Francis addressed fellow Jesuits today who are contributors and directors of the journal Civiltà Cattolica, a Jesuit Italian publication established in 1850.
The Pope kept the papal tradition of addressing the staff and writers of the journal. In his speech, he recommended three key words: dialogue, discernment and frontier.
The Holy Father noted that over the 163 years of the journal's existence, various styles can be detected.
"Your fidelity to the Church still requires that you be hard against hypocrisies," he said in the context of his reflections on dialogue.
"However, your main task is not to build walls but bridges; it is to establish a dialogue with all men, also with those who do not share the Christian faith," he said, citing Gaudium et Spes to include in this group those who cultivate human values and even those who oppress the Church.
"To dialogue," the Pontiff said, "means to be convinced that the other has something good to say, to make room for his point of view, for his opinion, for his proposals without falling, obviously, into relativism. And to dialogue it is necessary to lower one’s defenses and to open the doors."
The Gospel today
Regarding discernment, Francis said that Civiltà Cattolica must offer elements to enable a "reading of the reality in the light of the Gospel."
"The great spiritual questions are more alive today than ever, but there is need of someone to interpret them and to understand them," he said.
Francis' final word for reflection was frontier.
"The mission of a review of culture such as La Civiltà Cattolica enters the contemporary cultural debate and proposes, in a serious and at the same time accessible way, the vision that comes from the Christian faith," he said. "The break between Gospel and culture is undoubtedly a tragedy (cf. Evangelii nuntiandi, 20). You are called to give your contribution to heal this break, which passes also through the heart of each one of you and of your readers."
"Please, be men of the frontier, with that capacity that comes from God," the Pope urged the Jesuit scholars. "But do not fall into the temptation of taming the frontiers: you must go to the frontiers and not bring the frontiers home to varnish them a bit and tame them. In today’s world, subject to rapid changes and agitated by questions of great relevance for the life of the faith, a courageous commitment is urgent to educate to a faith of conviction and maturity, capable of giving meaning to life and of offering convincing answers to all those seeking God."
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