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Pope Francis to bishops: Get out of your churches


2013-07-25T180045Z_01_SRE113_RTRIDSP_3_POPE-BRAZIL(USA Today) An estimated three million Catholics crammed onto the iconic Copacabana Beach Saturday night for a vigil with Pope Francis, whose visit to Brazil culminates Sunday with a Mass that is expected to convene an even bigger crowd.

The vigil capped a busy day for Francis, who arrived in Brazil July 22 for World Youth Day, a biannual gathering of young Catholics.

Earlier on Saturday, Francis told an assembly of Catholic bishops in the cathedral of Rio de Janeiro to get out of their cathedrals and spread the gospel and serve those most in need.

It was yet another admonishment from the first Latin American pontiff — who has called for a Church focused on the poor — for Catholics to adopt a more missionary mind-set. It also blasted bishops from Brazil, where the number of faithful has shrunk to less than 65% of the population in what is still the world’s most Catholic country.

“We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel,” Francis said.

“Let us courageously look to pastoral needs, beginning on the periphery (of where we live), with those who are farthest away, with those who do not usually go to church. They, too, are invited to the table of the Lord.”

It was message aimed at reviving an institution dating back centuries in Latin America, but one becoming less relevant in the region as people become culturally Catholic or leave the church all together — often for Evangelical congregations. Those congregations have often better identified basic needs in poor Brazilian neighbourhoods and addressed issues like domestic violence and alcohol abuse, instead of speaking about more global ideas like social justice, says Andrew Chesnut, religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of a book on Brazil’s Evangelicals
Youth Day.

Papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the speech to the bishops was the longest of his pontificate and outlines his vision for them, Catholic News Service reported. [More]


USA Today



  1. Ann (WOC) says:

    Thank you Simone Campbell. Tonight on “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell, she said that women, like the neighbor of the parable this Sunday, will keep knocking. Jesus’ parable speaks of the persistence of the neighbor, the persistence of prayer. God hears and answers prayers. The pope also pointed out: we need a theology of women. We will get right on it. As for ordination, for anyone, where the call is real, the hope cannot be extinguished.

  2. Andrew says:

    POPE FRANCIS 7-29-13: “But with regards to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says no… That door is closed.” SOURCE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23489702

  3. Ann (WOC) says:

    Like all human beings, Pope Francis learns, evolves, and is guided by the Holy Spirit. God does not will the exclusion of women from equality in society or the church, nor does could a loving God support the exclusion of women from full sacramental ministry. The exclusionary ideas of those who guard their male power is eroding and the inclusionary perspective of the ministry of Jesus continues with each new generation. The example of homosexuality and the inclusion of their presence in the church is but one hopeful example of the concrete expression of the love of God exemplified in the Christian community. The full equality of women will come.

    • Tony says:

      Amen, and may the full equality of women with men come soon. Priesthood subeto.

    • Andrew says:

      CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: 1577: Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.

      • Deacon Bernie says:

        Andrew, I find the explanation of a male only priesthood being required based on what Jesus did while on earth to be a very weak explanation. Far more impressive has been the two thousand years of guidance by the Holy Spirit that has led us. Granted, the text of the Scriptures is very clear; I just happen to prefer the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the day to day existence of the Church.

  4. Andrew says:

    Regarding Pope Francis’ remarks on gays, here’s the article from the BBC: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23489702. The holy father makes it clear that homosexual acts are sinful but orientation is not. Just like what the Catechism says. Just like what Pope Benedict and his predecessors said. He also in this article reaffirms that women can’t be priests.

    • Tony says:

      But at least it is seen as an openness to gay people and not a slam of the door in their face as Ex Benedict did with his 2005 statement againt gays.
      Francis is taking steps in the right direction towards being more open and in time we will have women priests. He told the WYD crowed to create a scene to make a mess in their diocese and hopefully the WOC will do just that and raise consciousness foe women’s ordination.
      I am happy he has Aldo restricted the TLM among certain religious, the Franciscans of the Immaculature. All good things from the more open liberal leaning pope. May God continue to bless his ministry.

      • Andrew says:

        Tony: read the article from the very liberal BBC. Pope Francis said women can’t be priests. Repeat: Pope Francis said women can’t be priests. The “women’s ordination conference” is, was and always be an irrelevant waste of time. Why? Because Pope Francis said women can’t be priests.

        • Tony says:

          When Gallileo gave his theory he was condemned, when Columbus said the earth was round most of the Church said the earth was flat. In time people will see that to deny women the priesthood is to be discriminatory.
          I am confident that the spirit, in time will break through and allow the church to find itself able toordain women priests.

          • Catholic Lady says:

            I also believe that it is time to allow the Holy Spirit to do it’s work within our Church, however I think it might be a very long time before the Church founded on Peter will even consider women for the priesthood.

          • Andrew says:

            The Blessed Mother didn’t boss her Son around, demanding he find 12 women disciples so as not to come across as “sexist” or “chauvinistic”. Katherine of Sienna, Teresa of Avila, Terese of Liseux (all saints and doctors of the Church) didn’t run around whining about how “sexist” the Church was because women couldn’t become priests. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta served the Church and mankind every day, not as a priest, but as a saint. She never threw a tantrum because there weren’t any women in the priesthood. Men and women are different for many reasons that have nothing to do with “discrimination” but everything to do with Gods will.

            • Ann (WOC) says:

              Nor was her Son interested in guarding male power and keeping women from full participation in he community the way you are Andrew.

            • Tony says:

              Andrew women have come to understand their equality with men far or now than ever. They were seen by men though the century to be inferior to men to be no better than cattle. Now women are striving. Rightfully for complete equality.
              I don’t know about you but I love my wife, I love my. Daughters and I want every opportunity for them that I have with my sons. I can of I conscience rest until my wife and daughters have equal opportunity in the church and society.

          • Leatherhead says:

            Tony / Ann what part of Pope Francis statement “”the Church has spoken and says no … that door is closed.” Don’t you understand?

            • Tony says:

              What part of my desire for complete and total equality for my wife and daughters do you not understand?

              • Ann (WOC) says:

                “slamming the door” in the face of those who seek equality seems to be in keeping with a “leatherhead”.

              • Leatherhead says:

                Just because Women priests are something you want it does not mean that it is God,’s will. By continuing to press for this you give people false hope. We could all wish that something’s in life were different but God’s will is not ours.

                • Tony says:

                  By not pressing for women’s ordination you don’t allow omen to obtain justice and continue to keep them subjugated to men. Forgetting the word of the Apostle Paul, “in Christ there is no male or female.

                • Ann (WOC) says:

                  No, Leatherhead, I want what God wants and my understanding of Jesus’ ministry is that God is not exclusionary,especially when it comes to participation in the sacramntal life of the church. The church is guided by the Spirit, but it is not perfect. Exclusion is something many male hierarchs in power want. I do not believe God is exclusionary or views women un- worthy for ordination. I belive God is inclusionary, and calls women as well as men, and homosexuals.You are simply identifying male privilege as the will of God. Given the ministry of Jesus, that is incorrect. I do not seek ordination; I seek a church in which all who are called, may have their calls tested, and if/when seen to be authentic, are ordained. Francis may hold off because pastorally he believes the church is not ready or he himself doesn’t believe it is time. However, you cannot characterize the all-loving God as exclusionary. Jesus came as a man; that does not mean that women have a lower status; Jesus did not call Africans or Asians, that does not mean that Africans or Asians cannot be ordained. The imperfect actions of the church in disciplinary matters cannot be characterized as the will of God and you cannot align your chauvinistic opinions with the will of an all loving, all inclusive God. Real test of your “fidelity” to church teaching: if the church suddenly ordained women, would you defend the practice as staunchly as you now defend its exclusionarydisciplinary practice?

                  • Leatherhead says:

                    Ann you talk about the Pope “holding off” “it might not be time” I am sorry but he said it will not happen. You ask will I change my fidelity to the Church if she changed her mind but that cant happen she has declared it a matter of faith and that does not change. If she had approved of Women priests before Pope John- Paul finally ruled it out, I would not have liked it but I would have accepted it. There are many things the Church says that I don’t like but I accept them.

    • Ann (WOC) says:

      Andrew continues to celebrate exclusion. Soon he will be the only one in his church — a “pure” but lonely existence.

  5. Tony says:

    There are headlines today that Francis is open to gays, gays in the priesthood, and he has restricted the use of the TLM in a certain religious community.
    All very interesting news that will make for even more interesting comments on this website.

  6. Deacon Bernie says:

    What a novel idea … that bishops should get out among the people. Certainly, this is a fine idea and I hope it bears some fruit. In the diocese in which I live, there is one priest who is responsible for 6 Masses on an ordinary weekend and 13 on the first weekend of the month. Wouldn’t it be nice if the bishop came to help him out, especially on the first Sunday of the month.

    • Catholic Lady says:

      Deacon; it is a shame that this idea is what you call a novel idea, I think that Jesus called all (christians) to evangelization. Did He not tell the would be disciples that He would mak them fishers of men? In the days of St. Paul, I don’t believe that bishops stayed at home whilde others went about preaching the Gospel.

      • Ann (WOC) says:

        Agree with you CL; however, I think DB was being sarcastic.

        • Catholic Lady says:

          Thanks, Ann, you are correct DB probably was being sarcastic. I see our (not all) bishops as being out and about..

          • Tony says:

            CL hat I dislike are the pompous bishops who act like the are little lords. By the way, what happened to our friend Larry I miss him.


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