Pope to Priests: If you focus on bureaucracy, our Mother Church becomes a step mom
Tablets, cell phones and cameras...they were all focused on Pope Francis to mark this special meeting in Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran.
The Pope led a meditation in the World Retreat of Priests, which included more than 1,000 priest and Bishops from 90 countries.
The retreat was organized by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal. As part of his reflection, the Pope said it's healthy for them to be together and even to have heated discussions.
"A Church where no discussions take place, is a dead Church. Do you know where no discussions take place at all? In cemeteries, there no one discusses anything. No one.â?
The Pope touched on many issues. He reflected on the priestly ministry, it's highs, lows and mission. He called on priests to be close to their flock and to show mercy, especially when administering Confession.
"Please, not a Church without Jesus and without mercy...no! Don't scare our faithful. When this happens...when the heart of a priest is bureaucratic and focused on laws, the Mother Church of so many faithful turns into a step mom.â?
The Pope also talked about the importance of giving good homilies that come from the heart. It's a space to talk about Jesus, he said, and not to give lectures.
"Don't forget that homilies are not conferences. It's not a catechism course.â?
More than an hour had passed but the Pope was ready for more. He gave priests a chance to ask some questions.
Responding to a priest from Peru, the Pope said, it's important to be close to those who face poverty and to never look down at them, for that he added would be an ideology.
When addressing a European priest, the Pope said he would be willing to unite the Feast of Jesus' Resurrection with all Christians. Perhaps the second Sunday of April.
He then told this African priest, that he is indeed planning on visiting Africa, possibly visiting the Central African Republic, Uganda and Kenya.
Afterwards the Pope celebrated Mass with the group. A Mass marked by the spontaneous spirit the Charismatic Renewal is known for. The Pope got to know the movement well, during his time in Buenos Aires.