The following is the full text of Pope Francis’s remarks to bishops attending the World Meeting of Families at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary:
Brother Bishops good morning.
I have engraved in my heart the stories, suffering and pain of children who were sexually abused by priests. Continued overwhelming me shame that people who were in charge of the tender care of those small violate them and cause them serious harm. I deeply regret. God weeps. The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of children can not be kept secret any longer, I agree to the zealous vigilance of the Church to protect children and promise that those responsible will pay account. Abuse survivors have become heralds of hope and true ministers of mercy, humility we owe each of them and their families our gratitude for your immense value to shine the light of Christ over evil sexual abuse. And I say this because just met with a group of people abused as children, who are aided and accompanied here in Philadelphia with a special affection for the Archbishop, Archbishop Chaput, and we felt we had to communicate this to you.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to share with you this moment of pastoral reflection in the joyful and festive World Meeting of Families context. I speak Castilian because I was told that everyone knows Castilian.
Indeed, the family is not for the Church primarily a source of concern, but the confirmation of God’s blessing to the masterpiece of creation. Every day, in every corner of the world, the Church has reason to rejoice with the Lord for the gift of this great people of families, even in the toughest tests, maintains and preserves the faith promises.
I think the first pastoral thrust of this difficult transition period is asking us to move decisively in line with this recognition. Appreciation and gratitude have to prevail over the lament, despite all the obstacles we face. The family is the fundamental role of the alliance of the Church with the creation, with the creation of God, that God blessed the last day with a family. Without the family, the Church does exist: it could not be what it should be, that is, sign and instrument of the unity of the human race (cf. Lumen Gentium , 1).
Naturally, our way of understanding, modeling integration between the Church way of faith and marital experience of grace, blessed by marriage, should make us not forget the transformation of the historical context, which affects social culture – and unfortunately also legally of family ties, and that involves us all, whether we are believers or not. The Christian is not a “be immune” to changes in time and in this particular world with its multiple problems and possibilities, is where you live, believe and proclaim.
Until recently, we lived in a social context where the affinity between civil institution and the Christian sacrament was strong and shared, and were sustained substantial overlap each other. It is no longer so. If I had to describe the current situation would take two images of our own societies. For one, the famous department stores, small businesses in our neighborhoods and on the other, large supermarkets or shopping malls .
Some time ago you could find in the same trade or store everything necessary for personal and family life It is true that poorly exposed, with few products and, therefore, with little possibility of election-. But there was a personal connection between the business owner and the neighbors buyers. Was sold on credit, ie, there was trust, had knowledge, there were neighborhood. We trust one another. He was encouraged to trust. In many places it was known as “the neighborhood store.”
In recent decades it has developed and expanded other businesses: the shopping center . Large areas with a large number of options and opportunities. The world seems to have become a great shopping , where culture has gained a competitive dynamic. And it is not sold on credit, and you can not trust others. There is a personal connection, a neighborhood relationship. The current culture seems to encourage people to enter into the dynamic of no link to anything or anyone. A trust or not trust. Because the most important thing today seems to be going after the latest trend or the last activity. Even on a religious level. The important thing now seems that determines consumption. Eating relations, consuming friendships, religions consume, consume, consume … No matter the cost or the consequences. A consumer does not generate links, a consumption that goes beyond human relationships. The links are a mere “formality” in meeting “my needs.” What is important is no longer the neighbor, his face, with its history, with their affections.
And this behavior creates a culture that dismisses everything as “no good” or “not satisfied” consumer tastes. We have made our society a wide multicultural showcase, linked only to the tastes of some “consumers” and, moreover, many -¡tantos – the other, those who “eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table “( Mt 15,27).
This creates a large wound, a very large wound culture. I dare say that one of the main roots of poverty or situations is in many contemporary radical solitude to which they are subjected so many people. Running behind a like , running after increasing the number of followers in any of the social networks, so-so vamos- are humans in the proposal offered by this contemporary society. A solitude and fear of commitment in a frantic search for feeling recognized.
Are we condemning our young people growing up in this society? Should we live anatematizarlos this world? Should they listen to their pastors phrases like: “All the past was better”, “The world is a mess, and if this continues, we will not know where to stop?” This sounds like an Argentine tango! No, I do not think, I do not think this is the way. We pastors in the footsteps of Pastor, are invited to search, monitor, lift, heal the wounds of our time. Look at reality through the eyes of one who knows questioned the movement, to pastoral conversion. The world asks us today and claim pastoral conversion. “It is vital that today the Church out to proclaim the Gospel to everyone, everywhere, at all times, without delay, without remorse and without fear. The joy of the Gospel is for all people, can not exclude anyone “( Evangelii Gaudium , 23). The Gospel is not a product to consume, is not in this culture of consumerism.
It would be wrong to think that this “culture” of today’s world simply aversion to marriage and family, in terms of pure and simple selfishness. Do all young people of our time have become hopelessly timid, weak, inconsistent? We do not fall into the trap. Many young people, in the midst of this deterrent culture have internalized a kind of unconscious fear, and not have fear, an unconscious fear, and do not follow the most beautiful, highest and most necessary impulses. There are many who delay marriage waiting for ideal conditions of well-being. Meanwhile life is consumed tasteless. For the wisdom of the true taste of life comes with time, the result of a generous investment of passion, intelligence and enthusiasm.
In Congress, a few days ago, saying that we are living in a culture that encourages and convince young people not to start a family, about the lack of material means to do so and others have as many media are very comfortable as well, but that it’s tempting not to found a family.
As pastors, bishops are called to join forces and revive enthusiasm for families, according to their vocation, correspond more fully to God’s blessing form. We have to use our energies, not so much to explain again and again the shortcomings of the current period and the merits of Christianity, but frankly to invite young people to be bold and choose marriage and family. In Buenos Aires few women lamented: “I have my son of 30, 32, 34 and not married, I do not know what to do” – “Madam, do not iron it more shirts.” We must encourage young people to run that risk, but a risk of fertility and life.
Again parresía holy bishops needed. “Why do not you marry?” – “Yes, I have a girlfriend, but we do not know … yes, no … together money for the party, which for this …”. The Holy parresia to accompany and make them mature into marriage commitment.
A Christianity that “becomes” little in reality and “explained” infinitely formation is dangerously disproportionate; I would say that is true and just a vicious circle. The pastor has to show that the “Gospel of the family” is truly “good news” for a world in which the concern for self reigns above all. There is romantic fantasy: the tenacity to start a family and take it forward transforms the world and history. It is families that transform the world and history.
The pastor announced calm and passionately the word of God, encourages believers to aspire to the top. It will make your brothers and sisters are able to hear and practice the promises of God, which also extend the experience of motherhood and fatherhood on the horizon of a new “familiarity” with God (cf. Mk 3.31 to 35) .
The shepherd seeks the dream, life, growing sheep. This “ensure” is not born of discursear, but the shepherd. It is only able to watch who know how to be “in the midst of” who is not afraid to questions, who is not afraid to touch, to the accompaniment. The shepherd seeks first prayer, holding the faith of his people, conveying confidence in the Lord, in your presence. The pastor is always awake helping to look up when the listlessness, frustration and falls appears. It would be good to ask if we “lose” our pastoral ministry time with families. Do we stay with them, sharing their difficulties and their joys?
Naturally, the fundamental feature of the lifestyle of the bishop is first revive the spirit of this joyful familiarity with God, and secondly to spread the exciting evangelical fruitfulness, pray and proclaim the Gospel (cf. Acts 6.4). And always he struck me and hit me when early in the first half of the Church, the Hellenists went to complain because the widows and orphans were not well served; of course, the apostles were overwhelmed, not then neglected, met, deacons were invented. The Holy Spirit inspired them to be deacons and when Peter announces the decision explains, will choose seven men so and so to deal with this issue. And we played us two things: prayer and preaching. What is the first work of the bishop? Pray, pray. The second work that goes along with this: preach. We support this dogmatic definition. If I’m wrong, Cardinal Müller helps us because it defines what the role of the bishop. The bishop is appointed to shepherd, is pastor, but pastor first with prayer and with the announcement, then comes everything else, if there is time.
We, therefore, humbly accepting the Christian learning of the domestic virtues of the People of God, we asemejaremos increasingly fathers and mothers, as does Paul (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2.7 to 11) -, trying not end as people who have just learned to live without family. Family away we will be bringing people learned to live without family, ugly ugly. Our ideal, in fact, is not the lack of affection, no. The Good Shepherd forgoes own family affections to devote all his might, and the grace of his special call to evangelical blessing of the affections of men and women who embody the plan of God, starting with those who are lost, abandoned, hurt, devastated, discouraged and deprived of their dignity. This total dedication to God’s agape is not a vocation outside the tenderness and love. Just look at Jesus to understand (cf. Mt 19:12). The mission of the Good Shepherd in the style of God-just God can approve, not smugly self mimics all and for all the emotional style of the Son with the Father, reflected in the tenderness of delivery: in favor, and for love , men and women of the human family.
In the perspective of faith, this is a very valid argument. Our ministry needs to develop the alliance of church and family. Bone, I stress, develop the alliance of church and family, otherwise it will fall, and the human family, our fault, move away hopelessly joyful evangelical word of God and go to the supermarket fashionable to buy product then you like best.
If we are capable of this rigor of the affections of God, cultivating infinite patience and without resentment in often grooves diverted we sow – because we really have to plant many times in rows offset – also a Samaritan woman with five “no husbands’ You will be able to testify. And in front of a rich young man who feels sad that it has yet to think calmly, publican will hasten a mature tree loss and desvivirá for the poor in which until then had never thought of.
Brothers, may God grant us the gift of this new projimidad between the family and the Church. The need family, need the Church, pastors need.
The family is our ally, our window to the world, the family is the evidence of an irrevocable blessing from God intended for all children of this difficult and beautiful story of creation, God has called us to serve. Thank you.