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Quest for power saps strength of Church, Pope says

Catholic World News - June 11, 2013

The Church must carry out her work “with a heart of poverty, not with the heart of an investment broker,” Pope Francis told a congregation at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on June 11.

The key to effective evangelization, the Pope said, is a simplicity that “gives way to the power of the Word of God.” He cited the words of Jesus: “Freely you have received; freely give.” Without that spirit, the Pope said, the Gospel message cannot be preached effectively.

“St. Peter did not have a bank account,” the Pope reminded his congregation. “Philip, when he met Queen Candace’s finance minister, did not not, ‘Ah, good, let’s set up an organization to support the Gospel.”

Church leaders must resist the “temptation to seek strength,” the Pope continued. He emphasized the importance of understanding that the faith is a gift, and that “our strength is the gratuitousness of the Gospel.” He said that a spirit of poverty and a capacity to praise God are the key signs of someone who has accepted that gratuitous spirit.

By contrast, the Pope said: “When we find the apostles who want to build a rich Church and a Church without the gratuitousness of praise, the Church becomes old, the Church becomes an NGO, the Church becomes lifeless.”

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