Pope urges Church to imitate courageous witness of St John the Baptist

We must pray “for the grace not to become an ideological church”, Pope Francis said at Mass this morning.

Reflecting on the life of St John the Baptist, whose solemnity is observed today, the Pope said the Church’s duty was to hear the Word of Jesus and proclaim it boldly.

“That,” he said, “is the Church without ideologies, without a life of its own: the Church which is the mysterium lunae, which has light from her Bridegroom and diminish herself so that He may grow.”

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According to Vatican Radio, he added: “This is the model that John offers us today, for us and for the Church. A Church that is always at the service of the Word. A Church that never takes anything for herself. Today in prayer we asked for the grace of joy, we asked the Lord to cheer this Church in her service to the Word, to be the voice of this Word, preach this Word. We ask for the grace, the dignity of John, with no ideas of their own, without a Gospel taken as property, only one Church that indicates the Word, and this even to martyrdom. So be it!”

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, concelebrated the Mass in the chapel of the papal residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Priests and collaborators of the Pontifical Council, a group of employees of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology and a delegation from the Vatican’s Philatelic and Numismatic Office were also present.

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