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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid