Pope Francis: Brazen Brazil Speech Speaks Volumes

Thanks to Golden Age of Gaia.

Hundreds of thousands of people cram onto Copacabana beach in Rio for the pope's vigil service. Photograph: Sergio Moraes/ReutersHundreds of thousands of people cram onto Copacabana beach in Rio for the pope’s vigil service. Photograph: Sergio Moraes/Reuters

Stephen Cook: Pope Francis delivered the longest and possibly most important speech of his Papacy so far last night in front of a huge crowd who gathered on Rio de Janiero’s famed Copacababa Beach.

It’s already causing controversy. In it, he implicitly criticised his predecessor and also called on the world to show ‘”love, forgiveness and mercy” and to reach out to the poor. Yet much of what he says will make deeper sense to us lightworkers around the world, especially if we look at the bigger picture based on our understanding of him as what Archangel Michael described as an overlighted soul and read between the lines. He even referred to St Francis in his first few words…

What also struck me was the final section of the speech (which included the Vigil, which I’ve run in full below) where he spoke to of the many major protests currently sweeping the world:

In your young hearts, you have a desire to build a better world. I have been closely following the news reports of the many young people who throughout the world have taken to the streets in order to express their desire for a more just and fraternal society – (and here in Brazil), they have gone out into the streets to express a desire for a more just and fraternal civilization. These are young people who want to be agents of change.

I encourage them, in an orderly, peaceful and responsible manner, motivated by the values ​​of the Gospel, to continue overcoming apathy and offering a Christian response to social and political concerns present in their countries. But the question remains: Where do we start? What are the criteria for building a more just society? Mother Teresa of Calcutta was once asked what needed to change in the Church. Her answer was: you and I!

Pope Francis walks around the Varginha favela in Rio de Janeiro, a community of 1000 people which for decades was under the sway of narco-traffickers. Photo: AFPPope Francis walks around the Varginha favela in Rio de Janeiro, a community of 1000 people which for decades was under the sway of narco-traffickers. Photo: AFP

Pope Tells Brazilian Church to Keep it Simple and Reach Out to the Poor

By Associated Press in Rio de Janeiro, The Guardian- July 28, 2013

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/28/pope-brazil-church-message-poor-rio

Pope Francis drew hundreds of thousands of flag-waving faithful to Rio’s Copacabana beach on Saturday for the final evening of World Youth Day, hours after he chastised the Brazilian church for failing to stem the “exodus” of Catholics to evangelical congregations.

Francis headed into the final hours of his first international trip riding a remarkable wave of popularity. By the time his open-sided car reached the stage for the vigil service on Saturday night, the back seat was piled high with football jerseys, flags and flowers tossed to him by adoring pilgrims lining the beachfront route.

The vigil capped a busy day for the pope in which he drove home a message he has emphasizsed throughout the week in speeches, homilies and off-the-cuff remarks: the need for Catholics, lay and religious, to shake up the status quo, get out of their stuffy sacristies and reach the faithful on the margins of society or risk losing them to rival churches.

In the longest and most important speech of his four-month pontificate, Francis took a direct swipe at the “intellectual” message of the church that so characterised the pontificate of his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Speaking to Brazil’s bishops, he said ordinary Catholics didn’t understand such lofty ideas and needed to hear the simpler message of love, forgiveness and mercy that he said was at the core of the Catholic faith.

“At times we lose people because they don’t understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people,” he said. “Without the grammar of simplicity, the church loses the very conditions which make it possible to fish for God in the deep waters of his mystery.”

Francis asked bishops to reflect on why hundreds of thousands of Catholics had left the church for Protestant and Pentecostal congregations that have grown exponentially in recent decades, particularly in Brazil’s slums or favelas, where their charismatic message and nuts-and-bolts advice has been welcomed.

According to census data, the number of Catholics in Brazil dipped from 125m in 2000 to 123m in 2010, with the church’s share of the total population dropping from 74% to 65%. Over the same period, the number of evangelical Protestants and Pentecostals skyrocketed from 26m to 42m, increasing from 15% to 22% of the population in 2010.

Francis offered a breathtakingly blunt list of explanations for the “exodus.”

“Perhaps the church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas,” he said. “Perhaps the world seems to have made the church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions. Perhaps the church could speak to people in their infancy but not to those come of age.”

The Vatican said Francis read the five-page speech in its entirety to the 300 or so bishops gathered for lunch in the auditorium of the Rio archbishop’s residence. He was due to speak to the bishops of Latin America on Sunday before heading back to Rome, said the Rev Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.

Copacabana beach was overflowing for the final vigil on Saturday night. Local media, citing information from the mayor’s office, said 3m people were on hand for the vigil – three times as many as at the last World Youth Day vigil in Madrid in 2011.

Rio’s mayor estimated as many as 3m people might turn out for Sunday’s culminating Mass. (Stephen: The Vatican was more conservative, estimating around 1 million people were actually there)

The Argentinian pope began his day with a Mass in Rio’s beehive-like modern cathedral where he exhorted 1,000 bishops from around the world to go out and find the faithful, a more diplomatic expression of the direct, off-the-cuff instructions he delivered to young Argentinian pilgrims on Thursday.

In those remarks, he urged the youngsters to make a “mess” in their dioceses and shake things up, even at the expense of confrontation with their bishops and priests.

“We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities when so many people are waiting for the Gospel,” Francis said in his homily on Saturday. “It’s not enough simply to open the door in welcome, but we must go out through that door to seek and meet the people.”

Pope Francis - rio vigilPope Francis: WYD Prayer Vigil (full text)

From Vatican Radio – July 27, 2013

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/07/28/pope_francis:_wyd_prayer_vigil_(full_text)/en1-714565

Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis to Brazil

Address of the Holy Father

Vigil with Young People

(Rio de Janeiro, 27 July 2013)

Dear Young Friends,

We have just recalled the story of Saint Francis of Assisi. In front of the crucifix he heard the voice of Jesus saying to him: “Francis, go, rebuild my house”. The young Francis responded readily and generously to the Lord’s call to rebuild his house. But which house? Slowly but surely, Francis came to realize that it was not a question of repairing a stone building, but about doing his part for the life of the Church. It was a matter of being at the service of the Church, loving her and working to make the countenance of Christ shine ever more brightly in her.

Today too, as always, the Lord needs you, young people, for his Church. Today too, he is calling each of you to follow him in his Church and to be missionaries. How? In what way? Well, I think we can learn something from what happened in these days: as we had to cancel due to bad weather, the realization of this vigil on the campus Fidei, in Guaratiba. Lord willing might we say that the real area of ​​faith, the true campus fidei, is not a geographical place – but we, ourselves? Yes! Each of us, each one of you.

And missionary discipleship means to recognize that we are God’s campus fidei, His “field of faith”! Therefore, from the image of the field of faith, starting with the name of the place, Campus Fidei, the field of faith, I have thought of three images that can help us understand better what it means to be a disciple and a missionary. First, a field is a place for sowing seeds; second, a field is a training ground; and third, a field is a construction site.

1. A field is a place for sowing seeds. We all know the parable where Jesus speaks of a sower who went out to sow seeds in the field; some seed fell on the path, some on rocky ground, some among thorns, and could not grow; other seed fell on good soil and brought forth much fruit (cf. Mt 13:1-9). Jesus himself explains the meaning of the parable: the seed is the word of God sown in our hearts (cf. Mt 13:18-23). This, dear young people, means that the real Campus Fidei, the field of faith, is your own heart, it is your life. It is your life that Jesus wants to enter with his word, with his presence. Please, let Christ and his word enter your life, blossom and grow.

Jesus tells us that the seed which fell on the path or on the rocky ground or among the thorns bore no fruit. What kind of ground are we? What kind of terrain do we want to be? Maybe sometimes we are like the path: we hear the Lord’s word but it changes nothing in our lives because we let ourselves be numbed by all the superficial voices competing for our attention; or we are like the rocky ground: we receive Jesus with enthusiasm, but we falter and, faced with difficulties, we don’t have the courage to swim against the tide; or we are like the thorny ground: negativity, negative feelings choke the Lord’s word in us (cf. Mt 13:18-22).

But today I am sure that the seed is falling on good soil, that you want to be good soil, not part-time Christians, not “starchy” and superficial, but real. I am sure that you don’t want to be duped by a false freedom, always at the beck and call of momentary fashions and fads. I know that you are aiming high, at long-lasting decisions which will make your lives meaningful. Jesus is capable of letting you do this: he is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). Let’s trust in him. Let’s make him our guide!

2. A field is a training ground. Jesus asks us to follow him for life, he asks us to be his disciples, to “play on his team”. I think that most of you love sports! Here in Brazil, as in other countries, football is a national passion. Now, what do players do when they are asked to join a team? They have to train, and to train a lot! The same is true of our lives as the Lord’s disciples. Saint Paul tells us: “athletes deny themselves all sorts of things; they do this to win a crown of leaves that withers, but we a crown that is imperishable” (1 Cor 9:25).

Jesus offers us something bigger than the World Cup! He offers us the possibility of a fulfilled and fruitful life; he also offers us a future with him, an endless future, eternal life. But he asks us to train, “to get in shape”, so that we can face every situation in life undaunted, bearing witness to our faith. How do we get in shape? By talking with him: by prayer, which is our daily conversation with God, who always listens to us. By the sacraments, which make his life grow within us and conform us to Christ. By loving one another, learning to listen, to understand, to forgive, to be accepting and to help others, everybody, with no one excluded or ostracized. Dear young people, be true “athletes of Christ”!

3. A field is a construction site. When our heart is good soil which receives the word of God, when “we build up a sweat” in trying to live as Christians, we experience something tremendous: we are never alone, we are part of a family of brothers and sisters, all journeying on the same path: we are part of the Church; indeed, we are building up the Church and we are making history. Saint Peter tells us that we are living stones, which form a spiritual edifice (cf. 1 Pet 2:5). Looking at this platform, we see that it is in the shape of a church, built up with stones and bricks.

In the Church of Jesus, we ourselves are the living stones. Jesus is asking us to build up his Church, but not as a little chapel which holds only a small group of persons. He asks us to make his living Church so large that it can hold all of humanity, that it can be a home for everyone! To me, to you, to each of us he says: “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Tonight, let us answer him: Yes, I too want to be a living stone; together we want to build up the Church of Jesus! Let us all say together: I want to go forth and build up the Church of Christ!

In your young hearts, you have a desire to build a better world. I have been closely following the news reports of the many young people who throughout the world have taken to the streets in order to express their desire for a more just and fraternal society – (and here in Brazil), they have gone out into the streets to express a desire for a more just and fraternal civilization. These are young people who want to be agents of change.

I encourage them, in an orderly, peaceful and responsible manner, motivated by the values ​​of the Gospel, to continue overcoming apathy and offering a Christian response to social and political concerns present in their countries. But the question remains: Where do we start? What are the criteria for building a more just society? Mother Teresa of Calcutta was once asked what needed to change in the Church. Her answer was: you and I!

Dear friends, never forget that you are the field of faith! You are Christ’s athletes! You are called to build a more beautiful Church and a better world. Let us lift our gaze to Our Lady. Mary helps us to follow Jesus, she gives us the example by her own “yes” to God: “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me as you say” (Lk 1:38). All together, let us join Mary in saying to God: let it be done to me as you say. Amen!

2 comments

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.