Pope tells Latin American bishops to shun ideology, empower laity

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) — Reducing the faith to a worldly ideology, prizing administrative efficiency over missionary zeal, and exalting the role of clergy to the detriment of the laity are some of the major “temptations” undermining evangelization in Latin America, Pope Francis told church leaders from the region.

“The decision for missionary discipleship will encounter temptation,” the pope said July 28 at a meeting with the coordinating committee of the Latin American bishops’ conference, CELAM. “It is important to know where the evil spirit is afoot in order to aid our discernment.”

Pope Francis spoke with forceful words on the role of bishops, instructing them to lead without being authoritarian, to adopt “simplicity and austerity of life” and to care for their dioceses without ambitions for more prominent appointments.

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Pope says he’d rather trust God than live in bullet-proof bubble

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM BRAZIL (CNS) — With a few Vatican police standing at attention in the very back of the Alitalia plane flying him back to Rome, Pope Francis told reporters about his security even before being asked.

“My security staff is very, very good and now they are letting me do a little bit more,” but they must do their jobs, which is to protect him, he said.

Beginning his first news conference as pope with a review of his July 22-28 stay in Brazil for World Youth Day, Pope Francis said it was “beautiful” and “spiritually it did me good.”

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Pope discusses women in the church, divorce, his own spirituality

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM BRAZIL (CNS) — From his personal prayer life and spirituality to the role of women in the church and the pastoral care of the divorced, Pope Francis responded to several questions about church teaching and ministry July 28 when he met reporters on his flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome.

On the possibility of the Catholic Church ordaining women priests, Pope Francis said, “the church has spoken and said, ‘no,'” and the form in which Blessed John Paul II declared that was “a definitive formula.” Blessed John Paul said that because Jesus chose only men as his disciples, the church was not able to ordain women.

However, Pope Francis said, the Catholic Church still has far to go in developing a real theology that explains the importance of women in the church and how it would be impossible for the church to live up to its role as mother and bride without the contribution of women.

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Pope answers questions about Curia reforms, gay lobby

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM BRAZIL (CNS) — Pope Francis said he was responding to the clear wishes of the College of Cardinals when he set up commissions to study the Vatican bank, Vatican financial and administrative procedures and the reform of the Roman Curia.

The pope also said he knows people have spoken about some kind of “gay lobby” at the Vatican protecting certain priests by threatening to blackmail others. The pope said the “lobbying” is what is worrisome.

Pope Francis held his first news conference July 28, shortly after the Alitalia flight taking him back to Rome departed from Rio de Janeiro. He answered questions from 21 journalists over a period of 80 minutes. The questions were not submitted in advance and no topics were ruled out of bounds.

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Pope tells Brazil’s bishops to speak with simple language, love

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) — Acknowledging the Catholic Church’s heavy loss of members in Brazil over recent decades, Pope Francis told the country’s bishops that they must learn to understand and sympathize with the reasons for people’s disaffection and speak to them in a simpler language of beauty, mystery and love.

“We need a church capable of walking at people’s side, of doing more than simply listening to them, a church which accompanies them on their journey,” he said.

The pope made his remarks July 27 at a meeting with 300 active and retired Brazilian cardinals and bishops. According to the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the five-page speech was the longest to date of his young pontificate.

While counseling hope, the pope painted a grim picture of the church’s state in Brazil.

(full story)