Church not a customs office: Pope

Pope Francis celebrates Mass on World Mission Day in 2019 (Vatican Media)

Missionary work is a cooperation with the Holy Spirit to bring people to Christ; it does not benefit from overcomplicated programs or fancy advertising campaigns, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: CNA.

By Hannah Brockhaus, CNA.

In a message to the Pontifical Mission Societies, the Pope said “it has always been the case that the proclamation of Jesus’ salvation reaches people right where they are and just how they are in the midst of their lives in progress”.

“Especially given the times in which we live,” he noted, “this has nothing to do with designing ‘specialised’ training programmes, creating parallel worlds, or constructing ‘slogans’ that merely echo our own thoughts and concerns.”

He urged the Pontifical Mission Societies, a worldwide group of Catholic missionary societies under the jurisdiction of the Pope that includes Catholic Mission in Australia, “to facilitate, not complicate” their missionary work.

“One must provide answers to real questions and not just formulate and multiply proposals,” he advised. “Perhaps concrete contact with real-life situations, and not just discussions in boardrooms or theoretical analyses of our own internal dynamics, will generate useful insights for changing and improving operating procedures…”

He also pointed out that “the Church is not a customs office”.

“Anyone who participates in the mission of the Church is called not to impose unnecessary burdens on people already worn out or to require demanding programmes of formation in order to enjoy what the Lord gives easily, or to erect obstacles to the will of Jesus, who prays for each of us and wants to heal and save everyone,” he said.

Francis said that during the coronavirus pandemic “there is a great desire to encounter and remain close to the heart of the Church’s life. So seek new paths, new forms of service, but try not to complicate what in reality is quite simple”.

The Pontifical Mission Societies help to support more than 1,000 dioceses, mainly in Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Amazon.

In his nine-page message to the group, Pope Francis gave several recommendations and warned of pitfalls to avoid in their missionary service, especially the temptation to become self-absorbed.


Pope Francis says missions should facilitate encounter with Christ, not complicate it (CNA)


Pope: Church’s preferential option for the poor is nonnegotiable (CNS) 

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