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Pope, in parish visit, emphasizes importance of gentleness, respect

May 23, 2017

Pope Francis visited a parish on the outskirts of Rome on May 21 and celebrated Sunday evening Mass.

The Mass at the Parish of St. Peter Damian in Casal Bernocchi, Acilia, followed a question-and answer session with children, a meeting with Neocatechumenal Way communities, and a meeting with the poor.

“The language of Christians who safeguard the Holy Spirit, Who is given as a gift, of those who know they have the Spirit Who explains to them [the truth], this language is a special language,” the Pope preached during his homily. “It is the language of gentleness and respect.”

In his meeting with children, the Pope discussed the importance of not rendering evil for evil, and in the meeting with Neocatechumenal Way communities, he spoke of the importance of the “apostolate of the ear,” in which listening precedes the speaking of a word sought in prayer. He said:

Please, do not be proselytizers, but rather evangelizers. It is ugly to go to a house in search of an extra member of the ecclesiastical firm: it is not this. “The Church does not grow by proselytism, but by attraction,” that is, by witness, by service. Be servers of all, and in this way things are good.

In speaking to the poor, he said:

It is true, Our Lady is our treasure, but in Heaven, and she helps us; Jesus in the Eucharist, in the tabernacle; and the poor are the living treasure of the Church. And when the Church, a church or a parish or a community, forgets about the poor, I would say that it celebrates the Eucharist badly, or does not truly celebrate it.

 
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  • Posted by: claude-ccc2991 - May. 24, 2017 2:04 PM ET USA

    Guess the Apostles&disciples got it wrong: they didn't rely on "attraction" only, but verbally advocated the Gospel, i.e., prosyletized. After suffering a moment of extreme disorientation from the contrast between the pope's occasional tirades & his admonition that "the language of Christians who safeguard the Holy Spirit...is gentleness&respect", I feel better now. If only this pope could distinguish what comes from the Holy Spirit, & what doesn't(e.g., rationalized socialism).

  • Posted by: feedback - May. 23, 2017 9:41 AM ET USA

    "Do not be proselytizers... Church does not grow by proselytism." No Pope in the recorded history talked so much about the "evils" of Catholic proselytising (whatever that is?). And at no other time in the history of Europe, vocations were so scarce, and so many poorly catechized (if catechized at all) Catholics were abandoning the Church and the practice of Christian morality. And yet, somehow, "proselytising Catholics" is what bothers our current Vicar of Christ. I just don't understand it.