Pope Francis Gold Dust II – Creativity and the Motherhood of the Church

Photo courtesy of tacticdesigns

Photo courtesy of tacticdesigns

Here’s some more ‘gold dust’ from Pope Francis’ address to the Brazilian bishops.

This weekend in the Catholic Herald, Bishop Philip speaks about how we do not need more ‘tradition’ to further the new evangelisation, but rather more creativity. We can get hung up on structures (something that Pope  John Paul II also warned against brilliantly in Novo Millenio Ineunte).

Getting hung up on structures happens at every point of the Catholic “spectrum”: those who think if we use a particular textbook or catechetical method it will solve all our problems; those who are wedded to bureaucracy because it makes everything easier to ‘control’ or manage; those who see ‘roles’ within the Church in terms of ecclesiological power, rather than in the context of vocation or following the Lord’s call. Structures gradually suck life out of our faith if we allow them to.

Pope Francis speaks about it brilliantly:

“Dear brothers, the results of our pastoral work do not depend on a wealth of resources, but on the creativity of love. To be sure, perseverance, effort, hard work, planning and organization all have their place, but first and foremost we need to realize that the Church’s power does not reside in herself; it is hidden in the deep waters of God, into which she is called to cast her nets.”

This has implications for all our pastoral work. I think it’s important we never get into the mindset of thinking that a pastoral need must be met because a box has been ticked, provision has been supplied in the words of a document. No – careful planning can never replace the love, compassion, mercy God awakes in our hearts to respond to the needs of another. Even if it falls outside our hours of work, outside our remit, on our day off. All of us who evangelise, who catechise, participate in the Church’s Motherhood – who is awake day and night bringing forth life…

“Concerning pastoral conversion, I would like to recall that “pastoral care” is nothing other than the exercise of the Church’s motherhood. She gives birth, suckles, gives growth, corrects, nourishes and leads by the hand … So we need a Church capable of rediscovering the maternal womb of mercy. Without mercy we have little chance nowadays of becoming part of a world of “wounded” persons in need of understanding, forgiveness, love.”

About transformedinchrist

I live in Southsea and work for the Diocese of Portsmouth. My first love is for catechesis and evangelisation: until January 2013, I worked for a busy, thriving parish in south London coordinating the catechesis - sacramental programmes and adult formation. In November 2013, I completed my MA in catechetics at Maryvale Institute, Birmingham. View all posts by transformedinchrist

One response to “Pope Francis Gold Dust II – Creativity and the Motherhood of the Church

  • Paul Rodden

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Paradoxically, most of the wounded I know seem to have been more wounded by their fellow parishioners, teachers, and priests, than anything the world has thrown at them.

    Many parishes seem like a playground for bullies. They seem to help the bullies thrive, or they certainly turn a blind eye, letting them get away with it, as if to be truly Christian is just ‘to be nice’ – which isn’t mercy. It’s relativism, it’s colluding with evil.

    As you imply, ‘…those who see ‘roles’ within the Church in terms of ecclesiological power, rather than in the context of vocation or following the Lord’s call. Structures gradually suck life out of our faith if we allow them to.’ How true. To allow this is an affront to mercy, yet it’s been the staple diet of many of our parishes since the ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’ psychobabble entered our seminaries and parishes in the 1960s.

    Often, God’s mercy in the Old Testament certainly wasn’t ‘warm and cuddly’, and I don’t think human mercy should be either. I think we must always be kind, but firm – following the lead of bishops like Egan and Davies, for example, challenging-in-charity.

    We have to proclaim true Fatherhood, and the ‘tough mercy’ which derives from that – a righteous anger born from care – to a culture which sees ‘fatherhood’ through a faulty anthropological lens of animalistic drives and instincts and so inherently violent: tell a man he’s just a pig, and he’ll behave like one.

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