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Pope against warns against bureaucratic approach to Church

April 24, 2013

The Catholic Church is not an organization, but a love story, Pope Francis told the congregation as he celebrated Mass on Wednesday, April 24.

In his homily the Pope repeated the warning, which he has issued several times since his election, against perceiving the Church as an NGO: a non-governmental charitable group. He decried the tendency to “make offices and become somewhat bureaucratic.”

Noting that staff members from the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), were in the congregation, the Pope clarified that he was not suggesting a move to abandon all offices. “Some things are necessary; offices are required; OK!” he said. “But they are necessary upon to a certain point: as an aid to this love story. But when organization takes first place, love falls down and the Church, poor thing, becomes an NGO. And this is not the way forward." The Pope's reference to the IOR was particularly noteworthy because some Vatican officials anticipate that the Pontiff will seek major changes in the Vatican bank, and may eliminate it entirely. The Pope's homily at the Mass attended by IOR staff members did not give any clear indication of his practical plans for the bank.


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  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Apr. 25, 2013 11:01 AM ET USA

    Yes, hopefully he can soon explore getting rid of the national bishops' conferences. The USCCB especially has become a bureaucracy which in fact sometimes hampers the role of the individual bishop ruling his diocese.

  • Posted by: unum - Apr. 24, 2013 9:31 PM ET USA

    Memo to USCCB: Where is the love? Signed: The Laity