Speaking to his brother Jesuits in Lithuania last month, Pope Francis solicited their support in moving forward the work of the Vatican II. Source: Crux.
“I believe the Lord wants a change in the Church,” he told 28 Jesuits during a private meeting during his trip to the Baltics. “I have said many times that a perversion of the Church today is clericalism … I know that the Lord wants the Council to make headway in the Church.”
“Historians tell us that it takes 100 years for a Council to be applied,” he added. “We are halfway there. So, if you want to help me, do whatever it takes to move the Council forward in the Church.”
The Pope’s remarks were published in full yesterday by the Vatican-vetted Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica.
Among the other topics the Pope addressed were concerns of vocational burnout by Jesuit priests, the need for ongoing ecumenical dialogue, the importance of Jesuit education, and how the sacrament of confession must be marked by mercy.
Lithuanian Archbishop Lionginas Virbalas of Kaunas told Francis that the province had dwindled from over 1,000 members to just over 30 and will soon merge into a larger, singular province with Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Hungary. Consequentially, some of the Jesuits now take on three to four jobs to support the work of the Society.
The Pope encouraged the Jesuits not to neglect their spiritual and physical health, warning, “the evil spirit does lead us to a sort of ‘not-working-enough complex’.”
He then went on to urge attention to pastoral care, particularly among those suffering in a region still recovering from its past Nazi and Soviet occupation.
“I advise you not to be afraid of descending into the hell of the people,” he pleaded. “Sometimes, this means entering the field of the devil. But suffering, be it human, social, that of the conscience … we need to go down into hell, we need to be there. Touch the wounds. And touching people’s wounds, you touch the wounds of Christ. The Jesuit should never be afraid of this.”