News / Europe

Pope Warns Church Against Closing in on Itself

Pope Francis kisses a child at the end of a mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, May 19, 2013.
Pope Francis kisses a child at the end of a mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, May 19, 2013.
Reuters
— Pope Francis warned the Catholic Church to not close in on itself at a Mass to mark Pentecost Sunday attended by more than 200,000 people, urging the faithful to be open and present in a new and changing world.
    
The Church should ask itself daily whether it is resisting new challenges and remaining "barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new," he said.
    
"Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control," Francis said in his homily in front of a packed St. Peter's Square, adding that change can bring fulfillment.
    
The Pentecost Mass marks the day the Church says the Holy Spirit descended on Christ's apostles, or disciples, and is regarded as the birthday of the Church.
    
Francis warned of the threat of an institution which is "self-referential, closed in on herself," and spoke of the courage to "take to the streets of the world" and reach "the very outskirts of existence."
    
Later he toured the square in an open-top white vehicle, greeting cheering crowds and kissing young children.
    
Since his election in March as the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, Francis has been urging Church leaders to go out into their communities and help the poor and suffering, rather than focusing on internal politics.
    
Morale among the faithful has been hit by a widespread child sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests and in-fighting and careerism in the Church government or curia.
    
The 76-year-old former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has given clear signs he will bring a new broom to the papacy, favoring humility and simplicity over pomp and grandeur.
    
He has set up an advisory board of cardinals from around the world to help him reform a Vatican administration which has been held responsible for some of the mishaps and scandals that plagued the eight-year reign of his predecessor Benedict.
    
At a vigil on Saturday evening, Francis said Catholics must become courageous and seek out the people who need help the most rather than sitting around, dissecting theology.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid