Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pope Francis and CLAR

Reflexión y Liberación (English translation by Rebel Girl)
June 9, 2013


In an unprecedented gesture, Pope Francis received and talked for a hour with the leadership of the Confederación Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Religiosas y Religiosos (Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Men and Women Religious -- CLAR). They conversed sitting in a circle as equals, as it was in the first communities founded by Jesus...

In this simple atmosphere of trust, Francis encouraged CLAR's leaders not to be afraid to continue to bring their mission to the limits and the frontiers..."Courage! Advance towards new horizons! Don't be afraid to run risks going to the poor and the newly emerging subjects on the continent," said Pope Bergoglio who, at the end of the meeting, emphatically thanked religious life for being a "sign of and witness to the Gospel" in many places in Latin America and the Carribbean.

We are offering our readers -- exclusively -- this brief synthesis of that historic meeting that took place in the Holy See.

Audience with Pope Francis

CLAR, 6/6/2013

Open doors...Open doors!

  • You're going to make mistakes, you're going to put your foot in it...This happens! Maybe you'll even get a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith saying that you said such and such...But don't worry. Explain what you have to explain, but keep going forward...Open doors, do something wherever life demands it. I prefer a Church that makes mistakes because it did something to one that sickens because it remains shut in...


  • (on his election) I never lost peace of mind, you know. And that's not how I am. I'm more the kind to worry, to get nervous...But I never lost peace of mind. That confirmed for me that this was from God...


  • (when we reflected on the hope he's brought us with his gestures these days, with reference to his continuing to live at Santa Marta)...those gestures...haven't come from me. They didn't occur to me. It's not like I brought along a plan, or made one when they elected me. I do it because I felt it was what the Lord wanted. But those gestures aren't mine; there's Someone else here...that gives me confidence...


  • I came with just enough clothes, I washed them at night, and suddenly this...I didn't have any chance at all! In the betting in London I was in 44th place, see, whoever betted on me won a whole lot, obviously!... This doesn't come from me...


  • We have to turn things around. It isn't news when an old person dies from the cold at night in Ottaviano, or that there are so many children without education, or who are hungry -- I'm thinking about Argentina...On the other hand, the main markets in the world go up or down 3 points and it's a worldwide event. We have to turn it around! It can't be. Computers aren't made in the image and likeness of God. Only a person is in the image and likeness of God. We have to turn it around. That's the gospel.


  • We have to get to the causes, to the roots. Abortion is bad, but that's clear. But what's behind approving that law? What interests are behind it? ...Sometimes it's the conditions that big groups set for financial support, you know? We have to go to the causes; we can't just stay on the symptoms. Don't be afraid to denounce things...you're going to have a hard time, you're going to have problems, but don't be afraid to denounce things; that's prophecy in religious life...


  • I will share two concerns with you. One is the pelagian trend in the Church right now. There are certain restorationist groups. I know some; I had to receive them in Buenos Aires. And one feels that it's like going 60 years backwards! Before the Council...You feel like you're in 1940...One anecdote, just to illustrate this -- not to laugh, I take it with respect, but it concerns me. When they elected me, I got a letter from one of those groups and they told me: "Your Holiness, we are offering you this spiritual treasure -- 3,525 rosaries." Why don't they just say "we're praying for you, we're asking..."?...but this business of keeping track...And these groups are going back to practices and disciplines that I've experienced -- not you, because none of you are old -- disciplines, things that were done at that time, but not now, today they no longer exist...

    The second is the gnostic current. Those Pantheisms...Both are elite currents, but the latter is of a more educated elite...I heard about a woman superior general who encouraged the sisters of her congregation not to pray in the morning but to give themselves a spiritual bath in the cosmos -- things like that...They worry me because they skip the incarnation! And the Son of God became our flesh, the Word became flesh, and in Latin America we have plenty of flesh! What's happening with the poor, the pain, that is our flesh...

    The gospel isn't an ancient rule, nor is it this pantheism. If you look at the margins...the indigent...Drug addicts! Human trafficking...That's the gospel. The poor are the gospel...


  • (when we mentioned how hard it is to take charge of the Roman Curia and about the commission of cardinals that will support him...) And, yes...it's hard. There are holy, truthful people in the Curia, there are holy people. But there's also a current of corruption, there is, too, it's true... They talk about the "gay lobby", and it's true, it's there...we'll have to see what we can do...

    Reforming the Roman Curia is something almost all of us cardinals asked for in the gatherings before the conclave. I asked for it too. I can't make the reform, those issues of management...I'm very disorganized; I've never been good at this. But the cardinals of the commission will carry it out. There's Rodríguez Maradiaga, who's Latin American, who's leading the way; there's Errázuriz, they're very organized. The one from Munich is also very organized. They'll carry it forward.


  • Pray for me...that I make mistakes as little as possible...


  • Aparecida didn't end. Aparecida isn't just a document. It was an event. Aparecida was something different. Beginning with the fact that it didn't have a working draft. And at the end it didn't have a document either; the day before it ended, we had 2,300 "notes"...Aparecida sent us out on a continental mission. That's how Aparecida ended, on the impulse to mission.

    What was special about Aparecida was that it didn't take place in a hotel, or a retreat house...it took place in a Marian sanctuary. During the week, we would celebrate the Eucharist and there were some 250 people, because it was a normal work day. But on the weekends, it was full!...The people of God accompanied the Bishops, asking the Holy Spirit...

    I would see -- I'm naming him because I see him more standoffish, more like that, he's good, but he's like that -- I would see the prefect, João, coming out with his mitre, and the people approached him, the children approached him, and he would greet them and embrace them like that...That same bishop would then vote. He couldn't have voted the same way if he had been in a hotel!

    We had meeting rooms under the Sanctuary...So the background music was the songs, the celebrations in the Sanctuary...That gave something very special.


  • Something concerns me, although I don't know how to interpret it. There are religious orders, very, very small groups, few people, very elderly people...They don't have vocations -- what do I know? -- the Holy Spirit doesn't want them to go on, maybe they've now completed their mission in the Church, I don't know...But there they are, clinging to their buildings, clinging to money...I don't know why this is happening, I don't know how to interpret it. But I'm asking you to care about those groups...Money management...It's something that needs to be thought about.


  • Enjoy this moment we are experiencing in the Congregation for the Consecrated Life...It's a moment of sunshine...Enjoy it. The Prefect is good. And the Secretary who you "lobbied" for! No, really, being president of the USG, it was logical for it to be him! Who better?...


  • Put all your effort into dialogue with the Bishops. With CELAM, with the national conferences...I know there are some who have different ideas about communion, but...Talk to them, have conversations with them, tell them...

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