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Christian minority must bring hope to a suffering society, Pope tells Roman faithful

Catholic World News - June 18, 2013

Faithful Christians today must reach out to a society in desperate need, Pope Francis told the people of the Rome diocese on June 18.

Speaking at the opening of an Ecclesial Congress for the Rome diocese, the Pope spoke about the urgent spiritual need of many people living in the city:

Even in Rome there are people who live without hope and who are immersed in deep sadness that they try to get out of, believing to have found happiness in alcohol, in drugs, in gambling, in the power of money, in sex without rules. But they find themselves still more dejected and sometimes vent their anger towards life with violent acts that are unworthy of the human person.

Christians cannot “stand idly by” in the face of this suffering, the Pope insisted. Stressing the urgency of the problem, he acknowledged that it would take courage to preach the Gospel in a heavily secularized society. But evangelization is necessary, he said, precisely because society has lost hope.

Recalling the parable of the Good Shepherd who seeks the one lost sheep, the Pope said that the situation in modern society is much more dire. “It’s the 99 who we’re missing!” he said. “In this culture, let’s face it, we have only 1. We are the minority!”

Adding occasional extemporaneous comments to his prepared address, the Pope said that the Gospel should be preached especially to the poor, who need encouragement. But he reminded his listeners that “the Gospel is for everyone—even experts.” He added: “The Church has always been present in the places where culture develops.”

Reforming society will require a revolution in attitudes, the Pope said. But Christianity is the greatest revolutionary force, he observed, because while other forces have changed political and economic systems, Christianity can change the human heart. “Only Jesus Christ accomplished the true revolution, the one that radically transforms life,” he said. “Love is the greatest force for transforming reality because it breaks down the walls of selfishness and fills the chasms that keep us apart from one another.”

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