When the Church's mission is extinguished, sterile debates and polarizations arise

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Pope Francis reflected on the role of the Holy Spirit in evangelization. The Pope said that He is the 'protagonist of proclamation' and that it is important 'that all of us—each one personally and as an ecclesial community—listen to the Spirit, who is the protagonist.'

The Pope also warned the whole Church that if it does not pray to the Holy Spirit, 'it closes in on itself, creates sterile and exhausting debates, wearisome polarizations, and the flame of mission is extinguished.'


Dear brothers and sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on apostolic zeal—the burning desire to share the joy of the Gospel—we now turn to the role of the Holy Spirit, sent by Jesus on the day of Pentecost to inaugurate the mission of the Apostles to make disciples of all nations. In the early Church’s great missionary outreach, the Holy Spirit appears as the driving force, preparing hearts to receive the Gospel and confirming the Apostles in their witness to the risen Lord.

The momentous decision of the Council of Jerusalem not to require converts to observe the Mosaic law was the fruit of prayerful discernment and communicated with the formula, “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28). In every age, the Spirit illumines and guides the Church’s proclamation of the Gospel. Today, Ash Wednesday, invites us to invoke the light of the Spirit upon our individual lives as followers of Christ and on the Church’s mission of bringing the consolation of Jesus to the desolation of a world that thirsts for the justice, peace and reconciled unity which are the fruit of the Lord’s passover from death to life at Easter.

I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from the Netherlands, the Philippines and the United States of America. May the Lenten journey we begin today bring us to Easter with hearts purified and renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Upon you and your families I invoke joy and peace in Christ our Redeemer. 

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