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Cuban cardinal: before conclave, Pope Francis challenged Church not to be narcissistic

Catholic World News - March 27, 2013

During the general congregations that preceded his election as Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio challenged his brother cardinals to look outward rather than succumb to narcissism, according to a Cuban cardinal.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana said that Pope Francis gave him a handwritten text of his remarks and gave him permission to reveal the contents.

“The Church is called on to emerge from itself and move toward the peripheries, not only geographic but also existential (ones): those of sin, suffering, injustice, ignorance and religious abstention, thought and all misery,” the future Pope reportedly said.

“When the Church does not emerge from itself to evangelize, it becomes self-referential and therefore becomes sick,” he reportedly added. “The evils that, over time, occur in ecclesiastical institutions have their root in self-referentiality, a kind of theological narcissism.”

Criticizing “a mundane Church that lives within itself, of itself, and for itself,” Cardinal Bergoglio reportedly said that the new pope should help “the Church to emerge from itself toward the existential outskirts.”

Vatican Radio later confirmed Cardinal Ortega's report and published the full text of Cardinal Bergoglio's intervention.

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  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Mar. 27, 2013 6:41 PM ET USA

    I hope this evangelization that Pope Francis is talking about extends to the Jews also. The worst form of anti-semitism is to withhold the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the Jewish community.

  • Posted by: jasoncpetty3446 - Mar. 27, 2013 10:30 AM ET USA

    This is great advice for a cleric to hear; but for me, a layman belonging to a sacramental religion, if I am bringing others to Christ, eventually that will mean inviting or directing them to Church. So I throw it back to you, clerics: please do not turn Mass into something ridiculous that I have to explain away or prepare them for. "It's the Mass of the Ages, the same as the early church! Just...ignore the mimes and imagine it!"

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