a sign of love, victory, triumph and life.
The first name given to Brazil was “The Land of the Holy Cross”. The Cross of Christ was planted five centuries ago not only on the shores of this country, but also in the history, the hearts and the lives of the people of Brazil and elsewhere. The suffering Christ is keenly felt here, as one of us who shares our journey even to the end. There is no cross, big or small, in our life, which the Lord does not share with us.
3. But the Cross of Christ invites us also to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, teaching us always to look upon others with mercy and tenderness, especially those who suffer, who are in need of help, who need a word or a concrete action; the Cross invites us to step outside ourselves to meet them and to extend a hand to them. How many times have we seen them in the Way of the Cross, how many times have they accompanied Jesus on the way to Calvary: Pilate, Simon of Cyrene, Mary, the women… Today I ask you: which of them do you want to be? Do you want to be like Pilate, who did not have the courage to go against the tide to save Jesus’ life, and instead washed his hands? Tell me: are you one of those who wash their hands, who feign ignorance and look the other way? Or are you like Simon of Cyrene, who helped Jesus to carry that heavy wood, or like Mary and the other women, who were not afraid to accompany Jesus all the way to the end, with love and tenderness? And you, who do you want to be? Like Pilate? Like Simon? Like Mary? Jesus is looking at you now and is asking you: do you want to help me carry the Cross? Brothers and sisters, with all the strength of your youth, how will you respond to him?
Dear friends, let us bring to Christ’s Cross our joys, our sufferings and our failures. There we will find a Heart that is open to us and understands us, forgives us, loves us and calls us to bear this love in our lives, to love each person, each brother and sister, with the same love.


  • Holy Mass with the Bishops of the 28th WYD and with Priests, Religious and Seminarians in the Cathedral of St Sebastian (Rio de Janeiro, 27 July 2013)

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Below, we publish the full text of his homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Seeing this Cathedral full of Bishops, priests, seminarians, and men and women religious from the whole world, I think of the Psalmist’s words from today’s Mass: “Let the peoples praise you, O God” (Ps 66). We are indeed here to praise the Lord, and we do so reaffirming our desire to be his instruments so that not only some peoples may praise God, but all. With the same parrhesia of Paul and Barnabas, we proclaim the Gospel to our young people, so that they may encounter Christ, the light for our path, and build a more fraternal world. I wish to reflect with you on three aspects of our vocation: we are called by God, called to proclaim the Gospel, and called to promote the culture of encounter.

1. Called by God – It is important to rekindle an awareness of our divine vocation, which we often take for granted in the midst of our many daily responsibilities: as Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (Jn 15:16). This means returning to the source of our calling. At the beginning of our vocational journey, there is a divine election. For this reason, a bishop, a priest, a consecrated man or woman, a seminarian cannot have a bad memory. He or she must safeguard that grace and never forget his or her first calling. We were called by God and we were called to be with Jesus (cf. Mk 3:14), united with him in a way so profound that we are able to say with Saint Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). This living in Christ, in fact, marks all that we are and all that we do. And this “life in Christ” is precisely what ensures the effectiveness of our apostolate, that our service is fruitful: “I appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (Jn 15:16). It is not pastoral creativity, or meetings or planning that ensure our fruitfulness, but our being faithful to Jesus, who says insistently: “Abide in me and I in you” (Jn 15:4). And we know well what that means: to contemplate him, to worship him, to embrace him, especially through our faithfulness to a life of prayer, and in our daily encounter with him, present in the Eucharist and in those most in need. “Being with” Christ does not isolate us from others. Rather, it is a “being with” in order to go forth and encounter others. This brings to mind some words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “We must be very proud of our vocation because it gives us the opportunity to serve Christ in the poor. It is in the favelas, in the cantegriles, in the villas miseria, that one must go to seek and to serve Christ. We must go to them as the priest presents himself at the altar, with joy” (Mother’s Instructions, I, p. 80). Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is our true treasure. Let us try to unite our hearts ever more closely to his (cf. Lk 12:34).

2. Called to proclaim the Gospel – dear Bishops and priests, many of you, if not all, have accompanied your young people to World Youth Day. They too have heard the mandate of Jesus: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (cf. Mt 28:19). It is our responsibility to help kindle within their hearts the desire to be missionary disciples of Jesus. Certainly, this invitation could cause many to feel somewhat afraid, thinking that to be missionaries requires leaving their own homes and countries, family and friends. God asks us to be missionaries wherewe are, where He puts us! Let us help our young people to realize that the call to be missionary disciples flows from our baptism and is an essential part of what it means to be a Christian. We must also help them to realize that we are called first to evangelize in our own homes and our places of study and work, to evangelize our family and friends. Let us help our young people, let us open our ears to their questions, they need to be listened to when in difficulty; of course patience is needed to listen, in confession and in spiritual direction. We need to know how best to spend time with them. 
Let us spare no effort in the formation of our young people! Saint Paul uses a beautiful expression that he embodied in his own life, when he addressed the Christian community: “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you” (Gal 4:19). Let us embody this also in our own ministry! Let us help our young people to discover the courage and joy of faith, the joy of being loved personally by God, who gave his Son Jesus for our salvation. Let us form them in mission, in going out and going forth. Jesus did this with his own disciples: he did not keep them under his wing like a hen with her chicks. He sent them out! We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel! It is not enough simply to open the door in welcome, but we must go out through that door to seek and meet the people! Let us courageously look to pastoral needs, beginning on the outskirts, with those who are farthest away, with those who do not usually go to church. They are the V.I.P.s invited to the table of the Lord... go and look for them in the nooks and crannies of the streets. 

3. Called to promote the culture of encounter – Unfortunately, in many places, generally in this economic humanism that prevails in the world, the culture of exclusion, of rejection, is spreading. There is no place for the elderly or for the unwanted child; there is no time for that poor person on the edge of the street. At times, it seems that for some people, human relations are regulated by two modern “dogmas”: efficiency and pragmatism. Dear Bishops, priests, religious and you, seminarians who are preparing for ministry: have the courage to go against the tide. Let us not reject this gift of God which is the one family of his children. Encountering and welcoming everyone, solidarity... this is a word that in this culture is being hidden away, as if it was a swear word... solidarity and fraternity: these are what make our society truly human.

Be servants of communion and of the culture of encounter! Permit me to say that we must be almost obsessive in this matter. We do not want to be presumptuous, imposing “our truths”. What must guide us is the humble yet joyful certainty of those who have been found, touched and transformed by the Truth who is Christ, ever to be proclaimed (cf. Lk 24:13-35).

Dear brothers and sisters, we are called by God, called to proclaim the Gospel and called to promote with courage the culture of encounter. May the Virgin Mary be our exemplar. In her life she was “a model of that motherly love with which all who join in the Church’s apostolic mission for the regeneration of humanity should be animated” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 65). Let us ask her to teach us to meet Jesus every day, let us ask her to encourage us to go out to meet our many brothers and sisters who are on the edges and are thirsty for God but do not have anyone to announce Him; let us ask her not to throw us out of home, but to encourage us to leave home; in this way we will be disciples of the Lord. 



  • Meeting with the Brazil's leaders gathered at the Municipal Theatre (Rio de Janeiro, 27 July 2013) 

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGMEETING WITH THE BRAZIL'S LEADERS OF SOCIETY
Municipal Theatre, Rio de Janeiro
Saturday, 27 July 2013


Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Good morning!

I thank God for the opportunity to meet such a distinguished representation of the political, diplomatic, cultural and religious, academic and business leaders of this immense country of Brazil.
I wish I could speak to you in your own beautiful Portuguese language, but in order to express more clearly what I carry in my heart, I prefer to speak in Spanish. Please forgive me!
I greet all of you most heartily and I express to you my gratitude. I thank Archbishop Orani and Mr Walmyr Júnior for their kind words of welcome, introduction and testimony. In you I see both memory and hope: the memory of your country’s history and identity, and the hope that, in constant openness to the light radiating from the Gospel, this country will continue to develop in full respect for the ethical principles grounded in the transcendent dignity of the person.
Memory of the past and utopian vision of the future meet in the present, which is not simply an intersection without history and without promise, but a moment in time, a challenge to gather wisdom and to know how to pass it on. In every nation, those in positions of responsibility are called to face the future, as the Brazilian thinker Alceu Amoroso Lima once said, “with the calm gaze of one who knows how to see the truth”.[1]  I would like to share with you three aspects of this calm, serene and wise “gaze”: first, the distinctiveness of your cultural tradition; second, joint responsibility for building the future; and third, constructive dialogue in facing the present moment.
1. It is only right, first of all, to esteem the dynamic and distinctive character of Brazilian culture, with its extraordinary ability to integrate a variety of elements. The common “feeling” of a people, the foundations of its thought and creativity, the basic principles of its life, the criteria with which it assesses priorities and ways of acting, are based on and grow from an integral vision of the human person.
This vision of man and of life so typical of the Brazilian people has also been nourished by the Gospel, by faith in Jesus Christ, in the love of God and brotherhood with our neighbour. The richness of this nourishment can render fruitful a cultural process that is true to Brazilian identity and, at the same time, capable of building a better future for all.
Such a process seeks to promote an integral humanism and the culture of encounter and relationship: this is the Christian way of promoting the common good, the joy of living. Here, faith and reason unite, the religious dimension and the various aspects of human culture – art, science, labour, literature… Christianity combines transcendence and incarnation; it has the capacity to bring ever new vitality to thought and life, in the face of the threat of frustration and disillusionment which can creep into hearts and spread in the streets.
2. A second element which I would like to mention is responsibility for society. This calls for a certain kind of cultural, and hence political, paradigm. We are the ones responsible for training new generations, helping them to be knowledgeable in economic and political affairs, and solidly grounded in ethical values. The future demands a rehabilitation of politics here and now, a rehabilitation of politics, which is one of the highest forms of charity. The future also demands a humanistic vision of the economy and a politics capable of ensuring greater and more effective participation on the part of the people, eliminating forms of elitism and eradicating poverty. No one should be denied what is necessary and everyone should be guaranteed dignity, fraternity and solidarity: this is the road that is proposed. In the days of the prophet Amos, God’s frequent warning was already being heard: “They sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals – they … trample down the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and push the afflicted out of the way” (Am 2:6-7). The outcry, the call for justice, continues to be heard even today.
Anyone exercising a role of leadership – allow me to say, anyone whom life has anointed as a leader – needs to have practical goals and to seek specific means to attain them. At the same time, there is always the risk of disappointment, resentment and indifference, if our plans and goals do not materialize. Here I would appeal to the dynamic of hope that inspires us to keep pressing on, to employ all our energies and abilities on behalf of those for whom we work, accepting results, making it possible to strike out on new paths, being generous even without apparent results, yet keeping hope alive, with the constancy and courage that comes from accepting a vocation as leader and guide.
Leadership also means making the most just decision after having considered all the options from the standpoint of personal responsibility and concern for the common good. This is the way to go to the heart of the evils of a society and to overcome them, also with the boldness of courageous and free actions. It is our responsibility, within the limits of the possible, to embrace all of reality, observing, pondering, evaluating, in order to make decisions in the present but with an eye to the future, reflecting on the consequences of our decisions. To act responsibly is to see one’s own actions in the light of other people’s rights and God’s judgement. This ethical sense appears today as an unprecedented historic challenge, we must search for it and we must enshrine it within our society. Beyond scientific and technical competence, the present situation also demands a sense of moral obligation expressed in a social and deeply fraternal exercise of responsibility.
3. To complete this reflection, in addition to an integral humanism which respects cultural distinctiveness and fraternal responsibility, an element that I consider essential for facing the present moment is constructive dialogue. Between selfish indifference and violent protest there is always another possible option: that of dialogue. Dialogue between generations, dialogue within the people, because we are all that people, the capacity to give and receive, while remaining open to the truth. A country grows when constructive dialogue occurs between its many rich cultural components: popular culture, university culture, youth culture, artistic culture, technological culture, economic culture, family culture and media culture: when they enter into dialogue. It is impossible to imagine a future for society without a significant injection of moral energy into a democratic order that tends to remain imprisoned in pure logic or in a mere balancing of vested interests. I consider fundamental for this dialogue the contribution made by the great religious traditions, which play a fruitful role as a leaven of society and a life-giving force for democracy. Peaceful coexistence between different religions is favoured by the laicity of the state, which, without appropriating any one confessional stance, respects and esteems the presence of the religious dimension in society, while fostering its more concrete expressions.
When leaders in various fields ask me for advice, my response is always the same: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. The only way for individuals, families and societies to grow, the only way for the life of peoples to progress, is via the culture of encounter, a culture in which all have something good to give and all can receive something good in return. Others always have something to give me, if we know how to approach them in a spirit of openness and without prejudice. This open spirit, without prejudice, I would describe as “social humility”, which is what favours dialogue. Only in this way can understanding grow between cultures and religions, mutual esteem without needless preconceptions, in a climate that is respectful of the rights of everyone. Today, either we take the risk of dialogue, we risk the culture of encounter, or we all fall; this is the path that will bear fruit.
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank you for your attention. Please accept these words as an expression of my concern as Pastor of the Church and my respect and affection for the Brazilian people. Fraternal relations between people, and cooperation in building a more just society – these are not an idealistic dream, but the fruit of a concerted effort on the part of all, in service of the common good. I encourage you in this commitment to the common good, a commitment which demands of everyone wisdom, prudence and generosity. I entrust you to our Heavenly Father, asking him, through the intercession of Our Lady of Aparecida, to pour out his gifts on each of you, on your families and on your communities and workplaces. From my heart, I ask God to bless you. Thank you very much.

[1] “Il nostro tempo”, in: La vita soprannaturale e il mondo moderno (Rio de Janeiro, 1956), p. 106.


  • Meeting with the Bishops of Brazil in the Archbishop's House of Rio de Janeiro (27 July 2013) 

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGMEETING WITH THE BISHOPS OF BRAZIL
Archbishop’s House, Rio de Janeiro
Saturday, 28 July 2013

Dear Brothers,
How good it is to be here with you, the Bishops of Brazil!
Thank you for coming, and please allow me to speak with you as one among friends. That’s why I prefer to speak to you in Spanish, so as to express better what I carry in my heart. I ask you to forgive me.
We are meeting somewhat apart, in this place prepared by our brother, Archbishop Orani Tempesta, so that we can be alone and speak to one another from the heart, as pastors to whom God has entrusted his flock. On the streets of Rio, young people from all over the world and countless others await us, needing to be reached by the merciful gaze of Christ the Good Shepherd, whom we are called to make present. So let us enjoy this moment of repose, exchange of ideas and authentic fraternity.
Beginning with the President of the Episcopal Conference and the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, I want to embrace each and every one of you, and in a particular way the Emeritus Bishops.
More than a formal address, I would like to share some reflections with you.
The first came to mind again when I visited the shrine of Aparecida. There, at the foot of the statue of the Immaculate Conception, I prayed for you, your Churches, your priests, men and women religious, seminarians, laity and their families and, in a particular way, the young people and the elderly: these last are the hope of a nation; the young, because they bring strength, idealism and hope for the future; the elderly because they represent the memory, the wisdom of the people.[1]
1. Aparecida: a key for interpreting the Church’s mission
In Aparecida God gave Brazil his own Mother. But in Aparecida God also offered a lesson about himself, about his way of being and acting. A lesson about the humility which is one of God’s essential features, and which is part of God’s DNA. Aparecida offers us a perennial teaching about God and about the Church; a teaching which neither the Church in Brazil nor the nation itself must forget.
At the beginning of the Aparecida event, there were poor fishermen looking for food. So much hunger and so few resources. People always need bread. People always start with their needs, even today.
They have a dilapidated, ill-fitted boat; their nets are old and perhaps torn, insufficient.
First comes the effort, perhaps the weariness, of the catch, yet the results are negligible: a failure, time wasted. For all their work, the nets are empty.
Then, when God wills it, he mysteriously enters the scene. The waters are deep and yet they always conceal the possibility of a revelation of God. He appeared out of the blue, who knows for how long, when he was no longer expected. The patience of those who await him is always tested. And God arrived in a novel fashion, since God is wonder: as a fragile clay statue, darkened by the waters of the river and aged by the passage of time. God always enters clothed in poverty, littleness.
Then there is the statue itself of the Immaculate Conception. First, the body appeared, then the head, then the head was joined to the body: unity. What had been broken is restored and becomes one. Colonial Brazil had been divided by the shameful wall of slavery. Our Lady of Aparecida appears with a black face, first separated, and then united in the hands of the fishermen.
Here there is a message which God wants to teach us. His own beauty, reflected in his Mother conceived without original sin, emerges from the darkness of the river. In Aparecida, from the beginning, God’s message was one of restoring what was broken, reuniting what had been divided. Walls, chasms, differences which still exist today are destined to disappear. The Church cannot neglect this lesson: she is called to be a means of reconciliation.
The fishermen do not dismiss the mystery encountered in the river, even if it is a mystery which seems incomplete. They do not throw away the pieces of the mystery. They await its completion. And this does not take long to come. There is a wisdom here that we need to learn. There are pieces of the mystery, like the stones of a mosaic, which we encounter. We are impatient, anxious to see the whole picture, but God lets us see things slowly, quietly. The Church also has to learn how to wait.
Then the fishermen bring the mystery home. Ordinary people always have room to take in the mystery. Perhaps we have reduced our way of speaking about mystery to rational explanations; but for ordinary people the mystery enters through the heart. In the homes of the poor, God always finds a place.
The fishermen “bundle up” the mystery, they clothe the Virgin drawn from the waters as if she were cold and needed to be warmed. God asks for shelter in the warmest part of ourselves: our heart. God himself releases the heat we need, but first he enters like a shrewd beggar. The fishermen wrap the mystery of the Virgin with the lowly mantle of their faith. They call their neighbours to see its rediscovered beauty; they all gather around and relate their troubles in its presence and they entrust their causes to it. In this way they enable God’s plan to be accomplished: first comes one grace, then another; one grace leads to another; one grace prepares for another. God gradually unfolds the mysterious humility of his power.
There is much we can learn from the approach of the fishermen. About a Church which makes room for God’s mystery; a Church which harbours that mystery in such a way that it can entice people, attract them. Only the beauty of God can attract. God’s way is through enticement which attracts us. God lets himself be brought home. He awakens in us a desire to keep him and his life in our homes, in our hearts. He reawakens in us a desire to call our neighbours in order to make known his beauty. Mission is born precisely from this divine allure, by this amazement born of encounter. We speak about mission, about a missionary Church. I think of those fishermen calling their neighbours to see the mystery of the Virgin. Without the simplicity of their approach, our mission is doomed to failure.
The Church needs constantly to relearn the lesson of Aparecida; she must not lose sight of it. The Church’s nets are weak, perhaps patched; the Church’s barque is not as powerful as the great transatlantic liners which cross the ocean. And yet God wants to be seen precisely through our resources, scanty resources, because he is always the one who acts.
Dear brothers, the results of our pastoral work do not depend on a wealth of resources, but on the creativity of love. To be sure, perseverance, effort, hard work, planning and organization all have their place, but first and foremost we need to realize that the Church’s power does not reside in herself; it is hidden in the deep waters of God, into which she is called to cast her nets.
Another lesson which the Church must constantly recall is that she cannot leave simplicity behind; otherwise she forgets how to speak the language of Mystery, and she herself remains outside the door of the mystery, and obviously, she proves incapable of approaching those who look to the Church for something which they themselves cannot provide, namely, God himself. At times we lose people because they don’t understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people. Without the grammar of simplicity, the Church loses the very conditions which make it possible “to fish” for God in the deep waters of his Mystery.
A final thought: Aparecida took place at a crossroads. The road which linked Rio, the capital, with São Paulo, the resourceful province then being born, and Minas Gerais, the mines coveted by the courts of Europe, was a major intersection in colonial Brazil. God appears at the crossroads. The Church in Brazil cannot forget this calling which was present from the moment of her birth: to be a beating heart, to gather and to spread.
2. Appreciation for the path taken by the Church in Brazil
The Bishops of Rome have always had a special place in their heart for Brazil and its Church. A marvellous journey has been accomplished. From twelve dioceses during the First Vatican Council, it now numbers 275 circumscriptions. This was not the expansion of an organization or a business enterprise, but rather the dynamism of the Gospel story of the “five loaves and two fish” which, through the bounty of the Father and through tireless labour, bore abundant fruit.
Today I would like to acknowledge your unsparing work as pastors in your local Churches. I think of Bishops in the forests, travelling up and down rivers, in semiarid places, in the Pantanal, in the pampas, in the urban jungles of your sprawling cities. Always love your flock with complete devotion! I also think of all those names and faces which have indelibly marked the journey of the Church in Brazil, making palpable the Lord’s immense bounty towards this Church.[2]
The Bishops of Rome were never distant; they followed, encouraged and supported this journey. In recent decades,Blessed John XXIII urged the Brazilian Bishops to draw up their first pastoral plan and, from that beginning a genuine pastoral tradition arose in Brazil, one which prevented the Church from drifting and provided it with a sure compass. The Servant of God Paul VI encouraged the reception of the Second Vatican Council not only in fidelity but also in creativity (cf. the CELAM General Assembly in Medellin), and decisively influenced the self-identity of the Church in Brazil through the Synod on evangelization and that basic point of reference which remains relevant is the Evangelii NuntiandiBlessed John Paul II visited Brazil three times, going up and down the country, from north to south, emphasizing the Church’s pastoral mission, communion and participation, preparation for the Great Jubilee and the new evangelization. Benedict XVI chose Aparecida as the site of the Fifth CELAM General Assembly and this left a profound mark on the Church of the whole continent.
The Church in Brazil welcomed and creatively applied the Second Vatican Council, and the course it has taken, though needing to overcome some teething problems, has led to a Church gradually more mature, open, generous and missionary.
Today, times have changed. As the Aparecida document nicely put it: ours is not an age of change, but a change of age. So today we urgently need to keep putting the question: what is it that God is asking of us? I would now like to sketch a few ideas by way of a response.
3. The icon of Emmaus as a key for interpreting the present and the future
Before all else, we must not yield to the fear once expressed by Blessed John Henry Newman: “… the Christian world is gradually becoming barren and effete, as land which has been worked out and is become sand”.[3]  We must not yield to disillusionment, discouragement and complaint. We have laboured greatly and, at times, we see what appear to be failures. We feel like those who must tally up a losing season as we consider those who have left us or no longer consider us credible or relevant.
Let us read once again, in this light, the story of Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-15). The two disciples have left Jerusalem. They are leaving behind the “nakedness” of God. They are scandalized by the failure of the Messiah in whom they had hoped and who now appeared utterly vanquished, humiliated, even after the third day (vv. 17-21). Here we have to face the difficult mystery of those people who leave the Church, who, under the illusion of alternative ideas, now think that the Church – their Jerusalem – can no longer offer them anything meaningful and important. So they set off on the road alone, with their disappointment. Perhaps the Church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas, perhaps the world seems to have made the Church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions; perhaps the Church could speak to people in their infancy but not to those come of age.[4]  It is a fact that nowadays there are many people like the two disciples of Emmaus; not only those looking for answers in the new religious groups that are sprouting up, but also those who already seem godless, both in theory and in practice.
Faced with this situation, what are we to do?
We need a Church unafraid of going forth into their night. We need a Church capable of meeting them on their way. We need a Church capable of entering into their conversation. We need a Church able to dialogue with those disciples who, having left Jerusalem behind, are wandering aimlessly, alone, with their own disappointment, disillusioned by a Christianity now considered barren, fruitless soil, incapable of generating meaning.
A relentless process of globalization, an often uncontrolled process of intense urbanization, has promised great things. Many people have been captivated by their potential, which of course contains positive elements as, for example, the shortening of distance, the drawing closer of peoples and cultures, the diffusion of information and of services. On the other hand, however, many are living the negative effects of these realities without realizing how they affect a proper vision of man and of the world. This generates enormous confusion and an emptiness which people are unable to explain, regarding the purpose of life, personal disintegration, the loss of the experience of belonging to a “home” and the absence of personal space and strong personal ties.
And since there is no one to accompany them or to show them with his or her own life the true way, many have sought shortcuts, because the standards set by Mother Church seem to be asking too much. There are also those who recognize the ideal of man and of life as proposed by the Church, but they do not have the audacity to embrace it. They think that this ideal is too lofty for them, that it is beyond their abilities, and that the goal the Church sets is unattainable. Nonetheless they cannot live without having at least something, even a poor imitation of what seems too grand and distant. With disappointed hearts, they then go off in search of something which will lead them even further astray, or which brings them to a partial belonging that, ultimately, does not fulfill their lives.
The great sense of abandonment and solitude, of not even belonging to oneself, which often results from this situation, is too painful to hide. Some kind of release is necessary. There is always the option of complaining. But even complaint acts like a boomerang; it comes back and ends up increasing one’s unhappiness. Few people are still capable of hearing the voice of pain; the best we can do is to anaesthetize it.
From this point of view, we need a Church capable of walking at people’s side, of doing more than simply listening to them; a Church which accompanies them on their journey; a Church able to make sense of the “night” contained in the flight of so many of our brothers and sisters from Jerusalem; a Church which realizes that the reasons why people leave also contain reasons why they can eventually return. But we need to know how to interpret, with courage, the larger picture. Jesus warmed the hearts of the disciples of Emmaus.
I would like all of us to ask ourselves today: are we still a Church capable of warming hearts? A Church capable of leading people back to Jerusalem? Of bringing them home? Jerusalem is where our roots are: Scripture, catechesis, sacraments, community, friendship with the Lord, Mary and the apostles… Are we still able to speak of these roots in a way that will revive a sense of wonder at their beauty?
Many people have left because they were promised something more lofty, more powerful, and faster.
But what is more lofty than the love revealed in Jerusalem? Nothing is more lofty than the abasement of the Cross, since there we truly approach the height of love! Are we still capable of demonstrating this truth to those who think that the apex of life is to be found elsewhere?
Do we know anything more powerful than the strength hidden within the weakness of love, goodness, truth and beauty?
People today are attracted by things that are faster and faster: rapid Internet connections, speedy cars and planes, instant relationships. But at the same time we see a desperate need for calmness, I would even say slowness. Is the Church still able to move slowly: to take the time to listen, to have the patience to mend and reassemble? Or is the Church herself caught up in the frantic pursuit of efficiency? Dear brothers, let us recover the calm to be able to walk at the same pace as our pilgrims, keeping alongside them, remaining close to them, enabling them to speak of the disappointments present in their hearts and to let us address them. They want to forget Jerusalem, where they have their sources, but eventually they will experience thirst. We need a Church capable of accompanying them on the road back to Jerusalem! A Church capable of helping them to rediscover the glorious and joyful things that are spoken of Jerusalem, and to understand that she is my Mother, our Mother, and that we are not orphans! We were born in her. Where is our Jerusalem, where were we born? In Baptism, in the first encounter of love, in our calling, in vocation.[5] We need a Church that kindles hearts and warms them.
We need a Church capable of restoring citizenship to her many children who are journeying, as it were, in an exodus.
4. Challenges facing the Church in Brazil
In the light of what I have said above, I would like to emphasize several challenges facing the beloved Church in Brazil.
Formation as a priority: Bishops, priests, religious, laity
Dear brothers, unless we train ministers capable of warming people’s hearts, of walking with them in the night, of dialoguing with their hopes and disappointments, of mending their brokenness, what hope can we have for our present and future journey? It isn’t true that God’s presence has been dimmed in them. Let us learn to look at things more deeply. What is missing is someone to warm their heart, as was the case with the disciples of Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:32).
That is why it is important to devise and ensure a suitable formation, one which will provide persons able to step into the night without being overcome by the darkness and losing their bearings; able to listen to people’s dreams without being seduced and to share their disappointments without losing hope and becoming bitter; able to sympathize with the brokenness of others without losing their own strength and identity.
What is needed is a solid human, cultural, effective, spiritual and doctrinal formation.[6]  Dear brother Bishops, courage is needed to undertake a thorough review of the structures in place for the formation and preparation of the clergy and the laity of the Church in Brazil. It is not enough that formation be considered a vague priority, either in documents or at meetings. What is needed is the practical wisdom to set up lasting educational structures on the local, regional and national levels and to take them to heart as Bishops, without sparing energy, concern and personal interest. The present situation calls for quality formation at every level. Bishops may not delegate this task. You cannot delegate this task, but must embrace it as something fundamental for the journey of your Churches.
Collegiality and solidarity in the Episcopal Conference
The Church in Brazil needs more than a national leader; it needs a network of regional “testimonies” which speak the same language and in every place ensure not unanimity, but true unity in the richness of diversity.
Communion is a fabric to be woven with patience and perseverance, one which gradually “draws together the stitches” to make a more extensive and thick cover. A threadbare cover will not provide warmth.
It is important to remember Aparecida, the method of gathering diversity together. Not so much a diversity of ideas in order to produce a document, but a variety of experiences of God, in order to set a vital process in motion.
The disciples of Emmaus returned to Jerusalem, recounting their experience of meeting the risen Christ. There they came to know other manifestations of the Lord and the experiences of their brothers and sisters. The Episcopal Conference is precisely a vital space for enabling such an exchange of testimonies about encounters with the Risen One, in the north, in the south, in the west… There is need, then, for a greater appreciation of local and regional elements. Central bureaucracy is not sufficient; there is also a need for increased collegiality and solidarity. This will be a source of true enrichment for all.[7]
Permanent state of mission and pastoral conversion
Aparecida spoke about a permanent state of mission[8]  and of the need for pastoral conversion.[9]  These are two important results of that Assembly for the entire Church in the area, and the progress made in Brazil on these two points has been significant.
Concerning mission, we need to remember that its urgency derives from its inner motivation; in other words, it is about handing on a legacy. As for method, it is essential to realize that a legacy is about witness, it is like the baton in a relay race: you don’t throw it up in the air for whoever is able to catch it, so that anyone who doesn’t catch it has to manage without. In order to transmit a legacy, one needs to hand it over personally, to touch the one to whom one wants to give, to relay, this inheritance.
Concerning pastoral conversion, I would like to recall that “pastoral care” is nothing other than the exercise of the Church’s motherhood. She gives birth, suckles, gives growth, corrects, nourishes and leads by the hand … So we need a Church capable of rediscovering the maternal womb of mercy. Without mercy we have little chance nowadays of becoming part of a world of “wounded” persons in need of understanding, forgiveness, love.
In mission, also on a continental level,[10]  it is very important to reaffirm the family, which remains the essential cell of society and the Church; young people, who are the face of the Church’s future; women, who play a fundamental role in passing on the faith and who are a daily source of strength in a society that carries this faith forward and renews it. Let us not reduce the involvement of women in the Church, but instead promote their active role in the ecclesial community. If the Church, in her complete and real dimension, loses women, she risks becoming sterile. Aparecida also highlights the vocation and mission of the man in the family, in the Church and in society, as fathers, workers and citizens. Let us take this seriously!
The task of the Church in society
In the context of society, there is only one thing which the Church quite clearly demands: the freedom to proclaim the Gospel in its entirety, even when it runs counter to the world, even when it goes against the tide. In so doing, she defends treasures of which she is merely the custodian, and values which she does not create but rather receives, to which she must remain faithful.
The Church affirms the right to serve man in his wholeness, and to speak of what God has revealed about human beings and their fulfilment. The Church wants to make present that spiritual patrimony without which society falls apart and cities are overwhelmed by their own walls, pits and barriers. The Church has the right and the duty to keep alive the flame of human freedom and unity.
Education, health, social harmony are pressing concerns in Brazil. The Church has a word to say on these issues, because any adequate response to these challenges calls for more than merely technical solutions; there has to be an underlying view of man, his freedom, his value, his openness to the transcendent. Dear brother Bishops, do not be afraid to offer this contribution of the Church, which benefits society as a whole and to offer this word “incarnate” also through witness.
The Amazon Basin as a litmus test for Church and society in Brazil
There is one final point on which I would like to dwell, which I consider relevant for the present and future journey not only of the Brazilian Church but of the whole society, namely, the Amazon Basin. The Church’s presence in the Amazon Basin is not that of someone with bags packed and ready to leave after having exploited everything possible. The Church has been present in the Amazon Basin from the beginning, in her missionaries, religious congregations, priests, laity and Bishops and she is still present and critical to the area’s future. I think of the welcome which the Church in the Amazon Basin is offering today to Haitian immigrants following the terrible earthquake which shook their country.
I would like to invite everyone to reflect on what Aparecida said about the Amazon Basin,[11]  its forceful appeal for respect and protection of the entire creation which God has entrusted to man, not so that it be indiscriminately exploited, but rather made into a garden. In considering the pastoral challenge represented by the Amazon Basin, I have to express my thanks for all that the Church in Brazil is doing: the Episcopal Commission for the Amazon Basin established in 1997 has already proved its effectiveness and many dioceses have responded readily and generously to the appeal for solidarity by sending lay and priestly missionaries. I think Archbishop Jaime Chemelo, a pioneer in this effort, and Cardinal Hummes, the current President of the Commission. But I would add that the Church’s work needs to be further encouraged and launched afresh. There is a need for quality formators, especially formators and professors of theology, for consolidating the results achieved in the area of training a native clergy and providing priests suited to local conditions and committed to consolidating, as it were, the Church’s “Amazonian face”. In this, please, I ask you, be courageous, and have parrhesia! In the “porteño” language [of Buenos Aires], be fearless.
Dear brother Bishops, I have attempted to offer you in a fraternal spirit some reflections and approaches for a Church like that of Brazil, which is a great mosaic made up of small stones, images, forms, problems and challenges, but which for this very reason is an enormous treasure. The Church is never uniformity, but diversities harmonized in unity, and this is true for every ecclesial reality.
May the Virgin of Aparecida be the star which illumines your task and your journey of bringing Christ, as she did, to all the men and women of your immense country. Just as he did for the two lost and disillusioned disciples of Emmaus, he will warm your hearts and give you new and certain hope.

[1]  The Aparecida Document stresses how children, young people and the elderly build the future of peoples (cf. No. 447).
[2]  I recall for example, to cite only a few: Lorscheider, Mendes de Almeida, Sales, Vital, Camara, Macedo... as well as the first Bishop in Brazil, Pero Fernandes Sardinha (1551/1556), killed by hostile local tribes.
[3]  Letter of 26 January 1833 to his mother, The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, vol. III (Oxford, 1979), p. 204.
[4]  The Aparecida Document provides a synthetic presentation of the deeper reasons behind this phenomenon (cf. No. 225).
[5]  Cf. also the four points mentioned by Aparecida (No. 226).
[6]  The Aparecida Document gives great attention to the formation both of the clergy and the laity (cf. Nos, 316-325; 212).
[7]  Also for this aspect the Aparecida Document offers important lines of approach (cf. Nos 181-183; 189).
[8]  Cf. No. 216.
[9]  Cf. Nos. 365-372.
[10]  The conclusions of the Aparecida Conference insist on the countenance of a Church which is by her very nature evangelizing, which exists for evangelization, with boldness and freedom, at all levels (cf. Nos. 547-554).
[11]  Cf. especially Nos. 83-87 and from the standpoint of a unitary pastoral plan, No. 475.


  • Interview with Pope Francis for the radio of the Archdiocese of Rio ("Radio Catedral" Studios - Rio de Janeiro, 27 July 2013) 

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGINTERVIEW WITH POPE FRANCIS

"Cathedral Radio" Studios- Rio de Janeiro
Saturday, 27 July 2013

After lunch on Saturday 27 July, Pope Francis visited the studios of Rio de Janeiro’s “Cathedral Radio”, where he spoke the following words:
Hello and good afternoon to all the listeners. Thank you for listening, and thank you to the staff of the radio station for their kindness in inviting me to speak on air. I thank them and I am looking around at this radio station, and I see that means of communication today are very important. I would say that a radio station, a Catholic radio station today is the most immediate pulpit we have. Here, through the radio, we can proclaim human values, religious values, and especially we can proclaim Jesus Christ, the Lord; we can graciously make room for the Lord among our affairs. So I greet you and I thank you for all the effort this archdiocese is making to have and maintain a radio station, with such a large network. I ask all the listeners to pray for me, to pray for this radio station, to pray for the bishop, to pray for the archdiocese, so that all of us can join in prayer and can work, as the priest said a moment ago, for a more humane culture, richer in values, excluding no one. Let us all work for that word which is unpopular today: solidarity. It is a word that people always try to put aside, because it is irksome, and yet it is a word that reflects the human and Christian values that are required of us today, as the priest said a moment ago, so as to counter the throwaway culture, according to which everything is disposable. A culture that always leaves people out of the equation: it leaves children out, it leaves young people out, it leaves the elderly out, it leaves out all who are of no use, who do not produce, and this must not be! On the contrary, solidarity includes everyone. You must continue to work for this culture of solidarity and for the Gospel.
Question on the importance of the family:
Not only would I say that the family is important for the evangelization of the new world. The family is important, and it is necessary for the survival of humanity. Without the family, the cultural survival of the human race would be at risk. The family, whether we like it or not, is the foundation.


  • Prayer Vigil with the young people (Rio de Janeiro, 27 July 2013) 

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGPRAYER VIGIL WITH THE YOUNG PEOPLE
Waterfront of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Saturday, 27 July 2013


Dear Young Friends,
Seeing you all present here today, I think of the story of Saint Francis of Assisi. In front of the crucifix he heard the voice of Jesus saying to him: “Francis, go, rebuild my house”. The young Francis responded readily and generously to the Lord’s call to rebuild his house. But which house? Slowly but surely, Francis came to realize that it was not a question of repairing a stone building, but about doing his part for the life of the Church. It was a matter of being at the service of the Church, loving her and working to make the countenance of Christ shine ever more brightly in her.
Today too, as always, the Lord needs you, young people, for his Church. My friends, the Lord needs you! Today too, he is calling each of you to follow him in his Church and to be missionaries. The Lord is calling you today! Not the masses, but you, and you, and you, each one of you. Listen to what he is saying to you in your heart. I think that we can learn something from what has taken place in these days, of how we had to cancel, due to bad weather, this Vigil in the Campus Fidei, at Guaratiba. Is the Lord not telling us, perhaps, that we ourselves are the true field of faith, the true Campus Fidei, and not some geographical location? Yes, it is true – each one of us, each one of you, me, everyone! To be missionary disciples means to know that we are the Field of Faith of God! Starting with the name of the place where we are, Campus Fidei, the field of faith, I have thought of three images that can help us understand better what it means to be a disciple and a missionary. First, a field is a place for sowing seeds; second, a field is a training ground; and third, a field is a construction site.
1. First: A field is a place for sowing seeds. We all know the parable where Jesus speaks of a sower who went out to sow seeds in the field; some seed fell on the path, some on rocky ground, some among thorns, and could not grow; other seed fell on good soil and brought forth much fruit (cf. Mt 13:1-9). Jesus himself explains the meaning of the parable: the seed is the word of God sown in our hearts (cf. Mt 13:18-23). Today . . . every day, but today in a particular way, Jesus is sowing the seed. When we accept the word of God, then we are the Field of Faith! Please, let Christ and his word enter your life; let the seed of the Word of God enter, let it blossom, and let it grow. God will take care of everything, but let him work in you and bring about this growth.
Jesus tells us that the seed which fell on the path or on the rocky ground or among the thorns bore no fruit. I believe that we can ask ourselves honestly: What kind of ground are we? What kind of ground do we want to be? Maybe sometimes we are like the path: we hear the Lord’s word but it changes nothing in our lives because we let ourselves be numbed by all the superficial voices competing for our attention. I ask you, but do not respond immediately; everyone respond in his or her own heart: am I a young person who is numb? Or perhaps we are like the rocky ground: we receive Jesus with enthusiasm, but we falter and, faced with difficulties, we don’t have the courage to swim against the tide. Everyone of us respond in his or her heart: am I courageous or am I a coward? Or maybe we are like the thorny ground: negativity, negative feelings choke the Lord’s word in us (cf. Mt 13:18-22). Do I have the habit of playing both sides in my heart: do I make a good impression for God or for the devil? Do I want to receive the seed from Jesus and at the same time water the thorns and the weeds that grow in my heart? But today I am sure that the seed is able to fall on good soil. We are listening to these witnesses, of how the seed has fallen on good soil. “No, Father, I am not good soil; I am a disaster, and I am full of stones, of thorns, of everything.” Yes, maybe this is so on the surface, but free a little piece, a small piece of good soil, and let the seed fall there and watch how it grows. I know that you want to be good soil, true Christians, authentic Christians, not part-time Christians: “starchy”, aloof and Christian in “apparence only”. I know that you don’t want to be duped by a false freedom, always at the beck and call of momentary fashions and fads. I know that you are aiming high, at long-lasting decisions which are meaningful. Is that true, or am I wrong? Am I right? Good; if it is true, let’s do this: in silence, let us all look into our hearts and each one of us tell Jesus that we want to receive the seed of his Word. Say to him: Jesus, look upon the stones, the thorns, and the weeds that I have, but look also upon this small piece of ground that I offer to you so that the seed may enter my heart. In silence, let us allow the seed of Jesus to enter our hearts. Remember this moment. Everyone knows the seed that has been received. Allow it to grow, and God will nurture it.
2. The field. Beyond being a place of sowing, the field is a training ground. Jesus asks us to follow him for life, he asks us to be his disciples, to “play on his team”. Most of you love sports! Here in Brazil, as in other countries, football is a national passion. Right? Now, what do players do when they are asked to join a team? They have to train, and to train a lot! The same is true of our lives as the Lord’s disciples. Saint Paul, describing Christians, tells us: “athletes deny themselves all sorts of things; they do this to win a crown of leaves that withers, but we a crown that is imperishable” (1 Cor 9:25). Jesus offers us something bigger than the World Cup! Something bigger than the World Cup! Jesus offers us the possibility of a fruitful life, a life of happiness; he also offers us a future with him, an endless future, in eternal life. That is what Jesus offers us. But he asks us to pay admission, and the cost of admission is that we train ourselves “to get in shape”, so that we can face every situation in life undaunted, bearing witness to our faith, by talking with him in prayer . Father, are you asking us all to pray? I ask you all … but reply in the silence of your heart, not aloud: do I pray? Do I speak with Jesus, or am I frightened of silence? Do I allow the Holy Spirit to speak in my heart? Do I ask Jesus: what do you want me to do, what do you want from my life? This is training. Ask Jesus, speak to Jesus, and if you make a mistake in your life, if you should fall, if you should do something wrong, don’t be afraid. Jesus, look at what I have done, what must I now do? Speak continually with Jesus, in the good times and in the bad, when you do right, and when you do wrong. Do not fear him! This is prayer. And through this, you train yourselves in dialogue with Jesus, in this path of being missionary disciples. By the sacraments, which make his life grow within us and conform us to Christ. By loving one another, learning to listen, to understand, to forgive, to be accepting and to help others, everybody, with no one excluded or ostracized. Dear young people, be true “athletes of Christ”!
3. And third: A field is a construction site. We are seeing this happen before us with our own eyes: young people have engaged and given themselves to the work of building up the Church. When our heart is good soil which receives the word of God, when “we build up a sweat” in trying to live as Christians, we experience something tremendous: we are never alone, we are part of a family of brothers and sisters, all journeying on the same path: we are part of the Church. These young people were not alone, but together they created a path and built up the Church; together they have done what Saint Francis did, built up and repaired the Church. I ask you: do you want to build up the Church? [Yes …] Are you encouraged to do so? [Yes …]And tomorrow, will you have forgotten the “yes” you have spoken today? [No …] That makes me happy! We are part of the Church, indeed, we are building up the Church and we are making history. Young people, please: don’t put yourselves at the tailend of history. Be active members! Go on the offensive! Play down the field, build a better world, a world of brothers and sisters, a world of justice, of love, of peace, of fraternity, of solidarity. Play always on the offensive! Saint Peter tells us that we are living stones, which form a spiritual edifice (cf. 1 Pet 2:5). As we look at this platform, we see that it is in the shape of a church, built up with living stones. In the Church of Jesus, we ourselves are the living stones. Jesus is asking us to build up his Church; each one of us is a living stone, a small part of the edifice; when the rain comes, if this piece is missing, there are leaks and water comes in. Don’t build a little chapel which holds only a small group of persons. Jesus asks us to make his living Church so large that it can hold all of humanity, that it can be a home for everyone! To me, to you, to each of us he says: “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Tonight, let us answer him: Yes, Lord, I too want to be a living stone; together we want to build up the Church of Jesus! I want to go forth and build up the Church of Christ! Are you eager to make this happen again? I want to go out and build up the Church of Christ, let us say this together … [the young people repeat]. You must always remember that you have said this together.
Your young hearts want to build a better world. I have been closely following the news reports of the many young people who throughout the world have taken to the streets in order to express their desire for a more just and fraternal society. Young people in the streets. It is the young who want to be the protagonists of change. Please, don’t leave it to others to be the protagonists of change. You are the ones who hold the future! You … Through you the future is fulfilled in the world. I ask you also to be protagonists of this transformation. Continue to overcome apathy, offering a Christian response to the social and political anxieties, which are arising in various parts of the world. I ask you to be builders of the world, to work for a better world. Dear young people, please, don’t be observers of life, but get involved. Jesus did not remain an observer, but he immersed himself. Don’t be observers, but immerse yourself in the reality of life, as Jesus did.
But one question remains: Where do we start? Whom do we ask to begin this work? Some people once asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta what needed to change in the Church, and which wall should they start with? They asked her, where is the starting point? And she replied, you and I are the starting point! This woman showed determination! She knew where to start. And today I make her words my own and I say to you: shall we begin? Where? With you and me! Each one of you, once again in silence, ask yourself: if I must begin with myself, where exactly do I start? Each one of you, open his or her heart, so that Jesus may tell you where to start.
Dear friends, never forget that you are the field of faith! You are Christ’s athletes! You are called to build a more beautiful Church and a better world. Let us lift our gaze to Our Lady. Mary helps us to follow Jesus, she gives us the example by her own “yes” to God: “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me as you say” (Lk 1:38). All together, let us join Mary in saying to God: let it be done to me as you say. Amen!


  • Holy Mass for the 28th World Youth Day (Rio de Janeiro, 28 July 2013)

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPGMASS WITH BISHOPS, PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS AND SEMINARIANS
Cathedral of San Sebastian, Rio de Janeiro
Saturday, 27 July 2013


Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Seeing this Cathedral full of Bishops, priests, seminarians, and men and women religious from the whole world, I think of the Psalmist’s words from today’s Mass: “Let the peoples praise you, O God” (Ps 66). We are indeed here to praise the Lord, and we do so reaffirming our desire to be his instruments so that not only some peoples may praise God, but all. With the same parrhesia of Paul and Barnabas, we want to proclaim the Gospel to our young people, so that they may encounter Christ and build a more fraternal world. I wish to reflect with you on three aspects of our vocation: we are called by God, called to proclaim the Gospel, and called to promote the culture of encounter.
1. Called by God – I believe that it is important to rekindle constantly an awareness of our divine vocation, which we often take for granted in the midst of our many daily responsibilities: as Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (Jn 15:16). This means returning to the source of our calling. For this reason, a Bishop, a priest, a consecrated person, a seminarian cannot be “forgetful”: it would mean losing the vital link to that first moment of our journey. Ask for the grace, ask the Virgin for the grace, she who had a good memory; ask for the grace to preserve the memory of this first call. We were called by God and we were called to be with Jesus (cf. Mk 3:14), united with him. In reality, this living, this abiding in Christ marks all that we are and all that we do. It is precisely this “life in Christ” that ensures our apostolate is effective, that our service is fruitful: “I appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit be authentic ” (cf. Jn 15:16). It is not creativity, however pastoral it may be, or meetings or planning that ensure our fruitfulness, even if these are greatly helpful. But what assures our fruitfulness is our being faithful to Jesus, who says insistently: “Abide in me and I in you” (Jn 15:4). And we know well what that means: to contemplate him, to worship him, to embrace him, in our daily encounter with him in the Eucharist, in our life of prayer, in our moments of adoration; it means to recognize him present and to embrace him in those most in need. “Being with” Christ does not mean isolating ourselves from others. Rather, it is a “being with” in order to go forth and encounter others. Here I wish to recall some words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She said: “We must be very proud of our vocation because it gives us the opportunity to serve Christ in the poor. It is in the favelas, ... in the villas miseria, that one must go to seek and to serve Christ. We must go to them as the priest presents himself at the altar, with joy” (Mother’s Instructions, I, p. 80). Jesus is the Good Shepherd; he is our true treasure. Please, let us not erase Jesus from our lives! Let us ground our hearts ever more in him (cf. Lk 12:34).
2. Called to proclaim the Gospel – Many of you, dear Bishops and priests, if not all, have accompanied your young people to World Youth Day. They too have heard the mandate of Jesus: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (cf.Mt 28:19). It is our responsibility as Pastors to help kindle within their hearts the desire to be missionary disciples of Jesus. Certainly, this invitation could cause many to feel somewhat afraid, thinking that to be missionaries requires leaving their own homes and countries, family and friends. God asks us to be missionaries. But where – where he himself places us, in our own countries or wherever he chosen for us. Let us help the young. Let us have an attentive ear to listen to their dreams – they need to be heard – to listen to their successes, to pay attention to their difficulties. You have to sit down and listen to the same libretto, but accompanied by diverse music, with different characteristics. Having the patience to listen! I ask this of you with all my heart! In the confessional, in spiritual direction, in accompanying. Let us find ways to spend time with them. Planting seeds is demanding and very tiring, very tiring! It is much more rewarding to enjoy the harvest! How cunning! Reaping is more enjoyable for us! But Jesus asks us to sow with care and responsibility.
Let us spare no effort in the formation of our young people! Saint Paul uses an expression that he embodied in his own life, when he addressed the Christian community: “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you” (Gal 4:19). Let us embody this also in our own ministry! To help our young people to discover the courage and joy of faith, the joy of being loved personally by God, is very difficult. But when young people understand it, when young people experience it through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, this “being personally loved by God” accompanies them for the rest of their lives. They rediscover the joy that God gave his Son Jesus for our salvation. Let us form them in mission, to go out, to go forth, to be itinerants who communicate the faith. Jesus did this with his own disciples: he did not keep them under his wing like a hen with her chicks. He sent them out! We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, in our parish or diocesan institutions, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel! To go out as ones sent. It is not enough simply to open the door in welcome because they come, but we must go out through that door to seek and meet the people! Let us urge our young people to go forth. Of course, they will make mistakes, but let us not be afraid! The Apostles made mistakes before us. Let us urge them to go forth. Let us think resolutely about pastoral needs, beginning on the outskirts, with those who are farthest away, with those who do not usually go to church. They are the VIPs who are invited. Go and search for them at the crossroads.
3. To be called by Jesus, to be called to evangelize, and third: to be Called to promote the culture of encounter – In many places, generally speaking, due to the economic humanism that has been imposed in the world, the culture of exclusion, of rejection, is spreading. There is no place for the elderly or for the unwanted child; there is no time for that poor person in the street. At times, it seems that for some people, human relations are regulated by two modern “dogmas”: efficiency and pragmatism. Dear Bishops, priests, religious and you, seminarians who are preparing for ministry: have the courage to go against the tide of this culture. Be courageous! Remember this, which helps me a great deal and on which I meditate frequently: take the First Book of Maccabees, and recall how many of the people wanted to adapt to the culture of the time: “No …! Leave us alone! Let us eat of everything, like the others do… Fine, yes to the Law, but not every part of it …”. And they ended up abandoning the faith and placing themselves in the current of that culture. Have the courage to go against the tide of this culture of efficiency, this culture of waste. Encountering and welcoming everyone, solidarity – a word that is being hidden by this culture, as if it were a bad word – solidarity and fraternity: these are what make our society truly human.
Be servants of communion and of the culture of encounter! I would like you to be almost obsessed about this. Be so without being presumptuous, imposing “our truths”, but rather be guided by the humble yet joyful certainty of those who have been found, touched and transformed by the Truth who is Christ, ever to be proclaimed (cf. Lk 24:13-35).
Dear brothers and sisters, God calls us, by name and surname, each one of us, to proclaim the Gospel and to promote the culture of encounter with joy. The Virgin Mary is our exemplar. In her life she was “a model of that motherly love with which all who join in the Church’s apostolic mission for the regeneration of humanity should be animated” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 65). Let us ask her to teach us to encounter one another in Jesus every day. And when we pretend not to notice because we have many things to do and the tabernacle is abandoned, may she take us by the hand. Let us ask this of her! Watch over me, Mother, when I am disoriented, and lead me by the hand. May you spur us on to meet our many brothers and sisters who are on the outskirts, who are hungry for God but have no one to proclaim him. May you not force us out of our homes, but encourage us to go out so that we may be disciples of the Lord. May you grant all of us this grace.


  • Recital of the Angelus Domini (Rio de Janeiro, 28 July 2013) 

Waterfront of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Sunday, 28 July 2013


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the end of this Mass, in which we have raised up to God our song of praise and thanksgiving for every grace received during this World Youth Day, I would like once more to thank Archbishop Orani Tempesta and Cardinal Ryłko for their kind words. I thank you too, dear young friends, for all the joy you have given me in these days. Thank you! I carry each one of you in my heart! Now let us turn our gaze to our heavenly Mother, the Virgin Mary. During these days, Jesus has insistently and repeatedly invited you to be his missionary disciples; you have listened to the voice of the Good Shepherd, calling you by name, and you have recognized the voice calling you (cf. Jn 10:4). Could it be that in this voice, resounding in your heart, you have felt the tenderness of God’s love? Have you experienced the beauty of following Christ together with others, in the Church? Have you understood more deeply that the Gospel is the answer to the desire for an even fuller life? (cf. Jn 10:10). Is this true?
The Immaculate Virgin intercedes for us in heaven as a good mother who watches over her children. May Mary teach us by her life what it means to be a missionary disciple. Every time we pray the Angelus, we recall the event that changed the history of mankind for ever. When the Angel Gabriel proclaimed to Mary that she would become the Mother of Jesus the Saviour, even without understanding the full significance of that call, she trusted God and replied: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). But what did she do immediately afterwards? On receiving the grace of being the Mother of the Incarnate Word, she did not keep that gift to herself; with a sense of responsibility, she set off from her home and went in haste to help her kinswoman Elizabeth, who was in need of assistance (cf. Lk 1:38-39); she carried out an act of love, of charity, and of practical service, bringing Jesus who was in her womb. And she did all this in haste!
There, my dear friends, we have our model. She who received the most precious gift from God, as her immediate response sets off to be of service and to bring Jesus. Let us ask Our Lady to help us too to give Christ’s joy to our families, our companions, our friends, to everyone. Never be afraid to be generous with Christ. It is worth it! Go out and set off with courage and generosity, so that every man and every woman may meet the Lord.
Dear young friends, we have an appointment for the next World Youth Day in 2016 in Kraków, Poland. Through Our Lady’s maternal intercession, let us ask for the light of the Holy Spirit upon the journey that will lead us to this next stage in our joyful celebration of faith and the love of Christ.
Now let us pray together ... [Angelus]


  • Meeting with the Coordinating Committee of CELAM at the Sumaré Study Center (Rio de Janeiro, 28 July 2013) 


Address to the Leadership of the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America 
during the General Coordination Meeting

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_697158.JPGSumaré Study Center, Rio de Janeiro
Sunday, 28 July 2013

1. Introduction
I thank the Lord for this opportunity to speak with you, my brother bishops, the leadership of CELAM for the four-year period from 2011 to 2015. For 57 years CELAM has served the 22 Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, working in a spirit of solidarity and subsidiarity to promote, encourage and improve collegiality among the bishops and communion between the region’s Churches and their pastors.
Like yourselves, I too witnessed the powerful working of the Spirit in the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopate in Aparecida, in May 2007, which continues to inspire the efforts of CELAM for the desired renewal of the Particular Churches. In many of them, this renewal is clearly taking place. I would like to focus this conversation on the legacy of that fraternal encounter, which all of us have chosen to call a Continental Mission.
2. Particular characteristics of Aparecida
There are four hallmarks of the Fifth Conference. They are like four pillars for the implementation of Aparecida, and they are what make it distinctive.
1) Starting without a document
Medellín, Puebla and Santo Domingo began their work with a process of preparation which culminated in a sort ofInstrumentum Laboris which then served as a basis for discussion, reflection and the approval of the final document. Aparecida, on the other hand, encouraged the participation of the Particular Churches as a process of preparation culminating in a document of synthesis. This document, while serving as a point of reference throughout the Fifth General Conference, was not taken as a starting point. The initial work consisted in pooling the concerns expressed by the bishops as they considered the new period of history we are living and the need to renew the life of discipleship and mission with which Christ founded the Church.
2) A setting of prayer with the people of God
It is important to remember the prayerful setting created by the daily sharing of the Eucharist and other liturgical moments, in which we were always accompanied by the People of God. On the other hand, since the deliberations took place in the undercroft of the Shrine, the music which accompanied them were the songs and the prayers of the faithful.
3) A document which continues in commitment, with the Continental Mission
This context of prayer and the life of faith gave rise to a desire for a new Pentecost for the Church and the commitment to undertake a Continental Mission. Aparecida did not end with a document; it continues in the Continental Mission.
4) The presence of Our Lady, Mother of America
It was the first conference of the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean to be held in a Marian shrine.
3. Dimensions of the Continental Mission
The Continental Mission is planned along two lines: the programmatic and the paradigmatic. The programmatic mission, as its name indicates, consists in a series of missionary activities. The paradigmatic mission, on the other hand, involves setting in a missionary key all the day-to-day activities of the Particular Churches. Clearly this entails a whole process of reforming ecclesial structures. The “change of structures” (from obsolete ones to new ones) will not be the result of reviewing an organizational flow chart, which would lead to a static reorganization; rather it will result from the very dynamics of mission. What makes obsolete structures pass away, what leads to a change of heart in Christians, is precisely missionary spirit. Hence the importance of the paradigmatic mission.
The Continental Mission, both programmatic and paradigmatic, calls for creating a sense of a Church which is organized to serve all the baptized, and men and women of goodwill. Christ’s followers are not individuals caught up in a privatized spirituality, but persons in community, devoting themselves to others. The Continental Mission thus impliesmembership in the Church.
An approach like this, which begins with missionary discipleship and involves understanding Christian identity as membership in the Church, demands that we clearly articulate the real challenges facing missionary discipleship. Here I will mention only two: the Church’s inner renewal and dialogue with the world around us.
The Church’s inner renewal
Aparecida considered Pastoral Conversion to be a necessity. This conversion involves believing in the Good News, believing in Jesus Christ as the bearer of God’s Kingdom as it breaks into the world and in his victorious presence over evil, believing in the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, believing in the Church, the Body of Christ and the prolonging of the dynamism of the incarnation.
Consequently, we, as pastors, need to ask questions about the actual state of the Churches which we lead. These questions can serve as a guide in examining where the dioceses stand in taking up the spirit of Aparecida; they are questions which we need to keep asking as an examination of conscience.
1. Do we see to it that our work, and that of our priests, is more pastoral than administrative? Who primarily benefits from our efforts, the Church as an organization or the People of God as a whole?
2. Do we fight the temptation simply to react to complex problems as they arise? Are we creating a proactive mindset? Do we promote opportunities and possibilities to manifest God's mercy? Are we conscious of our responsibility for refocusing pastoral approaches and the functioning of Church structures for the benefit of the faithful and society?
3. In practice, do we make the lay faithful sharers in the Mission? Do we offer them the word of God and the sacraments with a clear awareness and conviction that the Holy Spirit makes himself manifest in them?
4. Is pastoral discernment a habitual criterion, through the use of Diocesan Councils? Do such Councils and Parish Councils, whether pastoral or financial, provide real opportunities for lay people to participate in pastoral consultation, organization and planning? The good functioning of these Councils is critical. I believe that on this score, we are far behind.
5. As pastors, bishops and priests, are we conscious and convinced of the mission of the lay faithful and do we give them the freedom to continue discerning, in a way befitting their growth as disciples, the mission which the Lord has entrusted to them? Do we support them and accompany them, overcoming the temptation to manipulate them or infantilize them? Are we constantly open to letting ourselves be challenged in our efforts to advance the good of the Church and her mission in the world?
6. Do pastoral agents and the faithful in general feel part of the Church, do they identify with her and bring her closer to the baptized who are distant and alienated?
As can be appreciated, what is at stake here are attitudes. Pastoral Conversion is chiefly concerned with attitudes and reforming our lives. A change of attitudes is necessarily something ongoing: “it is a process”, and it can only be kept on track with the help of guidance and discernment. It is important always to keep in mind that the compass preventing us from going astray is that of Catholic identity, understood as membership in the Church.
Dialogue with the world around us
We do well to recall the words of the Second Vatican Council: “The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well” (Gaudium et Spes, 1). Here we find the basis for our dialogue with the contemporary world.
Responding to the existential issues of people today, especially the young, listening to the language they speak, can lead to a fruitful change, which must take place with the help of the Gospel, the magisterium, and the Church’s social doctrine. The scenarios and the areopagi involved are quite varied. For example, a single city can contain various collective imaginations which create “different cities”. If we remain within the parameters of our “traditional culture”, which was essentially rural, we will end up nullifying the power of the Holy Spirit. God is everywhere: we have to know how to find him in order to be able to proclaim him in the language of each and every culture; every reality, every language, has its own rhythm.
4. Some temptations against missionary discipleship
The decision for missionary discipleship will encounter temptation. It is important to know where the evil spirit is afoot in order to aid our discernment. It is not a matter of chasing after demons, but simply one of clear-sightedness and evangelical astuteness. I will mention only a few attitudes which are evidence of a Church which is “tempted”. It has to do with recognizing certain contemporary proposals which can parody the process of missionary discipleship and hold back, even bring to a halt, the process of Pastoral Conversion.
1. Making the Gospel message an ideology. This is a temptation which has been present in the Church from the beginning: the attempt to interpret the Gospel apart from the Gospel itself and apart from the Church. An example: Aparecida, at one particular moment, felt this temptation. It employed, and rightly so, the method of “see, judge and act” (cf. No. 19). The temptation, though, was to opt for a way of “seeing” which was completely “antiseptic”, detached and unengaged, which is impossible. The way we “see” is always affected by the way we direct our gaze. There is no such thing as an “antiseptic” hermeneutics. The question was, rather: How are we going to look at reality in order to see it? Aparecida replied: With the eyes of discipleship. This is the way Nos. 20-32 are to be understood. There are other ways of making the message an ideology, and at present proposals of this sort are appearing in Latin America and the Caribbean. I mention only a few:
a) Sociological reductionism. This is the most readily available means of making the message an ideology. At certain times it has proved extremely influential. It involves an interpretative claim based on a hermeneutics drawn from the social sciences. It extends to the most varied fields, from market liberalism to Marxist categorization.
b) Psychologizing. Here we have to do with an elitist hermeneutics which ultimately reduces the “encounter with Jesus Christ” and its development to a process of growing self-awareness. It is ordinarily to be found in spirituality courses, spiritual retreats, etc. It ends up being an immanent, self-centred approach. It has nothing to do with transcendence and consequently, with missionary spirit.
c) The Gnostic solution. Closely linked to the previous temptation, it is ordinarily found in elite groups offering a higher spirituality, generally disembodied, which ends up in a preoccupation with certain pastoral “quaestiones disputatae”. It was the first deviation in the early community and it reappears throughout the Church’s history in ever new and revised versions. Generally its adherents are known as “enlightened Catholics” (since they are in fact rooted in the culture of the Enlightenment).
d) The Pelagian solution. This basically appears as a form of restorationism. In dealing with the Church’s problems, a purely disciplinary solution is sought, through the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful. In Latin America it is usually to be found in small groups, in some new religious congregations, in exaggerated tendencies toward doctrinal or disciplinary “safety”. Basically it is static, although it is capable of inversion, in a process of regression. It seeks to “recover” the lost past.
2. Functionalism. Its effect on the Church is paralyzing. More than being interested in the road itself, it is concerned with fixing holes in the road. A functionalist approach has no room for mystery; it aims at efficiency. It reduces the reality of the Church to the structure of an NGO. What counts are quantifiable results and statistics. The Church ends up being run like any other business organization. It applies a sort of “theology of prosperity” to the organization of pastoral work.
3. Clericalism is also a temptation very present in Latin America. Curiously, in the majority of cases, it has to do with a sinful complicity: the priest clericalizes the lay person and the lay person kindly asks to be clericalized, because deep down it is easier. The phenomenon of clericalism explains, in great part, the lack of maturity and Christian freedom in some of the Latin American laity. Either they simply do not grow (the majority), or else they take refuge in forms of ideology like those we have just seen, or in partial and limited ways of belonging. Yet in our countries there does exist a form of freedom of the laity which finds expression in communal experiences: Catholic as community. Here one sees a greater autonomy, which on the whole is a healthy thing, basically expressed through popular piety. The chapter of the Aparecida document on popular piety describes this dimension in detail. The spread of bible study groups, of ecclesial basic communities and of Pastoral Councils is in fact helping to overcome clericalism and to increase lay responsibility.
We could continue by describing other temptations against missionary discipleship, but I consider these to be the most important and influential at present for Latin America and the Caribbean.
5. Some ecclesiological guidelines
1. The missionary discipleship which Aparecida proposed to the Churches of Latin America and the Caribbean is the journey which God desires for the present “today”. Every utopian (future-oriented) or restorationist (past-oriented) impulse is spiritually unhealthy. God is real and he shows himself in the “today”. With regard to the past, his presence is given to us as “memory” of his saving work, both in his people and in each of us as individuals; with regard to the future, he gives himself to us as “promise” and hope. In the past God was present and left his mark: memory helps us to encounter him; in the future is promise alone… he is not in the thousand and one “futuribles”. The “today” is closest to eternity; even more: the “today” is a flash of eternity. In the “today”, eternal life is in play.
Missionary discipleship is a vocation: a call and an invitation. It is given in the “today”, but also “in tension”. There is no such thing as static missionary discipleship. A missionary disciple cannot be his own master, his immanence is in tension towards the transcendence of discipleship and towards the transcendence of mission. It does not allow for self-absorption: either it points to Jesus Christ or it points to the people to whom he must be proclaimed. The missionary disciple is a self-transcending subject, a subject projected towards encounter: an encounter with the Master (who anoints us as his disciples) and an encounter with men and women who await the message.
That is why I like saying that the position of missionary disciples is not in the centre but at the periphery: they live poised towards the peripheries… including the peripheries of eternity, in the encounter with Jesus Christ. In the preaching of the Gospel, to speak of “existential peripheries” decentralizes things; as a rule, we are afraid to leave the centre. The missionary disciple is someone “off centre”: the centre is Jesus Christ, who calls us and sends us forth. The disciple is sent to the existential peripheries.
2. The Church is an institution, but when she makes herself a “centre”, she becomes merely functional, and slowly but surely turns into a kind of NGO. The Church then claims to have a light of her own, and she stops being that “mysterium lunae” of which the Church Fathers spoke. She becomes increasingly self-referential and loses her need to be missionary. From an “institution” she becomes a “enterprise”. She stops being a bride and ends up being an administrator; from being a servant, she becomes an “inspector”. Aparecida wanted a Church which is bride, mother and servant, more a facilitator of faith than an inspector of faith.
3. In Aparecida, two pastoral categories stand out; they arise from the uniqueness of the Gospel, and we can employ them as guidelines for assessing how we are living missionary discipleship in the Church: nearness and encounter. Neither of these two categories is new; rather, they are the way God has revealed himself to us in history. He is the “God who is near” to his people, a nearness which culminates in the incarnation. He is the God who goes forth to meet his people. In Latin America and the Caribbean there are pastoral plans which are “distant”, disciplinary pastoral plans which give priority to principles, forms of conduct, organizational procedures… and clearly lack nearness, tenderness, a warm touch. They do not take into account the “revolution of tenderness” brought by the incarnation of the Word. There are pastoral plans designed with such a dose of distance that they are incapable of sparking an encounter: an encounter with Jesus Christ, an encounter with our brothers and sisters. Such pastoral plans can at best provide a dimension of proselytism, but they can never inspire people to feel part of or belong to the Church. Nearness creates communion and belonging; it makes room for encounter. Nearness takes the form of dialogue and creates a culture of encounter. One touchstone for measuring whether a pastoral plan embodies nearness and a capacity for encounter is the homily. What are our homilies like? Do we imitate the example of our Lord, who spoke “as one with authority”, or are they simply moralizing, detached, abstract?
4. Those who direct pastoral work, the Continental Mission (both programmatic and paradigmatic) are the bishops. Bishops must lead, which is not the same thing as being authoritarian. As well as pointing to the great figures of the Latin American episcopate, which we all know, I would like to add a few things about the profile of the bishop, which I already presented to the Nuncios at our meeting in Rome. Bishops must be pastors, close to people, fathers and brothers, and gentle, patient and merciful. Men who love poverty, both interior poverty, as freedom before the Lord, and exterior poverty, as simplicity and austerity of life. Men who do not think and behave like “princes”. Men who are not ambitious, who are married to one church without having their eyes on another. Men capable of watching over the flock entrusted to them and protecting everything that keeps it together: guarding their people out of concern for the dangers which could threaten them, but above all instilling hope: so that light will shine in people’s hearts. Men capable of supporting with love and patience God’s dealings with his people. The Bishop has to be among his people in three ways: in front of them, pointing the way; among them, keeping them together and preventing them from being scattered; and behind them, ensuring that no one is left behind, but also, and primarily, so that the flock itself can sniff out new paths.
I do not wish to go into further detail about the person of the Bishop, but simply to add, including myself in this statement, that we are lagging somewhat as far as Pastoral Conversion is concerned. We need to help one another a bit more in taking the steps that the Lord asks of us in the “today” of Latin America and the Caribbean. And this is a good place to start.
I thank you for your patience in listening to me. Pardon me if my remarks have been somewhat disjointed and please, I beg that we take seriously our calling as servants of the holy and faithful people of God, for this is where authority is exercised and demonstrated: in the ability to serve. Many thanks.


  • Meeting with the Volunteers of the 28th WYD at the Pavillon 5 of the Rio Center (Rio de Janeiro, 28 July 2013) 

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_697158.JPGMEETING WITH THE VOLUNTEERS OF THE XXVIII WYD
Pavillon 5 of the Rio Center, Rio de Janeiro
Sunday, 28 July 2013


Dear Volunteers, Good evening!
I could not return to Rome without first thanking all of you in a personal and affectionate way for the work and dedication with which you have accompanied, helped, and served the thousands of young pilgrims, and for the countless little ways by which you have made this World Youth Day an unforgettable experience of faith. With your smiles, your acts of kindness and your willingness to serve, you have shown that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
The service you have given during these days brings to mind the mission of Saint John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus. Every one of you, each in his or her own way, was a means enabling thousands of young people to “prepare the way” to meet Jesus. And this is the most beautiful service we can give as missionary disciples. To prepare the way so that all people may know, meet and love the Lord. To you who in these days responded with such readiness and generosity to the call to be volunteers for World Youth Day, I say: May you always be generous with God and with others: one loses nothing thereby, but gains great enrichment in life.
God calls you to make definitive choices, and he has a plan for each of you: to discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move toward personal fulfilment. God calls each of us to be holy, to live his life, but he has a particular path for each one of us. Some are called to holiness through family life in the sacrament of Marriage. Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion. Is it out of fashion? In a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of “enjoying” the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, “for ever”, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage “to swim against the tide”. And also have the courage to be happy.
The Lord calls some to be priests, to give themselves to him more fully, so as to love all people with the heart of the Good Shepherd. Some he calls to the service of others in the religious life: devoting themselves in monasteries to praying for the good of the world, and in various areas of the apostolate, giving of themselves for the sake of all, especially those most in need. I will never forget that day, 21 September – I was 17 years old – when, after stopping in the Church of San José de Flores to go to confession, I first heard God calling me. Do not be afraid of what God asks of you! It is worth saying “yes” to God. In him we find joy!
Dear young people, some of you may not yet know what you will do with your lives. Ask the Lord, and he will show you the way. The young Samuel kept hearing the voice of the Lord who was calling him, but he did not understand or know what to say, yet with the help of the priest Eli, in the end he answered: Speak, Lord, for I am listening (cf. 1 Sam 3:1-10). You too can ask the Lord: What do you want me to do? What path am I to follow?
Dear friends, I thank you once more for all you have done during these days. I thank your parish groups, and the movements and new communities who have placed their members at the service of WYD. Thank you! Do not forget what you have experienced here! You can always count on my prayers, and I know I can count on yours. One last thing: pray for me.


  • Farewell Ceremony at the Galeão/Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (Rio de Janeiro, 28 July 2013

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_697158.JPG FAREWELL CEREMONY ADDRESS OF POPE FRANCIS

Mr. Vice-President,
Distinguished National, State and Local Authorities,
Dear Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro,
Dear Cardinals and Brother Bishops,
Dear Friends,

I am about to leave your country to return to Rome. I depart with many happy memories which I know will nourish my prayers. Already I am beginning to miss Brazil, this great people showing so much affection and friendship. I shall miss the natural and warm smiles I have seen in so many faces, and the enthusiasm shown by the volunteers. I shall miss the hope filling the eyes of the young people in the Hospital of Saint Francis. I shall miss the faith and joy shown by the residents of Varginha in the midst of their hardship. I know that Christ is truly present in the lives of countless young people and in the lives of many whom I have met during this unforgettable week. Thank you for the warm welcome and the friendship that have been offered to me. This too I shall miss.
In particular, I would like to thank Madam President, represented here by the Vice-President, for having expressed the sentiments of the entire population of Brazil towards the Successor of Peter. I warmly extend gratitude to my brother Bishops and to their many collaborators for making this week a splendid celebration of the richness and joy of our faith in Jesus Christ. I wish to thank, in a particular way, Archbishop Orani Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro, his Auxiliary Bishops, and Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno, President of the Bishops’ Conference. I thank all those who took part in the eucharistic celebrations and other events, and I thank those who organized them and those who worked to broadcast them through the media. Finally, I wish to thank all those who in one way or another rose to the challenge of hosting and organizing the large numbers of young people. And not least my gratitude goes to the many people who prayed, often in silence and simplicity, for this World Youth Day to be an authentic experience of growth in faith. May God reward all of you, as only he can!
As I express my thanks and bid farewell, my thoughts turn to those who are at the heart of these celebrations: the young people! May God bless you for the beautiful witness of your lives and for your intense and joyful participation over these last few days. Many of you came here as disciples; I have no doubt that all of you will leave as missionaries. Through your joyful witness and service, help to build a civilization of love. Show, by your life, that it is worth giving your time and talents in order to attain high ideals, it is worth recognizing the dignity of each human person, and it is worth taking risks for Christ and his Gospel. It is he that we have come to seek because he first sought us. It is he who has inflamed our hearts with the desire to take the Good News to the large cities and to the small communities, to the countryside and to all the corners of this vast planet. I will always place my hopes in the young people of Brazil and in the young around the world: through them, Christ is preparing a new springtime all over the earth. I have seen its first fruits and I know that others will joyfully reap the full harvest.
Finally, my thoughts turn to Our Lady of Aparecida, to whom I also bid farewell. In that beloved Shrine I knelt to pray for the entire human family and in particular for all Brazilians. I implored Mary to strengthen you in the Christian faith, which forms part of the noble soul of Brazil, as indeed of many other countries; this faith is your culture’s treasure and serves as encouragement and support in the task of building a renewed humanity in harmony and solidarity.
As he departs, the Pope says to all of you affectionately: “see you soon”. He asks you not to forget to pray for him. The Pope needs the prayers of all of you. I offer you an affectionate embrace. May God bless you!


  • Press Conference of the Holy Father during the return flight (28 July 2013)

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_697158.JPGPRESS CONFERENCE OF POPE FRANCIS

Papal Flight
Sunday, 28 July 2013


Father Lombardi:
Now, my friends, we are delighted to have the Holy Father, Pope Francis, with us on this return flight.  He has been good enough to allow plenty of time to review the visit with us and to respond in complete freedom to your questions.  I shall ask him to give us a brief introduction and then we will begin with the list of those who have asked to speak, and we will take them from different national groups and language groups.  So, over to you, Your Holiness, for your words of introduction.
Pope Francis:
Good evening, and thank you very much.  I am pleased.  It has been a good journey, spiritually it has done me good.  I am quite tired, but my heart is joyful, and I am well, really well:  this has done me good spiritually.  Meeting people does me good, because the Lord works in each one of us, he works in our hearts, and the Lord’s riches are so great that we can always receive many wonderful things from others.  And this does me good.  So that is my first reflection.  Then, I would say that the goodness, the hearts of the Brazilian people, are big, really big.  They are a very lovable people, a people who like to celebrate, who even amid suffering always find a path to seek out the good somewhere.  And this is good: they are lively people, and they have suffered greatly!  The liveliness of the Brazilians is contagious, it really is!  And these people have big hearts.  Then, I would say of the organizers, both at our end and those at the Brazilian end, well! I felt as if I was sitting in front of a computer, an incarnate computer ... no, really!  Everything was timed so well, wasn’t it?  It was wonderful.  Then, we had problems with the plans for security: security here, security there; there wasn’t a single accident in the whole of Rio de Janeiro during these days, and everything was spontaneous.  With less security, I could have been with the people, I could have embraced them, greeted them, without armoured cars ... there is security in trusting a people.  It is true that there is always the danger of some mad person .. the danger that some mad person will do something, but then there is the Lord!  But to make an armed space between the bishop and the people is madness, and I prefer the other madness:  away with it! And run the risk of the other madness!  I prefer this madness: away with it!  Closeness is good for us all.
Then, the organization of WYD, not any particular aspect, but overall: the artistic element, the religious element, the catechetical element, the liturgical element .. it was all wonderful!  They have the capacity to express themselves in art.  Yesterday, for example, they did really lovely things, really lovely!  Then, Aparecida:  Aparecida for me was a powerful religious experience.  I remember the Fifth Conference, I went there to pray, to pray.  I wanted to go alone, somewhat hidden, but there was an impressive crowd!  But it is not possible, as I knew before I arrived.  And we prayed.  I don’t know ... one thing ... but on your part as well, your work, they tell me – I didn’t read the newspapers during these days, I didn’t have time, I didn’t see the television, nothing – but they tell me that good work was done, really good work.  Thank you, thank you for your collaboration, thank you for doing all this.  Then the number, the number of young people.  Today – I can hardly believe it – but today, the Governor spoke of three million.  I cannot believe it.  But from the altar – it’s true!  I don’t know whether you, or some of you, were at the altar.  From the altar, at the end of Mass, the whole beach was full, as far as the curve; more than four kilometres.  There were so many young people.  And they say, Archbishop Tempesta said, they came from 178 countries: 178!  The Vice-President gave me the same figure, so it’s certain.  It is important!  Amazing!
Father Lombardi:
Thank you.  Now we invite Juan de Lara to speak first, from Efe, he is Spanish, and it is the last journey he will make with us.  So we are pleased to give him this opportunity.
Juan de Lara:
Your Holiness, good evening.  On behalf of all our colleagues, we want to thank you for these days that you have given us in Rio de Janeiro, for the work that you have done and the effort you have made.  And also, on behalf of all the Spanish journalists, we want to thank you for your prayers for the victims of the train accident in Santiago de Compostela.  Thank you very much indeed.  The first question does not have much to do with the journey, but we take the opportunity that this occasion gives us, and I would like to ask you: Your Holiness, in these four months of pontificate, we see that you have created various commissions to reform the Curia.  I want to ask you: what kind of reform do you have in mind, do you foresee the possibility of suppressing the IOR, the so-called Vatican Bank?  Thank you.
Pope Francis:
The steps I have taken during these four and a half months come from two sources: the content of what had to be done, all of it, comes from the General Congregations of the Cardinals.  There were certain things that we Cardinals asked of the one who was to be the new Pope.  I remember that I asked for many things, thinking that it would be someone else...  We asked, for example, for the Commission of eight Cardinals, we know that it is important to have an outside body of consultors, not the consultation bodies that already exist, but one on the outside.  This is entirely in keeping – here I am making a mental abstraction, but it’s the way I try to explain it – in keeping with the maturing of the relationship between synodality and primacy.  In other words, having these eight Cardinals will favour synodality, they will help the various episcopates of the world to express themselves in the very government of the Church.  There were many proposals made that have yet to be implemented, such as the reform of the Secretariat of the Synod and its methodology; the Post-Synodal commission, which would have a permanent consultative character; the consistories of Cardinals with less formal agendas, canonization, for example, but also other items, etc.  So the source of the content is to be found there!  The second source has to do with present circumstances.  I admit that it was no great effort for me, during the first month of the pontificate, to organize the Commission of the eight Cardinals, which is an initial step.  The financial part I was planning to address next year, because it is not the most important thing that needed to be done.  But the agenda changed on account of circumstances that you know about, that are in the public domain.  Problems arose that had to be dealt with.  The first is the problem of the IOR, that is to say, how to manage it, how to conceptualize it, how to reformulate it, how to put right what needs to be put right, hence the first Commission of Reference, as it is called.  You are familiar with the chirograph, what the aims are, who the members are, etc.  Then we had the meeting of the Commission of 15 Cardinals who follow the economic affairs of the Holy See.  They come from all over the world.  And then, while we were preparing for this meeting, we saw the need to make a single Commission of Reference for the whole economy of the Holy See.  That is to say, the economic problem was not on the agenda when it had to be addressed, but these things happen when you’re in governance: you try to go in one direction, but then someone throws you a ball from another direction, and you have to bat it back.  Isn’t that the way it is?  So, life is like that, but this too is part of the wonder of life.  I repeat the question that you asked me about the IOR, excuse me, I’m speaking Spanish.  Excuse me, the answer came to me in Spanish.
Returning to the question you asked about the IOR, I don’t know how the IOR will end up.  Some say perhaps it would be better as a bank, others say it should be an aid fund, others say it should be shut down.  Well!  That’s what people are saying.  I don’t know.  I trust the work done by the IOR personnel, who are working on this, and the Commission personnel too.  The President of the IOR is staying, the same one as before, whereas the Director and Vice-Director have resigned.  But I don’t know how all this is going to end up, and that’s fine, because we keep looking and we will come up with something.  We are human in all this.  We must find the best solution, no doubt about that.  But the hallmarks of the IOR – whether it be a bank, an aid fund, or whatever else – have to be transparency and honesty, they have to be.  Thank you.
Father Lombardi:
Many thanks, Your Holiness.  So, now we move on to a person from the representatives of the Italian group, and we have someone you know well:  Andrea Tornielli, who is going to ask you a question on behalf of the Italian group.
Andrea Tornielli:
Holy Father, I want to ask something perhaps a little indiscreet: there was a photograph that went all over the world when we set off, of you climbing the steps of the aeroplane carrying a black brief-case, and there have been articles all over the world commenting on this new departure.  Yes, about the Pope climbing the steps – let’s say it had never happened before that the Pope should climb on board with his own hand-luggage.  So, there have been various suggestions about what the black bag contained.  So my questions are these:  firstly, why was it you carrying the black bag, and not one of your entourage, and secondly, could you tell us what was in it?  Thank you.
Pope Francis:
It wasn’t the key for the atom bomb!  Well!  I was carrying it because that’s what I’ve always done.  When I travel, I carry it.  And inside, what was there?  There was a razor, a breviary, an appointment book, a book to read, I brought one about Saint Thérèse, to whom I have a devotion.  I have always taken a bag with me when travelling – it’s normal.  But we must be normal ... I don’t know ... what you say is a bit strange for me, that the photograph went all over the world.  But we must get used to being normal.  The normality of life.  I don’t know, Andrea, whether I have answered your question.
Father Lombardi:
Now we will invite a representative of the Portuguese language to speak, Aura Miguel, who is from Radio Renascença:
Aura Miguel:
Your Holiness, I want to ask why you ask so insistently that people pray for you?  It isn’t normal, we’re not used to hearing a Pope ask so often that people pray for him...
Pope Francis:
I have always asked this.  When I was a priest, I asked it, but less frequently.  I began to ask with greater frequency while I was working as a bishop, because I sense that if the Lord does not help in this work of assisting the People of God to go forward, it can’t be done.  I am truly conscious of my many limitations, with so many problems, and I a sinner – as you know! – and I have to ask for this.  But it comes from within!  I ask Our Lady too to pray to the Lord for me.  It is a habit, but a habit that comes from my heart and also a real need in terms of my work.  I feel I have to ask ... I don’t know, that’s the way it is ...
Father Lombardi:
Now we pass to the English language group, and we invite our colleague Mr Pullella from Reuters, here in front, to speak.
Philip Pullella:
Your Holiness, thank you, on behalf of the English group, for making yourself available.  Our colleague de Lara has already put the question that we wanted to ask, so I will continue just a little further along the same lines:  When you were seeking to make these changes, I remember you said to the group from Latin America that there are many saints working in the Vatican, but also people who are rather less saintly, didn’t you?  Have you encountered resistance to your wish to change things in the Vatican?  Have you met with resistance?  The second question is this: you live in a very austere manner, you have remained at Santa Marta, and so on... Would you like your collaborators, including the Cardinals, to follow this example, and perhaps to live in community, or is this something for you alone?
Pope Francis:
The changes ... the changes also come from two sources:  what we Cardinals asked for, and what has to do with my own personality.  You mentioned the fact that I remained at Santa Marta.  But I could not live alone in the Palace, and it is not luxurious.  The Papal apartment is not particularly luxurious!  It is a fair size, but it is not luxurious.  But I cannot live alone or with just a few people!  I need people, I need to meet people, to talk to people.  And that’s why when the children from the Jesuit schools asked me: “Why did you do that?  For austerity, for poverty?”  No, it was for psychological reasons, simply, because psychologically I can’t do otherwise.  Everyone has to lead his own life, everyone has his own way of living and being.  The Cardinals who work in the Curia do not live wealthy, opulent lives: they live in small apartments, they are austere, they really are, austere.  The ones I know, the apartments that APSA provides for the Cardinals.  Then it seems to me that there is something else I wanted to say.  Everyone has to live as the Lord asks him to live.  But austerity – general austerity – I think it is necessary for all of us who work in the service of the Church.  There are many shades of austerity .. everyone must seek his own path.  With regard to the saints, it’s true, there are saints:  cardinals, priests, bishops, sisters, laypersons; people who pray, people who work hard, and who also help the poor, in hidden ways.  I know of some who take trouble to give food to the poor, and then, in their free time, go to minister in this or that church.  They are priests.  There are saints in the Curia.  And there are some who are not so saintly, and these are the ones you tend to hear about.  You know that one tree falling makes more noise than a whole forest growing.  And it pains me when these things happen.  But there are some who create scandal, some.  We have this Monsignor in prison, I think he is still in prison.  He didn’t exactly go to prison because he was like Blessed Imelda, he was no saint.  These are scandals, and they do harm.  One thing – I’ve never said this before, but I have come to realize it – I think that the Curia has fallen somewhat from the level it once had, in the days of the old curialists ... the profile of the old curialist, faithful, doing his work.  We need these people.  I think ... there are some, but not as many as there once were.  The profile of the old curialist: I would say that.  We need more of them.  Do I encounter resistance!  Well!  If there is resistance, I haven’t seen it yet.  It’s true that I haven’t done much, but I would say that I have found help, and I have found loyal people.  For example, I like it when people say to me: “I don’t agree”, and I have found this.  “But I don’t see that, I disagree:  that’s what I think, you do as you wish.”  This is a real collaborator.  And I have found people like this in the Curia.  And this is good.  But when there are those who say: “Oh, how wonderful, how wonderful, how wonderful”, and then they say the opposite somewhere else... I have yet to come across this.  Maybe it happens, maybe there are some like this, but I’m not aware of them..  Resistance: in four months, you won’t find that much.
Father Lombardi:
Well, now we pass to a Brazilian lady, as seems only right.  So here is Patricia Zorzan, and perhaps Mr Izoard could come forward, so that we can have a French speaker next.
Patricia Zorzan:
Speaking on behalf of the Brazilians: society has changed, young people have changed, and in Brazil we have seen a great many young people.  You did not speak about abortion, about same-sex marriage.  In Brazil a law has been approved which widens the right to abortion and permits marriage between people of the same sex.  Why did you not speak about this?
Pope Francis:
The Church has already spoken quite clearly on this.  It was unnecessary to return to it, just as I didn’t speak about cheating, lying, or other matters on which the Church has a clear teaching!
Patricia Zorzan:
But the young are interested in this ...
Pope Francis:
Yes, though it wasn’t necessary to speak of it, but rather of the positive things that open up the path to young people.  Isn’t that right!  Besides, young people know perfectly well what the Church’s position is.
Patricia Zorzan:
What is Your Holiness’ position, if we may ask?
Pope Francis:
The position of the Church.  I am a son of the Church.
Father Lombardi:
Well, now let’s return to the Spanish group, Dario Menor Torres ..., oh, excuse me, Mr Izoard, whom we have already called forward, so that we have someone from the French group – and then Dario Menor.
Antonie-Marie Izoard:
Greetings, Your Holiness, on behalf of my francophone colleagues on board – there are nine of us on this flight – for a Pope who does not want to give interviews, we are truly grateful to you.  Ever since 13 March, you have presented yourself as the Bishop of Rome, with great, very great insistence.  So, we would like to understand the deep significance of this insistence, whether perhaps, rather than collegiality, we are perhaps speaking about ecumenism, perhaps of your being the primus inter pares of the Church?  Thank you.
Pope Francis:
Yes, in this, we must not go beyond what is said.  The Pope is a bishop, the Bishop of Rome, and because he is the Bishop of Rome he is the Successor of Peter, Vicar of Christ.  There are other titles, but the first title is “Bishop of Rome” and everything follows from that.  To say, to think that this means being primus inter pares, no, that does not follow.  It is simply the Pope’s first title: Bishop of Rome.  But there are others too ... I think you said something about ecumenism.  I think this actually helps ecumenism.  But only this ...
Father Lombardi:
Now Dario Menor from La Razón, from Spain:
Dario Menor Torres:
A question about how you feel.  A week ago you mentioned that a child had asked you how it felt, whether someone could imagine being Pope and whether anyone would want to be Pope.  You said that people would have to be mad to want that.  After your first experience among a great multitude of people, such as you found during these days in Rio, can you tell us how it feels to be Pope, whether it is very hard, whether you are happy to be Pope, whether in some way your faith has grown, or whether, on the contrary, you have had some doubts.  Thank you.
Pope Francis:
To do the work of a bishop is a wonderful thing, it is wonderful.  The problem arises when someone seeks that work: this is not so good, this is not from the Lord.  But when the Lord calls a priest to become a bishop, this is good.  There is always the danger of thinking oneself a little superior to others, not like others, something of a prince.  There are dangers and sins.  But the work of a bishop is wonderful: it is to help one’s brothers and sisters to move forward.  The bishop ahead of the faithful, to mark out the path; the bishop in the midst of the faithful, to foster communion; and the bishop behind the faithful, because the faithful can often sniff out the path.  The bishop must be like that.  You asked me whether I like it.  Yes, I like being a bishop, I like it.  In Buenos Aires I was very happy, very happy!  I was happy, it’s true.  The Lord helped me in that.  But as a priest I was happy, and as a bishop I was happy.  In this sense I say: I like it!
Question from the floor:
And as Pope?
Pope Francis:
Likewise, likewise!  When the Lord puts you there, if you do what the Lord wants, you are happy.  This is my feeling, this is how I feel.
Father Lombardi:
Now another from the Italian group:  Salvatore Mazza from “Avvenire”.
Salvatore Mazza:
I cannot even stand up.  Excuse me, I cannot even stand up, for all the wires I have under my feet.  We have seen during these days, we have seen you full of energy, even late in the evening.  We are watching you now on board the aircraft which is tilting from side to side, and you are calmly standing there, without a moment’s hesitation.  We would like to ask you: there is talk of future journeys.  There is much talk of Asia, Jerusalem, Argentina.  Do you already have a more or less definite schedule for next year, or is everything still to be decided?
Pope Francis:
Definite, nothing is definite.  But I can say something of what is being planned.  One thing that is definite – excuse me – is 22 September in Cagliari.  Then, 4 October in Assisi.  I have it in mind, within Italy, to go and visit my relatives for a day: to fly there one morning and to return the next morning, because, bless them, they call me and we have a good relationship.  But only for one day.  Outside Italy:  Patriarch Bartholomaios I wants to have a meeting to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Athenagoras and Paul VI in Jerusalem.  The Israeli Government has also issued a special invitation to go to Jerusalem.  I think the Government of the Palestinian Authority has done the same.  This is what is in the pipeline: it is not quite clear whether I’m going or not going ... Then, in Latin America, I don’t think there is a possibility of returning, because the Latin American Pope, his first journey is to Latin America!  Enough!  We must wait a little now!  I think I could go to Asia, but this is all up in the air.  I have been invited to go to Sri Lanka and also to the Philippines.  But I must go to Asia.  Because Pope Benedict did not have time to go to Asia, and it is important.  He went to Australia and then to Europe and America, but Asia...  Going to Argentina: at the moment I think this can wait a little, because all these journeys have a certain priority.  I wanted to go to Istanbul on 30 September, to visit Bartholomaios I, but it is not possible, it is not possible because of my schedule.  If we meet, it will be in Jerusalem.
Question from the floor:
Pope Francis:
Fatima, there is also an invitation to Fatima, it’s true, it’s true.  There is an invitation to go to Fatima.
Question from the floor:
30 September or 30 November?
Pope Francis:
November, November: Saint Andrew.
Father Lombardi:
Good.  Well, now we move to the United States, and we invite Ada Messia from CNN to ask you a question:
Ada Messia:
Greetings.  You are coping better than I ... No, no, no, it’s all right, it’s all right.  My question is this:  when you met the young people from Argentina, maybe with tongue in cheek, maybe seriously, you told them that you too, at times, feel penned in.  We would like to know what exactly you were referring to ...
Pope Francis:
You know how often I’ve wanted to go walking through the streets of Rome, because, in Buenos Aires, I liked to go for a walk in the city, I really liked to do that!  In this sense, I feel a little penned in.  But I have to say one thing and that is that these fellows from the Vatican Gendarmerie are so good, they are really, really good, and I am grateful to them.  Now they’re letting me do a few more things!  I think… their job is to maintain security.  So, penned in in that sense. I’d like to go out walking but I understand that it isn’t possible: I understand.  That was what I meant.  Because I used to be – as we say in Buenos Aires – a callejero, a street priest…
Father Lombardi:
And now we call on another Brazilian: it is Marcio Campos, and I also ask Mr Guénois to come up for the next question, for the French.
Pope Francis:
I was asking what time it is, because they have to serve supper, but are you all hungry?
No, no…
Marcio Campos:
Holy Father, I want to say that whenever you miss Brazil, the joyful Brazilian people, hold onto the flag that I gave you.  I would also like to thank my colleagues at the daily newspapers Folha de São PauloEstadoGlobo and Veja for being able to represent them in this question.  Holy Father, it is difficult to accompany a Pope, very difficult.  We are all tired, you are going strong and we are exhausted…  In Brazil, the Catholic Church has lost a number of the faithful in these recent years.  Is the Charismatic Renewal movement one possible way for ensuring that the faithful do not go to the Pentecostal Church or other pentecostal churches?  Many thanks for your presence and many thanks for being with us.
Pope Francis:
It is very true what you are saying about the fall in numbers of the faithful: it is true, it is true.  The statistics are there.  We spoke with the Brazilian bishops about the problem at a meeting held yesterday.  You asked about the Charismatic Renewal movement.  I’ll tell you one thing.  Back at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, I had no time for them.  Once, speaking about them, I said: “These people confuse a liturgical celebration with samba lessons!”  I actually said that.  Now I regret it.  I learned.  It is also true that the movement, with good leaders, has made great progress.  Now I think that this movement does much good for the Church, overall.  In Buenos Aires, I met frequently with them and once a year I celebrated a Mass with all of them in the Cathedral.  I have always supported them, after I was converted, after I saw the good they were doing.  Because at this time in the Church – and here I’ll make my answer a little more general – I believe that the movements are necessary.  The movements are a grace of the Spirit.  “But how can you control a movement which is so free?”   The Church is free, too!  The Holy Spirit does what he wants.  He is the one who creates harmony, but I do believe that the movements are a grace, those movements which have the spirit of the Church.  Consequently I don’t think that the Charismatic Renewal movement merely prevents some people from passing over to pentecostal denominations.  No!  It is also a service to the Church herself!  It renews us.  Everyone seeks his own movement, according to his own charism, where the Holy Spirit draws him or her.
Question in the background:
Pope Francis:
Yo estoy cansado.  I am tired.
Father Lombardi:
So, Mr Guénois from Le Figaro, for the French group.
Jean-Marie Guénois:
Holy Father, one question, with my colleague from La Croix: You have said that without women, the Church grows barren.  What concrete measures will you take?  For example, the diaconate for women or a woman as a head of dicastery?  Also, a little technical question: you said you were tired.  Have special arrangements been made for the return flight?  Thank you, Your Holiness.
Pope Francis:
Let’s begin with the last question.  This plane doesn’t have any special arrangements.  I am up front, I have a nice seat, a normal one, the same as everyone else has.  I had them write a letter and make a phone call to say that I did not want special arrangements on the plane: is that clear?  Second, about women.  A Church without women is like the college of the Apostles without Mary.  The role of women in the Church is not simply that of maternity, being mothers, but much greater: it is precisely to be the icon of the Virgin, of Our Lady; what helps make the Church grow!  But think about it, Our Lady is more important than the Apostles!  She is more important!  The Church is feminine.  She is Church, she is bride, she is mother.  But women, in the Church, must not only… I don’t know how to say this in Italian… the role of women in the Church must not be limited to being mothers, workers, a limited role…  No!  It is something else!  But the Popes..  Paul VI wrote beautifully of women, but I believe that we have much more to do in making explicit this role and charism of women.  We can’t imagine a Church without women, but women active in the Church, with the distinctive role that they play.  I think of an example which has nothing to do with the Church, but is an historical example: in Latin America, Paraguay.  For me, the women of Paraguay are the most glorious women in Latin America.  Are you paraguayo?  After the war, there were eight women for every man, and these women made a rather difficult decision: the decision to bear children in order to save their country, their culture, their faith, and their language.  In the Church, this is how we should think of women: taking risky decisions, yet as women.  This needs to be better explained.  I believe that we have not yet come up with a profound theology of womanhood, in the Church.  All we say is: they can do this, they can do that, now they are altar servers, now they do the readings, they are in charge of Caritas (Catholic charities).  But there is more!  We need to develop a profound theology of womanhood.  That is what I think.
Father Lombardi:
For the Spanish group, now, we have Pablo Ordas, from El País:
Pablo Ordas:
We would like to know about your working relationship, not just your relationship of friendship but that of collaboration, with Benedict XVI.  There has never been a situation like this before, and whether you are frequently in contact and if he is helping you in this work.  Many thanks.
Pope Francis:
I think that the last time that there were two Popes, or three Popes, they weren’t speaking to one another; they were fighting to see which was the true Pope.  We ended up with three Popes during the Western Schism.
There is one thing that describes my relationship with Benedict: I have such great affection for him.  I have always loved him.  For me he is a man of God, a humble man, a man of prayer.  I was so happy when he was elected Pope.  Also, when he resigned, for me it was an example of greatness.  A great man.  Only a great man does this!  A man of God and a man of prayer.  Now he is living in the Vatican, and there are those who tell me:  “How can this be?  Two Popes in the Vatican!  Doesn’t he get in your way?  Isn’t he plotting against you?”  All these sorts of things, no?  I have found a good answer for this: “It’s like having your grandfather in the house”, a wise grandfather.  When families have a grandfather at home, he is venerated, he is loved, he is listened to.  Pope Benedict is a man of great prudence.  He doesn’t interfere!  I have often told him so: “Holiness, receive guests, lead your own life, come along with us”.  He did come for the unveiling and blessing of the statue of Saint Michael.  So, that phrase says it all.  For me it’s like having a grandfather at home: my own father.  If I have a difficulty, or something I don’t understand, I can call him on the phone: “Tell me, can I do this?”  When I went to talk with him about that big problem, Vatileaks, he told me everything with great simplicity … to be helpful.  There is something I don’t know whether you are aware of – I believe you are, but I’m not certain – when he spoke to us in his farewell address, on 28 February, he said: “In your midst is the next Pope: I promise him obedience”.   He is a great man; this is a great man!
Father Lombardi:
Now it is the turn of a Brazilian once again; Ana Fereira; and then Gianguido Vecchi for the Italians.
Ana Fereira:
Good evening, Holy Father.  Thanks.  I would like to say any number of “thanks”.  Thanks for having brought so much joy to Brazil, and thanks also for responding to our questions. We journalists really like to ask questions. I would like to know, since yesterday you spoke to the Brazilian bishops about the participation of women in our Church...  I would like to understand better, what this participation of us women in the Church would be like.  Also, what do you think of women’s ordination?  What should our position in the Church be like?
Pope Francis:
I would like to explain a bit more what I said about women’s participation in the Church.  It can’t just be about their acting as altar servers, heads of Caritas, catechists… No!  They have to be more, profoundly more, even mystically more, along with everything I said about the theology of womanhood.  And, as far as women’s ordination is concerned, the Church has spoken and said: “No”.  John Paul II said it, but with a definitive formulation.  That door is closed, but on this issue I want to tell you something.  I have said it, but I repeat it.  Our Lady, Mary, was more important than the Apostles, than bishops and deacons and priests.  Women, in the Church, are more important than bishops and priests; how, this is something we have to try to explain better, because I believe that we lack a theological explanation of this.  Thank you.
Father Lombardi:
Gianguido Vecchi, from Corriere della Sera: then I would ask Mrs Pigozzi and Nicole to come forward.
Gianguido Vecchi:
Holy Father, during this visit too, you have frequently spoken of mercy.  With regard to the reception of the sacraments by the divorced and remarried, is there the possibility of a change in the Church’s discipline?  That these sacraments might be an opportunity to bring these people closer, rather than a barrier dividing them from the other faithful?
Pope Francis:
This is an issue which frequently comes up.  Mercy is something much larger than the one case you raised.  I believe that this is the season of mercy.  This new era we have entered, and the many problems in the Church – like the poor witness given by some priests, problems of corruption in the Church, the problem of clericalism for example – have left so many people hurt, left so much hurt.  The Church is a mother: she has to go out to heal those who are hurting, with mercy.  If the Lord never tires of forgiving, we have no other choice than this: first of all, to care for those who are hurting.  The Church is a mother, and she must travel this path of mercy.  And find a form of mercy for all.  When the prodigal son returned home, I don’t think his father told him: “You, sit down and listen: what did you do with the money?”  No!  He celebrated!  Then, perhaps, when the son was ready to speak, he spoke.  The Church has to do this, when there is someone… not only wait for them, but go out and find them!  That is what mercy is.  And I believe that this is a kairos: this time is a kairos of mercy.  But John Paul II had the first intuition of this, when he began with Faustina Kowalska, the Divine Mercy…  He had something, he had intuited that this was a need in our time.  With reference to the issue of giving communion to persons in a second union (because those who are divorced can receive communion, there is no problem, but when they are in a second union, they can’t…), I believe that we need to look at this within the larger context of the entire pastoral care of marriage.  And so it is a problem.  But also – a parenthesis – the Orthodox have a different practice.  They follow the theology of what they call oikonomia, and they give a second chance, they allow it.  But I believe that this problem – and here I close the parenthesis – must be studied within the context of the pastoral care of marriage.  And so, two things: first, one of the themes to be examined with the eight members of the Council of Cardinals with whom I will meet on 1-3 October is how to move forward in the pastoral care of marriage, and this problem will come up there.  And a second thing: two weeks ago the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops met with me about the theme of the next Synod.  It was an anthropological theme, but talking it over, going back and forth, we saw this anthropological theme: how does the faith help with one’s personal life-project, but in the family, and so pointing towards the pastoral care of marriage.  We are moving towards a somewhat deeper pastoral care of marriage.  And this is a problem for everyone, because there are so many of them, no?  For example, I will only mention one: Cardinal Quarracino, my predecessor, used to say that as far as he was concerned, half of all marriages are null.  But why did he say this?  Because people get married lacking maturity, they get married without realizing that it is a life-long commitment, they get married because society tells them they have to get married.  And this is where the pastoral care of marriage also comes in.  And then there is the legal problem of matrimonial nullity, this has to be reviewed, because ecclesiastical tribunals are not sufficient for this.  It is complex, the problem of the pastoral care of marriage.  Thank you.
Father Lombardi:
Thank you.  And now we have Mrs Pigozzi, from Paris Match, also from the French group…
Carolina Pigozzi:
Good evening, Holy Father.  I would like to know if, now that you are the Pope, you still feel that you are a Jesuit…
Pope Francis:
That is a theological question, because Jesuits make a vow of obedience to the Pope.  But if the Pope is a Jesuit, perhaps he has to make a vow of obedience to the General of the Jesuits!  I don’t know how to resolve this … I feel a Jesuit in my spirituality; in the spirituality of the Exercises, the spirituality deep in my heart.  I feel this so deeply that in three days I will go to celebrate with the Jesuits the feast of Saint Ignatius: I will say the morning Mass.  I have not changed my spirituality, no.   Francis, Franciscan, no.  I feel a Jesuit and I think as a Jesuit.  I don’t mean that hypocritically, but I think as a Jesuit.  Thank you.
Father Lombardi:
If you can hold out, there are still some questions.  Now, Nicole Winfield, from the Associated Press, and there are … I had a list and actually I thought you had things planned among yourselves… Anyway, Elisabetta, get in line too, sorry.
Nicole Winfield:
Your Holiness, thank you once again for coming “among the lions”.  Your Holiness, in the fourth month of your pontificate, I wanted to ask you to make a little tally.  Can you tell us what is the best thing about being Pope, an anecdote, and what is the worst, and what is the thing that has most surprised you in this period?
Pope Francis:
I don’t know how to answer that, really.  Big things, major things, there just haven’t been any.  Beautiful things, yes; for example, my meeting with the Italian bishops was very good, very good.  As Bishop of the capital of Italy, I felt at home with them.  And that was good, but I don’t know if it was the best.  Also a painful thing, one which really touched my heart, the visit to Lampedusa.  It was enough to make you weep, it did me good.  When these boats arrive, they leave them several miles out from the coastline and they must come ashore alone, on a boat.  And this pains me because I think that these people are victims of a world-wide socio-economic system.  But the worst thing that happened – excuse me – was an attack of sciatica – really! – that I had the first month, because I was sitting in an armchair to do interviews and it hurt.  Sciatica is very painful, very painful!  I don't wish it on anyone!  But these things: talking with people; the meeting with seminarians and religious was quite beautiful, it was really beautiful.  Also, the meeting with the students of Jesuit schools was very beautiful…  good things.
What surprised you most?
Pope Francis:
People, people, the good people I found.  I found many good people in the Vatican.  I was wondering what I could say, but that is true.  I am being fair in saying this: so many good people.  So many good people, so many good people, but good, good, good!
Father Lombardi:
Elisabetta, someone that you know, and also Sergio Rubini, come forward, and so now we have the Argentinians.
Elisabetta Piqué
Pope Francis, first of all, on behalf of the fifty thousand Argentinians whom I met  and who told me, “You will be travelling with the Pope, so please tell him that he was fantastic, stupendous; ask him when he will come”.  But you already said you wouldn’t be going .... therefore, I would like to ask you a more difficult question.  Were you afraid when you saw the Vatileaks report?
Pope Francis
No!  I will tell you a story about the Vatileaks report.  When I met with Pope Benedict, after we had prayed in the Chapel, we were in his study and I saw a large box and envelope.  Excuse me . . . Benedict said to me; “In this big box are all the statements, all that the witnesses said, everything is there.  But the summary and the final judgment are in this envelope.  And it says here . . .”  He had it all in his head! What intelligence!  Everything memorized, everything!  But no, it didn’t frighten me, no.  No, no.  Though it is a big problem.  But it didn’t frighten me.
Sergio Rubín
Your Holiness, two things.  The first is this:  you insisted a great deal on stemming the loss of the faithful.  In Brazil, you were very strong.  Do you hope that this trip will contribute to people returning to the Church, to them feeling closer to the Church?  And second, more informally:  you loved Argentina and held Buenos Aires in your heart.  The Argentinians are asking if you miss Buenos Aires a lot, riding on the bus, walking through the streets?  Many thanks.
Pope Francis
I believe that a Papal trip always helps.  I believe it will do Brazil good, not just because the Pope was present, but because of what happened during WYD, how the youth mobilized themselves and these young people will do great good, and maybe they will be able to help the Church a great deal.  But these faithful who have left the Church, many are not happy because they know they belong to the Church.  I think that this will be very positive, not only for the trip, but above all for the event.  WYD was a marvellous event.  And yes, at times I do miss Buenos Aires and I feel it.  But I am serene about it.  But I believe that you, Sergio, know me better than all the others and you are able to answer this question, with the book that you wrote!
Padre Lombardi
Now we have the Russian reporter and then there is Valentina, our senior reporter, who would like to be last.
Alexey Bukalov
Good evening, Holy Father.  Holy Father, returning to ecumenism: today, the Orthodox are celebrating one thousand and twenty-five years of Christianity, and there are great festivities in many capital cities.  If you would comment on this, I would be grateful.  Thank you.
Pope Francis
In the Orthodox Churches, they have retained that pristine liturgy, which is so beautiful.  We have lost some of the sense of adoration.  The Orthodox preserved it; they praise God, they adore God, they sing, time does not matter.  God is at the centre, and I would like to say, as you ask me this question, that this is a richness.  Once, speaking of the Western Church, of Western Europe, especially the older Church, they said this phrase to me: Lux ex oriente, ex occidente luxus.  Consumerism, comfort, they have done such harm.  Instead, you retain this beauty of God in the centre, the reference point.  When reading  Dostoevsky – I believe that for all of us he is an author that we must read and reread due to his wisdom – one senses what the Russian soul is, what the eastern soul is. It is something that does us much good.  We need this renewal, this fresh air from the East, this light from the East.  John Paul II wrote about this in his Letter.  But many times the luxus of the West makes us lose this horizon.  I don’t know, but these are the thoughts that come to me.  Thank you.
Father Lombardi
And now we close with Valentina who, having been first during the trip to Rio de Janiero, will be the last for the return trip to Rome.
Valentina Alazraki
Your Holiness, thank you for keeping your promise to respond to our questions on this return trip ...
Pope Francis
I have made you late for dinner ...
Valentina Alazraki
It doesn’t matter ... The question for all Mexicans is: when are you going to visit Guadalupe? ... But this is the question of the Mexicans ... Mine would be: you will canonize the two great Popes, John XXIII and John Paul II.  I would like to know what is – according to you – the model of holiness that emerges from them both and what is the impact that these Popes have had on the Church and on you?
Pope Francis
John XXIII is a bit like the figure of the country priest, the priest who loves all the faithful, who knows how to care for the faithful and this he did as a Bishop, and as a Nuncio.  How many baptismal certificates did he forge in Turkey to help the Jews!  He was courageous, a good country priest, with a great sense of humour, and great holiness.  When he was Nuncio, some did not support him in the Vatican, and when he would arrive in Rome to deliver something or to ask a question, certain offices would make him wait.  But he never complained:  he would pray the Rosary, say the breviary.  He was meek and humble, and he always concerned himself with the poor.  When Cardinal Casaroli returned from a mission – I believe it was from Hungary or from what was then Czechoslovakia, I don’t remember which, though – the Cardinal went to Pope John to tell him how the mission went, in that epoch of the diplomacy of “small steps”.  And the Pope and Cardinal Casaroli met – twenty days later Pope John XXIII would be dead – and as the Cardinal was leaving, the Pope stopped him: “Your Eminence – no, he wasn’t yet a Cardinal – Your Excellency, a question: are you still going to see those young people?”  He asked because Cardinal Casaroli had been going to the juvenile prison in Casal del Marmo and visiting with the young people.  And Cardinal Casaroli said: “Yes, yes!”  “Never abandon them.”  This to a diplomat, who was returning from a diplomatic mission, a very important trip, that John XXIII said: “Never abandon the young”.  How great he was, how great!  Then, he was also a man of the Council: he was a man docile to the voice of God, which came to him through the Holy Spirit, and he was docile to the Spirit.  Pius XII was thinking of calling the Council, but the circumstances weren’t right.  I believe that John XXIII didn’t think about the circumstances: he felt and acted.  He was a man who let the Lord guide him.  Regarding John Paul II, I would say he was “the great missionary of the Church”: he was a missionary, a man who carried the Gospel everywhere, as you know better than I.  How many trips did he make?  But he went!  He felt this fire of carrying forth the Word of the Lord.  He was like Paul, like Saint Paul, he was such a man; for me this is something great.  And to canonize them both together will be, I believe, a message for the Church: these two were wonderful, both of them.  Paul VI’s cause is also under way, as is the cause of John Paul I.  Both are under way.  One more thing that I believe I said already, but I don’t know if I said it here or elsewhere – the canonization date.  One date under consideration was 8 December this year, but there is a significant problem; those who will come from Poland, some can afford to come by air, but the poor will come by bus and the roads are already icy in December, so I think the date needs to be rethought.  I spoke with Cardinal Dziwisz and he suggested to me two possibilities: Christ the King Sunday this year or Divine Mercy Sunday next year.  I think there is too little time for Christ the King this year, since the Consistory will be on 30 September and the end of October will be too soon.  But I don’t know.  I must speak with Cardinal Amato about this.  But I don’t think it will be 8 December.
Question from the floor
But they will be canonized together?
Pope Francis
Both together, yes.
Father Lombardi
Thank you, Your Holiness.  Who is still to come?  Ilze? Then everyone will have had a turn, even more than had signed up before ...
Ilze Scamparini
I would like permission to ask a delicate question: another image that has been going around the world is that of Monsignor Ricca and the news about his private life.  I would like to know, Your Holiness, what you intend to do about this?  How are you confronting this issue and how does Your Holiness intend to confront the whole question of the gay lobby?
Pope Francis
About Monsignor Ricca:  I did what canon law calls for, that is a preliminary investigation.  And from this investigation, there was nothing of what had been alleged.  We did not find anything of that.  This is the response.  But I wish to add something else: I see that many times in the Church, over and above this case, but including this case, people search for “sins from youth”, for example, and then publish them.  They are not crimes, right?  Crimes are something different: the abuse of minors is a crime.  No, sins.  But if a person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives.  When we confess our sins and we truly say, “I have sinned in this”, the Lord forgets, and so we have no right not to forget, because otherwise we would run the risk of the Lord not forgetting our sins.  That is a danger.  This is important: a theology of sin.  Many times I think of Saint Peter.  He committed one of the worst sins, that is he denied Christ, and even with this sin they made him Pope.  We have to think a great deal about that.  But, returning to your question more concretely.  In this case, I conducted the preliminary investigation and we didn’t find anything.  This is the first question.  Then, you spoke about the gay lobby.  So much is written about the gay lobby.  I still haven’t found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with “gay” on it.  They say there are some there.  I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good.  This one is not good.  If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying ... wait a moment, how does it say it ... it says: “no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society”.  The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one.  The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies.  For me, this is the greater problem.  Thank you so much for asking this question.  Many thanks.
Father Lombardi
Thank you.  It seems to me that we cannot do more than we have done.  We have kept the Pope too long, after he already said he was a little tired.  We wish him now some time of rest.
Pope Francis
Thank you.  Goodnight, have a good trip and rest well.

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