The Catholic Church must be open and welcoming | Catholic National Register

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Speaking from a window facing St. Peter’s Square, Francis said that sometimes Catholics, instead of having humble and open communities, “can come across as ‘the top of the class’ and to keep others at a distance “.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis said on Sunday that the Catholic Church must be open and welcoming to others, warning that division and exclusion come from Satan.

“We must also be vigilant about the closure of the Church,” he said before leading the Angelus prayer at the Vatican on September 26.

“Because the devil, who is the divisor – that’s what the word ‘devil’ means – always insinuates suspicion to divide and exclude,” he added.

Speaking from a window facing St. Peter’s Square, Francis said that sometimes Catholics, instead of having humble and open communities, “can come across as ‘the top of the class’ and to keep others at a distance “.

“Let us ask for the grace to overcome the temptation to judge and categorize,” he said, “and may God preserve us from the ‘nest’ mentality of jealously guarding us in the small group of those who consider themselves good.

Pope Francis warned that there are sometimes groups of people, such as a priest and his parishioners, certain pastoral workers, or movements and associations with particular charisms that are closed to strangers.

“All of this risks making Christian communities places of separation and not of communion,” he declared. “The Holy Spirit doesn’t want closure; He wants openness and welcoming communities where there is room for everyone.

After leading the Angelus, a traditional prayer on the Virgin Mary, the Pope referred to the September 26 celebration of World Migrants and Refugees Day.

He said “we must walk together, without prejudice and without fear, standing alongside the most vulnerable: migrants, refugees, displaced persons, victims of trafficking and the abandoned. We are called to build an increasingly inclusive world that excludes no one.

François hosted several groups with the aim of helping migrants and refugees, who were gathered below him in St. Peter’s Square.

Groups that help migrants and refugees applaud during the Angelus on September 26, 2021. Vatican media.

“Thank you all for your generous commitment,” he said. The Pope then invited everyone present to visit the sculpture “Angels Unawares” before leaving the Vatican.

The 20-foot-tall bronze statue, unveiled in 2019, is based on Hebrews 13: 2, “Be welcoming to strangers, many have entertained angels without knowing it. “

The sculpture, by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, depicts migrants through history crammed onto a boat with the Holy Family.

Pointing to the statue in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said: “Expect the gaze of these people and welcome in this gaze the hope of resuming life that every migrant has today”.

“Go ahead, see this monument,” he urged. “Let’s not close the doors to their hope.

Canadian sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz poses next to his sculpture, 'Angels Unawares.'  Daniel Ibanez / AIIC.

Canadian sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz poses next to his sculpture, ‘Angels Unawares.’ Daniel Ibanez / AIIC.

Before the Angelus, the Pope also reflected on the Gospel of Saint Mark’s day, in which the evangelist recalls when Jesus said to his disciples: “If your hand makes you sin, cut it off. It is better to enter life mutilated than with two hands to enter Gehenna, in the unquenchable fire.

Pope Francis said that Jesus wants us to stop judging others and worry about our own behavior first. “Indeed, the risk is to be inflexible towards others and indulgent towards oneself,” he noted.

“Jesus is radical, demanding, but for our own good, like a good doctor,” he continued. “Every cut, every pruning, is so that we can better grow and bear fruit in love.”

“So let us ask ourselves: What is it in me that is contrary to the gospel? Concretely, what does Jesus want me to cut out of my life?

“Let us pray to Mary Immaculate so that she helps us to be welcoming towards others and vigilant towards ourselves”, he concluded.


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