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‘We must all take responsibility to evangelise,’ says Pope Francis

By on Thursday, 18 April 2013

Pope Francis (Photo: AP)

Pope Francis (Photo: AP)

The clergy are not solely responsible for spreading the Gospel, Pope Francis said in his morning homily on Wednesday.

The Pope spoke at Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican guesthouse where he has been living since his election in March, and where he has been regularly celebrating morning Mass for different groups of Vatican employees.

Speaking to a congregation of employees of the Vatican bank, Pope Francis commented on the day’s reading from the Acts of Apostles (8:1-8), in which the early Christians scatter to escape a “severe persecution” and then go “about preaching the word.”

“They left home, perhaps they brought a few things with them; they had no security but went from place to place announcing the Word,” he said

“They are simple believers, baptised for only a year or maybe slightly longer. But they had the courage to go and announce. And they were believed. And they performed miracles.”

Pope Francis also noted the history of Japanese Catholics, who survived without priests for two centuries after missionaries were expelled in the 17th century. When missionaries were finally permitted to return, the Pope added, they found “all the communities in order, all baptised, all catechised, all married in the church.”

The Pope questioned whether laypeople today have equal faith in the “strength of baptism.” All of the baptised must “announce Jesus with our life, with our witness and with our words,” the Pope said.

“When we do this, the church becomes a mother church that bears children, but when we don’t do it, the church becomes not a mother but a babysitter church, which takes care of the child to put him to sleep.”

  • Benedict Carter

    All good stuff, yes; but as as we have ecumenism, it’s all so many words which won’t be followed up in any way.

  • Ora Pro Nobis

    Evangelisation is were the reforms and changes will come. Pope Francis said:

    “Put simply, there are two images of the Church: a Church which evangelises and
    comes out of herself” by hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming
    it with faith; and “the worldly Church, living within herself, of herself, for
    herself,” he said, adding that…..

    “this should shed light on the possible changes and reforms which must be done
    for the salvation of souls.”


  • paulpriest

    How can we possibly begin to evangelise when most of us haven’t got a clue what to evangelise, let alone how?
    We desperately need the CEG back…

  • Benedict Carter

    Yes, but which way will the spinning coin drop?

    We Traditionalists say that the modern Church lives just for itself – you should have read Paul Priest’s posts of 2-3 years back about what he calls “Future Church”, which lives purely for itself and its professional paid hangers-on in every diocesan Chancery and truly does not care at all, in any way whatsoever, about the laity. Our answer is to return to sound Catholic doctrine and practice.

    The liberals also have a take on it: it would appear that their answer is banjos and “Feeeel the hand of Gawwdddd” type sermons based on making themselves feel tearful.

    Which way will Francis go? He’s known to be a man governed by emotion so the reports from Argentina say.

    The third way is what we have had with JPII and BXVI and its been a terrible failure. If you are building on the sand of bad doctrine (ecumenism etc) then your house is going to fall down.

  • James Callender

    We Traditionalists say that the modern Church lives just for itself -
    you should have read Paul Priest’s posts of 2-3 years back about what
    he calls “Future Church”, which lives purely for itself and its
    professional paid hangers-on in every diocesan Chancery and truly does
    not care at all, in any way whatsoever, for the laity.”
    Yes, again setting up a straw man to burn down. How many parishes are really like this? I’ve never seen a parish this polarised. Only the internet bloggers seem to want to polarise everything.

    If you don’t like the current pope, then why not go and join another church? Not hard is it?

  • James Callender

    “How can we possibly begin to evangelise when most of us haven’t got a clue what to evangelise”
    Well, maybe that requires a bit of SELF-REFLECTION rather than just blaming other people all the time…

  • paulpriest

    Yeah we know – he said it in the pre-conclave election-manifesto too…
    The physician needs to heal itself first…lest we merely spread the contagion.

  • paulpriest

    Er…maybe that requires some people stop criticising people who are trying to not be part of the problem…and looking for solutions…

  • paulpriest

    Have you read my ‘futurechurch’ arguments?
    Proposals which are trying to prevent the systemic destruction of the parish?
    How many parishes are on the verge of collapse?
    Catholic teen lapsation? around 94%
    Bishops in denial that their ‘programs for renewal’ over the past two generations have failed abysmally..
    Derisory Catholic Education and scandalously negligent sacramental preparation…
    We’re screwed!!!
    And having a collective group-hug declaring how wonderful we are and how this wonderfulness can be spread around via ‘new evangelisation’ is sheer folly…we need to learn who we are and why first before we dare to attempt to tell anyone else…

  • Kevin

    “The Pope questioned whether laypeople today have equal faith in the ‘strength of baptism.’”


  • defiant12314

    and how pray are we to do this when we are working all the hours God sends just to keep our heads above water?


    Frank Sheed…..are you trying to be funny??

  • paulpriest

    No joke – just your worst nightmare – especially given your crowd have been having a laugh for three generations!

  • LocutusOP

    It would be nice if the Catholic Herald always provided a link to the full transcripts so that we can sum up what the Pope says on our own.

    If the headline accurately sums up what he said, then I can only agree fully.

  • NatOns

    A straw man? There has been a struggle in the Catholic liturgy for forty odd years, between ‘Now-Dude-Make-It-Now!’ types and ‘Who-Cares; but aren’t the kiddies real nice!’ sorts. For those who seek to maintain a witness to the Sacred Tradition of the living Faith – and what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council actually sought in liturgy – there has been no place; until Blessed John Paul II belatedly woke up to the mayhem: cf. his Liturgicam Authenticam et al.

    Much as I like Rock ‘n’ Roll, Beat Ballads, Pop-Folk and hippy-hippy-shaking to the twist and shout, it was my generation after all, yet that can having nothing whatever to do with authentic liturgy among orthodox Catholics. Of course a bright and breezy African Chant and the rhythmic sway of Indian Chant have their right place, as do those of the Mozarabic Rite and the Byzantine Catholic Rites. Nonetheless, not every form of witness to Christ is acceptable to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church – irrespective of good intentions – and this is as true of New Rome and Third Rome as of papal Rome; indeed some forms of worship are sacrilegious not merely disobedient (which is, I suspect, the bottom line of BC’s and PriestPaul’s point).

  • Benedict Carter

    Are you really a Catholic?

  • NatOns

    Because so few have a secure grasp of the Sacrament or exposure to the doctrine that inform a well-formed conscience. And why do so few have this clarity and understanding; well, because their priests and catechists not longer teach it. Why then do they not teach this .. for the simple reason, few believe, endorse or even hold to such teaching.

    “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Rom 6 : 1-4.

  • fromphil2bobby

    Here, here, I couldn’t agree more, too much is missing of what to read you are so right LoccutuOP

  • fromphil2bobby

    Because the majority of children being Baptised, their parents only bring them back to church a couple of times after that, it maybe one or two weeks after they have theirs babies Baptised but, they come no more, that is what Pope Francis means. And that is a fact.

  • fromphil2bobby

    That is not true actually NatOns, the parish where I come from our parish priest runs two parishes on his own and there are Baptismal classes for parents, God Parents to keep families up to date and very involved with what is going on so, in that direction the parents and God parents are responsible as to if they attend, more often than not they don’t so it is all a waste of time for the priest or deacon whoever is to baptise and they are not allowed to turn them away, they are rules given by the Archbishop.

  • $27740841

    Is this part of the ‘New Evangelisation’ then, suggesting that Catholics leave the Church? Aren’t enough Catholics falling away from the Church already?

  • fromphil2bobby

    He is a good pope this man, very much for the people, very much that is what the church needs.

  • mikethelionheart

    What better way or time to do it than whilst working?

  • ZuZuLamarr

    Setting a good example would get this gig off to a flying start!

  • ZuZuLamarr

    Heck, Philomena! I’d HATE to be in your parish or diocese. They read to me like bunch of pathetic clock-on clock-off catholics (I use small-”c” deliberately)!

    But, like fungal nail infection, the deadly sin of Sloth has been spreading to many a parish since the distortion and abuse of the true teaching of Vatican II. Pope Benedict XVI mixed the solution to treat this infection and Pope Francis is now administering the medicine. It ain’t pleasant. It’s guaranteed to make us jump from our pews with a rocket up our proverbial posteriors!

    Believe it! This pope ain’t fluffy. He means business. Just like Benedict XVI.

    Can I ask you something?

    Does learning about one’s faith stop at the priest, deacon or what, Philomena?

    Answer: No.
    Shucks. You’re shocked! You’re affronted!

    Blessed John Henry Newman recommends a well-educated * insert wiggle fingers here* laity!

    For the love of All That Is Holy, there is the internet, good Catholic reading, online stores and sites at our fingertips (find out the ones true to the Magisterium – accept NO imitations) where you can dip in and out (instead of looking at kittens hissing at their own reflections in the mirror).
    I’m pretty sure that your parish priest will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
    Guaranteed … or your apathy back.

    Unfortunately, there are those in the *laity* who spout about getting more people involved in the church/parish… whilst they themselves sit on their fat behinds and let those who answer the call do the answering and burn out in the process. Believe me! I’ve seen it and witnessed the distress of many a parish priest at this peeing-in-the-wind. It ain’t pleasant to watch but, then again, you probably can’t wait to shoot home and strain the spuds for the Sunday din-dins.
    Here’s a wee taste of what we’re talking about:
    There was a guy who worked at a quarry during the Second World War in Poland. He used to read up on his faith during break times. His original name was Karol Jozef Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, now Blessed.
    There was a clerical worker who became associated with the Legion of Mary – Founded by the Venerable Frank Duff and one of his most famous members was the clerical worker, the Venerable Edel Quinn.
    We are not going to bash bibles (that is sacrilege, if taken literally) and quote chapter and verse like an iApp in the workplace.
    That’s not what Pope Francis is on about.
    Our conduct in life, how we set a good example as well as being well read on well-documented, authentic knowledge of Our Faith when faced by a batter of abuse, ribbing and ridicule in the workplace IS Evangelisation.

  • paulpriest

    Philomena sweetness – have you ever heard of the council of Trent? And the criteria for Baptism?

  • Julian Lord

    It would be nice if the Catholic Herald always provided a link to the
    full transcripts so that we can sum up what the Pope says on our own

    No such full transcripts of these off-the-cuff weekday homilies exist.

  • Julian Lord

    A poorly-aimed rant, ZuZu, though it’s hard to disagree with the zeal that motivated it.

    I doubt that any parish in the world, outside Vatican City, is deprived of the sorts of “cultural catholics” being discussed, and this would include very much doubting that these might be absent from your own local parish.

  • Julian Lord

    we need to learn who we are and why

    With all respect, paul, this is a major purpose of the New Evangelisation in the first place !!!

  • NatOns

    If the parents and god-parents do not attend Mass, have no real intention to do so, and have no idea why their child needs the Sacrament of Baptism .. well, PC, these are the very souls who most stand in need of the very basic instruction on Christian Faith – let alone why the Catholic Church requires their commitment to live it, not just a drive-thru occasional appearance.

    The Parish Priest (even if he must care for the souls of more than one parish) is the bishop’s representative among the Catholic souls under his charge .. and for the instruction of those who so gravely need to understand their catechism – and the Faith.

    He does not have to take the catechism class himself, nor need an assistant priest or deacon, for a religious sister or a well-trained teacher/ instructor can help .. under careful supervision.

    Conversion to Christ is not just for non-Catholics to seek out Catholicism, it is a daily reality for every Catholic .. and always has been. Why we need to convert – from sin to Christ – is not an optional extra in teaching the Faith: it is at the heart of the Faith, and required of all mankind. And for this end each Catholic – good, bad or indifferent – needs to know its great importance to every soul; and that, as its foundation, is what evangelisation means .. witnessing to the world-changing importance of Jesus Christ (if only in words, actions, or prayers).

  • Benedict Carter

    Rorate Caeli is as usual ahead of the game on this. The Vatican is for some reason not making full transcipts available.

  • Benedict Carter

    Agreed Paul.

  • paulpriest

    Yes but unfortunately it’s sadly more a ‘vanity exercise’ than evangelisation. Rather than the message of the Gospel being spread – with a call to conversion – it’s a ‘join the Catholics – we’re great! Look at all the famous people who were Catholics – look how nice and smiley and friendly and trendy we are’
    To Love and Serve God requires the pre-requisite of to Know God – and doctrine, morality, history and spirituality are being diminished by promotion of some awkward socio-cultural identity – like we’re the young conservatives or the Duke of Edinburgh scheme!

  • LocutusOP

    Then they should do away with any quotations. We can’t rely on a few quotes properly conveying the message.

    There is far too much misinformation going around.

  • ZuZuLamarr

    Hecky, Jabba! I appear to be ranting a lot lately. Apologies. ‘must be something in the tea…

    OK, my rant was a bit much but PC’s scenario has been played out for many years (especially since Vatican II) in many parishes, including my own … and the joke is wearing thin and I would like to consider it well and truly…over.
    How can I stand by and not feel sadness and frustration when I witness my parish priest come close to tears at occasions which should be a source of joy and consolation to him and our parish? Why? The solemn celebration of baptism, confirmation and holy communion in the last few years being hijacked by people who showboat, dress disrespectfully and use the sacred occasion like a location shoot by someone of the calibre of Ricky Gervais… and do we see them darken a church door again? Rarely, it has to be said.

    The Glumdums Syndrome kicks in.

    The piety shop is woefully inadequate, practically on the verge of disgraceful and run by someone who doesn’t like to be told what to do by anyone. The Missals for First Holy Communion have not been replaced by anything from the new translation… and that was back in 2011! I’m sure it doesn’t take much effort to put the old books into the shredder or the paper recycling and replace them with something up-to-date?
    You can bet a penny chew to a bag of gobstoppers that if you approach said person about the out-of-date stuff on sale, they would shout you down and say that they have other things to do besides that… and other excuses.
    The *wiggle fingers* laity put their own interests and home matters before that of their parish.
    Which is why the majority of the work tendered to the laity is done by the burnt-out, knackered few!
    Pope Francis is only stating the obvious by doing some straight-talking to US!
    Hence, the rant – however off-kilter it was.

  • Julian Lord

    The solemn celebration of baptism, confirmation and holy communion in the last few years being hijacked by people who showboat, dress disrespectfully and use the sacred occasion like a location shoot by someone of the calibre of Ricky Gervais… and do we see them darken a church door again? Rarely, it has to be said

    ewwww — we really don’t have to put up with that sort of thing down here.

    Our own church has a separate Baptistery shrine outside of the sacred space of the church proper, which is used in a very low-key manner outside the Mass for the baptisms of the children of those sorts who are not church-goers (as well, it has to be said, of those who are not French speakers, and may desire a specific baptismal ritual in another language) ; and even these sorts of baptisms are officially frowned upon by the French Bishops … who have been positively teaching for over a decade now that infant baptism must absolutely be accompanied with a manifest commitment towards Catholic teaching by parents and godparents.

    I think the POV of the French Bishops is that in such cases of severe doubts that Catholic teaching will be provided at home, then the Baptism should be conditional on the child’s joining a parish Catechism group, and therefore delayed until the priest shall be satisfied that the Catholic instruction is in fact being provided to that child.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    Catholic Herald, please oblige, if it could be done.


  • An onlooker

    I wonder how many people who come to this site looking for Christ have been DE-evangelised by the self-justifying hatred that emanates from so many of the comments.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    Is it an evangelisation effort by those who are not evangelised and who don’t want to acknowledge that they are not evangelised and yet feel they too have to go with the trend? Or is it that the Official Church broadminded as she is to cares for everybody and makes a provision for those who cannot afford the way Jesus the Lord and his Apostles did the work of the Father in Heaven? In any case let everybody do what he can and those who don’t want join this ‘Can’ group feel free to join the ‘cannot’ group who want therefore to depend upon the Lord himsef to do the work through them what they cannot on their own. Thus we have old and new evangelisation!

    Anybody knows what Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn says about it?

    Thomas Poovathinkal SSP