The Church asks of society just one thing: the freedom to proclaim the Gospel in full, also when it goes against current values, Pope Francis said today in an audience with the bishops of East Timor.
The Holy Father addressed the prelates, in Rome for their ad Limina Apostolorum visit, and focused on the mission of the Church in proclaiming the Gospel.
Encouraging the bishops, the Pope told them to not be afraid to announce forgiveness and love in a society that is increasingly unmerciful.
This is why I never tire of calling all the Church to a ‘revolution of tenderness, he said.
Regarding the formation of vocations to the priesthood, religious life and the laity, the Pope stressed its importance in meeting the challenges faced by the faithful today. Once a person experiences Gods love, he said,it does not take long for that person to rise and proclaim the Gospel, and they do not require great lessons or instruction.
Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he encounters God’s love in Jesus Christ, he continued. In all baptised persons, it is the Spirit that leads them to evangelize.
The Holy Father also reflected on the role of the bishop, which he said has three distinct positions. A bishop, he said, must be at the head of his flock, in order to show the way; in the centre, to maintain unity and neutralise any stampedes; and behind, to ensure that no-one is left behind or strays [away].
Concluding his address, Pope Francis called on the bishops of East Timor to support the faithful of their country with love and patience, while fostering an environment that is conducive to hope.
May you have sun and light in your hearts! he exclaimed.