Rorate Caeli

Buried beneath the headlines: Yesterday's homily by Pope Francis on proselytism and witness

With attention focused on the Pope's second interview, published yesterday, his more extended observations on "proselytism" versus "witness" given in yesterday's Mass with the Council of Cardinals were generally ignored. These remarks throw greater light on what he thinks of proselytism, and how he defines it in his mind. 


“Another spirit comes, that of that charity that suffers all, pardons all, that does not boast, that is humble, that doesn’t seek itself. Someone could say — and there are some philosophers that thing this way — that this is a humiliation of the majesty of man, of the greatness of man. This is sterile! The Church has wisely made this saint, humble, small, trusting in God, meek: she has made her the Patron of Missions.” ...

“The Church, Benedict XVI told us, does not grow through proselytism, it grows through attraction, through witness. And when the people see this witness of humility, of meekness, of mildness, they feel the need that the Prophet Zachariah spoke of: ‘We want to come with you.’ The people feel that need in the face of the witness of charity, of this humble charity, without bullying, not sufficient, humble. Worship and serve!” ...

“Today, here in the Vatican, begins the meeting with the Cardinal consulters, who are concelebrating the Mass. Let us ask the Lord that our work today will make us all more humble, more meek, more patient, more trusting in God, so that the Church can give a beautiful witness to the people, and seeing the People of God, seeing the Church, they might feel the desire to come with us.”

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