Pope Francis speaks in favor of mercy, not becoming “slaves” to the church’s institutions

December 19, 2015

Any efforts at reform or renewal of the Catholic Church that do not place God’s mercy at the center of their work are “useless” because they make Catholics “slaves” to the church’s institutions, Pope Francis said Wednesday.  In his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square just one day after launching his global Jubilee year of mercy,  Pope Francis said that “only a merciful Church shines.”

“The necessary work of renewal of the church’s institutions and structures is a means that must bring us to make alive and enlivened the experience of God’s mercy that alone can guarantee a Church that is a city upon a hill that cannot remain hidden,” said the Pope.

“If we were to forget, even just for a moment, that mercy is ’that which God likes most,’ every one of our labors would be useless because we would become slaves of our institutions and our structures, however renewed they might be,” he said. “We would always be slaves.”

“The Church has need of this extraordinary moment,” the Pope began his audience Wednesday. “In our era of deep changes, the Church is called to offer its particular contribution, making visible the signs of the presence and closeness of God.” 

“The Jubilee is an opportune time for all of us so that, contemplating the divine mercy that overcomes every human limit and shines over the darkness of sin, we can become more convincing and efficacious witnesses,” he continued.  “Turning the gaze to God, merciful Father, and to our brothers and sisters in need of mercy, means putting attention on the essential content of the Gospel: Jesus, mercy made flesh, who makes visible to our eyes the great mystery of the Trinitarian love of God,” he said.

Quoting off-the-cuff from the fourth-century bishop, theologian and saint Ambrose, the pontiff said the theologian once reflected on the Genesis account of creation and asked why God said God’s creation of man and woman was “very good” while his creation of other animals was only “good.” “Because at the end God had someone to forgive.” Francis quoted Ambrose.  It is beautiful, eh?” he said. “God’s joy is forgiving; God’s being is mercy. In this year, we must open our hearts so that this love, this joy of God fills us all with this mercy.”


See the full article at NCR and The Vatican Insider.