Pope Francis started a new cycle of catechesis on the identity of the Church and its role in the world. He emphasized that the Church is not an NGO, or even a private entity. Furthermore, he said the Church is not synonymous with the Vatican or even with priests.
"People say, 'The Church says....' But we are all part of the Church. Who are you referring to? Priests? Yes priests are part of the Church, but we are all the Church. Don't limit it to priests, bishops or even to the Vatican.”
He went on to explain that the Church is much more than just an institution. He described it as a community of God, that was started by God.
"Usually it was mankind who called on the divine, to try and reduce the distance. It called for support and protection. People prayed to gods and divine symbols. But in this case, something incredible happens. It's God who takes the initiative. Let's focus on this, ok. It's God Himself who calls on Abraham.”
He then added that it's through the Church that God shows His love for mankind.
Since June 20th is World Refugee Day, the Pope also asked for prayers and concrete help for those who are forced to flee their countries.
"Refugees from different countries and from different religious beliefs go through harm and pain that cannot easily be repaired. Let's not forget that Jesus was a refugee. He had to flee to survive, along with St. Joseph and Mary. They went to Egypt. Jesus was a refugee. Let us pray to Our Lady, who understands the pain of refugees, so that She may be close to these brothers and sisters.”
Before starting the audience in the Square, the Pope greeted and blessed the sick, indoors for about an hour. There were plenty of selfies, hugs and even some tears, like in this case, where a father sees his son greet the Pope.