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Pope Francis

Pope Francis visits Benedict XVI before his upcoming birthday

April 13, 2017. Vatican releases statement that the pope visited Benedict XVI yesterday.

Pope to priests and religious: Don't fear challenges, instead fear faith without challenges


During his visit to Milan, the pope held a meeting with priests and consecrated people in the Duomo. 

Before beginning, he prayed for a while in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the "Scurolo di San Carlo.” Then, Pope Francis started the meeting by greeting the attendees.

"Pray for me.”
"Yes, yes!”

Posed three questions during the encounter, the pope had written responses beforehand, instead of going off the cuff like normally. Two of the questions addressed the current situation and how priests and religious are able to fully live out their vocation despite difficulties.

"We must not fear challenges. How often do we hear lamentations: "Ah, these days, there are so many challenges, and we are sad…. No. Do not be afraid. We must instead fear a faith without challenges, a faith that considers itself complete, all complete: it does not need other things, all is done. This faith is so watered down that it is useless. We must be afraid of this.”

Additionally, he spoke about the role of discernment, especially within the deaconate, and the danger of clericalism.

"At times I see someone who assists at the liturgy: it almost seems as if he wants to take the place of the priest. Clericalism, beware of clericalism. And another temptation is functionalism: it is a help that the priest has for this or that; a boy to carry out certain tasks and not for other things. No. You have a clear charism in the Church and you must build it.”

He then closed the meeting by praying with everyone and delivering a blessing, before exiting in the popemobile.