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Avoid 'logic of human power,' Pope tells new archbishops

July 01, 2013

The Church must not be guided by “the logic of human power,” Pope Francis said as he celebrated Mass on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

On the patronal feast of the Rome diocese—the day on which he imposed the pallium on 34 new archbishops—the Pope spoke on the nature of the Petrine ministry and of authority within the Church.

When Jesus spoke to his apostles about his coming suffering and death, the Holy Father reminded his congregation, Peter recoiled, saying that this could never be allowed. “Jesus’ response is harsh: ‘Get behind me, Satan!” the Pope said. Peter, he explained, had not yet accepted “the path of God which does not correspond to the human path of power.”

“Whenever we let our thoughts, our feelings or the logic of human power prevail, and we do not let ourselves be taught and guide,” the Pope continued. The foundations of the Rome diocese illustrate how God’s plan differs from the ordinary logic of human power, the Pope said. When St. Paul writes that he has “fought the good fight,” he is not referring to “one of those fights fought with human weapons,” the Pontiff said. Quite the contrary, “it is the fight of martyrdom,” and more generally the fight “to be consumed for the sake of the Gospel.”

Eventually both Sts. Peter and Paul died for the faith in Rome, the Pope pointed out. And this was the reason why Rome came to be considered “the point of reference for all churches around the world--not for the power of the empire, but for the strength of martyrdom and witness to Christ!” Speaking to the archbishops who had received the pallium, the Pope stressed the importance of unity in the faith and collegial governance in the Church. “Let us go forward on the path of synodality and grow in harmony with the service of the primacy,” he said.

At this Angelus audience later in the day, the Pope spoke again of the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul and their leadership in the young Church. He then spoke of St. Andrew as well, and called attention to the presence of Metropolitan Zizioulas of Pergamo, a representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Reminding the audience that St. Andrew is the patron of Constantinople, he asked everyone to join him in a Hail Mary for the intentions of the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew.


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