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Don’t be afraid to follow the Holy Spirit, Pope says at Pentecost Mass

By on Monday, 20 May 2013

Pope Francis greets a family during Pentecost Sunday Mass (AP)

Pope Francis greets a family during Pentecost Sunday Mass (AP)

Diversity is a blessing, but only when all Catholics recognise and follow Church teaching, Pope Francis has said.

“It is the Church which brings Christ to me and me to Christ; parallel journeys are dangerous,” he told some 200,000 members of Catholic lay movements and groups during a Pentecost Mass in St Peter’s Square.

“When we venture beyond the Church’s teaching and community, and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ,” he said during his homily at the Mass yesterday, concluding a weekend dedicated to movements, including the Charismatic Renewal, Focolare movement, Neocatechumenal Way, Regnum Christi, Communion and Liberation and others.

Pope Francis said Church leaders and members need to allow the Holy Spirit to inspire different movements and gifts within the Church, but also to allow the Holy Spirit to unite them all in one Church under the authority of their pastors.

“Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity while at the same time building unity,” the Pope said. “When we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and unique, we bring division.”

On the other hand, he said, “when we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardisation”.

The Pope said the Holy Spirit can appear “to create disorder in the Church” by bringing such different gifts to its members, but when everyone allows themselves to be guided by the Spirit, they learn to treasure variety rather than letting it become a source of conflict.

The Holy Spirit can make people uncomfortable, Pope Francis said. “Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we are the ones who build, program and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences.”

The spiritual journey is no different, he said. “We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind all our too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own.”

Seeking the newness God’s offers through the Holy Spirit “is not a question of novelty for novelty’s sake, the search for something new to relieve our boredom, as is so often the case in our own day,” he said. “The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfillment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good.”

  • A Bristolian

    This was addressed, amongst others, to members of the Neocatechumenal way, who have so often been accused of creating ‘disorder in the Church’ …….’but when everyone allows themselves to be guided by the Spirit, they learn to treasure variety rather than letting it become a source of conflict.’


    Pope Frances is a true insparation and example of the holy spirits gift to us Catholics and the world alike.

  • OPN

    I note that it is ironic that he has said this to those in Catholic Charismatic Renewal. I know many solid Catholics from the charismatic renewal, but it is also true to say that some charismatic leaders deny complete Church teaching by avoiding Mary, not understanding the concept of God’s providence when charging fixed fees for conferences, booking protestant speakers, and teaching about a protestantised view of charismatic renewal without speaking about the Catholic faith.

    Myles Dempsey as a charismatic leader remained true to the centre of the Catholic faith in his work, but this cannot be said about some of the other leaders who skirt around the edges of the Catholic faith and meddle with Protestantism.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    I have a feeling Neocat. way is too much closed on to itself. May be I am wrong.


  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    “……parallel journeys are dangerous,”

    Non Christian religions go more or less parallel to the Way of Christ (except perhaps those few which function as enemy of Christ the Lord) BUT on a mystical level.

    For Christ the Lord to outshine on historical level all non Christian religions without any exception, the only way is PROMOTION and EXERCISE of APOSTLESHIP in the Church. This is exactly what the Lord has been doing in his earthly days : just to start with look at the seventy two Disciples the Lord promoted to proclaim his WORD accompanied by the SINGS OF his KINGDOM.

    Jesus the Lord promoted many to APOSTLESHIP after the pattern of his original Twelve Apostles. Without PROMOTION and EXERCISE of APOSTLESHIP the historical relevance of the Lord’s entry into our human family was nullified and the decay and death of the Church started when Pagans took over and did away with APOSTLESHIP.

    APOSTLES only are empowered, and not leaders, to proclaim GOD’S WORD to bring in salvation in Christ the Lord. Here the Spirit of Jesus the Lord is EVERYTHING. The APOSTLES are only the humble executives of the Spirit of Jesus the Lord.

    Seeing how APOSTLESHIP will be done away with by worldly wise men after the pagan take over of his Church, the Lord had said, “Will there be faith left on earth when the son of man comes back?”

    Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    (to be edited if needed when facilities are provided)

  • Charles Martel

    With the greatest respect, Holy Father, this is rather fuzzy stuff. The Holy Ghost inspires “newness”, so obviously there’s no room for “oldness”. Oldness seems to be a product of fear, so as long as you’re doing new stuff, at least you’re on the right track. Some way to go yet till the SSPX regularisation, I fear.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    The wise man brings out old and new from his store house, who said that?


  • Julian Lord

    Whichever spirit leads to any rebellions, heresies, apostasies, disorder, or disobedience is not from the Lord.

  • NatOns

    I suspect the SSPX – and the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church in general – could do quite nicely with a hefty gust from the Spirit blowing away the appalling ‘spirit of Vat-II ideology’ covering for the Age of Aquarius thinking that still prevails .. even at the Vatican. And while He is at it, the Holy Ghost might take another timely blast at the self-satisfied attitudes pervading the tradition-for-tradition’s-sake mob, who joyfully promote Sede Vacante error and even for those who advance the more ordinary yet equally false opinion that older than 1960 is Good, newer than 1960 is Bad. Nonetheless, the Lord our God, Father, Son and Spirit has been steadily at work among His people, for He still breathes, enlivens and guides souls to serve His Church well in loyalty to the Faith He inspires .. not leaving us to flounder under the disobedience of the Prince of this world and his abounding followers.

    One such faithful soul, young Shawn Tribe, is ‘retiring’ (i.e. stepping aside) from his long time inspired and inspiring e-world witness in the blogoshpere .. please God may his work continue to be blessed and bring ever greater blessing to the whole Church, not least in the work that remains to be done for the renewal of the Divine Liturgy – and his wonderful colleagues at NLM seem blessedly determined so to continue.

  • aspiring lay capuchin

    what a wonderful message. I will try to get the full message on youtube or or on the vatican website.

  • aspiring lay capuchin

    After reading this summary, they should read the full text on and also on the same website watch the vimeo video of Pope Francis off the cuff explanation/answers to questions put to him. 38minutes of absolute brillance delivered in a robust voice. A very powerful message from an energetic and brilliant amn giving his personal testimony of his faith, evangelisation, our treatment of the poor etc.

  • Erin Pascal

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful message from the Pope. His words are always full of hope and inspiration. I am deeply moved by his words, “The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfillment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good.”

  • Julian Lord

    There’s the talk in Italian here, for those who know the language :

  • Meditatio Divina

    “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Ephesians 6:10
    The context teaches us that the words have reference to Christian conflict in relation to our great adversary Satan and spiritual wickedness in high places. These words point to that step which is preliminary to successful warfare. Before the foe can be encountered the right position must BE TAKEN. We must be entrenched in the STRENGTH of THE LORD. We must be enclosed in the power of His might or His energy. It is in vain we engage in the conflict if that preliminary condition has not been fulfilled. In earthly warfare soldier does not provide his own weapons. So in Christian conflict our whole EQUIPMENT is divinely provided for us. HE gives us a position that is impregnable – strength in the Lord, an armour that is impenetrable and a weapon that is infallible – THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT. We have by faith to take that position and continually to abide in it. We have by Faith to put on that armour and wear it continually.
    Further reading and meditation: Matthew 4:4,7,10 and Matthew 24:35

    In the newness of Christ there is love, in the love of Christ there is life, in the life of Christ there is truth and in the truth of Christ there is peace.

  • Timotheos

    Pope Frances? Inspired spelling. We’ve all heard of the mythical ‘Pope Joan’. Here perhaps is another mythical ‘pope’ – with his fuzzy creed of ‘newness’ from which anyone can derive any meaning that suits them.

  • creativechar

    Well said Erin.