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Francis calls on the Church to keep to its roots or it could become “a passionate NGO”

Friday, March 15th 2013 - 07:03 UTC
Full article 135 comments
The Argentine Pope during the mass at the Sistine chapel The Argentine Pope during the mass at the Sistine chapel

In his first public Mass, Pope Francis urged the Catholic Church on Thursday to stick to its roots and shun modern temptations, warning that it would become just “a compassionate NGO” if it forgot its true mission.

The pope, addressing cardinals in the Sistine Chapel where he was elected pontiff on Wednesday, said the Church should be more focused on the Gospels of Jesus Christ.

“We can walk all we want, we can build many things, but if we don't proclaim Jesus Christ, something is wrong. We would become a compassionate NGO and not a Church which is the bride of Christ,” he said, speaking in Italian without notes.

“He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil. When we don't proclaim Jesus Christ, we proclaim the worldliness of the devil, the worldliness of the demon.”

Francis took the helm of the 1.2 billion-member Church at a time of strife and intrigue, with the Vatican rocked by a string of sex abuse scandals, by accusations of infighting within its central government and by allegations of financial wrongdoing.

“We must always walk in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, always trying to live in an irreprehensible way,” he said in a heartfelt homily of a parish priest, loaded with biblical references and simple imagery.

“When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross and when we proclaim Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly,” he said.

“We may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, all of this, but we are not disciples of the Lord,” he said.

He said those who build on worldly values instead of spiritual values were like children building sand castles on a beach. “Then everything comes crashing down,” he said.

His sermon was a stark contrast to that of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who read out his first homily in Latin in 2005, establishing his broad vision for Church. Benedict abdicated last month, saying he no longer had the strength to lead the world's largest organisation.

Pope Francis also delivered his first message to the Argentine people and called on them to accompany his assumption on March 19th with “some charity gesture towards those in need.“

Apostolic nuncio Emil Paul Tscherrig to Argentina sent a letter addressed to all archbishops and bishops in the country communicating the Pope’s wishes and added that the “Saint Father Francis” showed gratitude for the prayers of “all the people of God.”

The missive, however, indicates that the first Latinamerican pope in history “wished” that instead of attending his assumption ceremony in Rome “they took care of those in needs”.

Meanwhile Peace Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel assured that elected Pope Jorge Bergoglio ”had no links with the dictatorship” that ruled Argentina between the years 1976-1983 as he’s been accused for many years.

Speaking to BBC News, Perez Esquivel said that “there were bishops who were accomplices of the dictatorship, but it was not the case of Bergoglio.”

“Bergoglio was questioned because it is said he did not do enough to get out of jail two priests, as he was the Superior of the Jesuits. But I know personally that many bishops called on the military junta for the release of prisoners and priests and these requests were not granted”, said Perez Esquivel.

Bergoglio association with the dictatorship was related to the testimony of María Elena Funes, a catechist who was detained at the ESMA, following the arrest and subsequent disappearance of two Jesuit priests.

 

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  • toooldtodieyoung

    “He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil. When we don't proclaim Jesus Christ, we proclaim the worldliness of the devil, the worldliness of the demon.”

    Of course he would say that!! This guy is so brain washed he can't even accept that there are other relegions in the world.....

    Or that the Catholic Church might be backing the wrong horse.

    Mar 15th, 2013 - 07:12 am 0
  • Room101

    Nit-picking a bit, but the phrase is here is used clumsily: the Catholic church SHOULD be an NGO.

    Mar 15th, 2013 - 08:15 am 0
  • Pesky Army

    @1 LMAO Good Morning to all my fellow Argies living in Malvinas.
    Speaking of being brainwashed, when will you people understand that Malvinas is part of Argieland. nuff said

    Mar 15th, 2013 - 08:24 am 0
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