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Church must not close in on itself: Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY--Pope Francis warned the Catholic Church to not close in on itself at a Mass to mark Pentecost Sunday attended by more than 200,000 people, urging the faithful to be open and present in a new and changing world.

The Church should ask itself daily whether it is resisting new challenges and remaining “barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new,” he said.a

“Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control,” Francis said in his homily in front of a packed St. Peter's Square, adding that change can bring fulfillment.

The Pentecost Mass marks the day the Church says the Holy Spirit descended on Christ's apostles, or disciples, and is regarded as the birthday of the Church.

Francis warned of the threat of an institution which is “self-referential, closed in on herself,” and spoke of the courage to “take to the streets of the world” and reach “the very outskirts of existence.”

Later he toured the square in an open-top white vehicle, greeting cheering crowds and kissing young children.

Since his election in March as the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, Francis has been urging Church leaders to go out into their communities and help the poor and suffering, rather than focusing on internal politics.

Morale among the faithful has been hit by a widespread child sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests and in-fighting and careerism in the Church government or curia.

The 76-year-old former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has given clear signs he will bring a new broom to the papacy, favoring humility and simplicity over pomp and grandeur.

He has set up an advisory board of cardinals from around the world to help him reform a Vatican administration which has been held responsible for some of the mishaps and scandals that plagued the eight-year reign of his predecessor Benedict.

At a vigil on Saturday evening, Francis said Catholics must become courageous and seek out the people who need help the most rather than sitting around, dissecting theology.

May 20, 2013    billparkhurst@
If I didn't know better I would say this new pope is not Catholic...he is too original.
May 20, 2013    aa_b@
China could hardly admit the fact that world is completely different today than ever before. Global cooperation and openness is key towards economic boom and development. Technologies have even paved ways to link farthest regions and lubricate barriers of distance and borders thru enhance airways and railways. Cultures change as well taking examples the fortified Great Wall of China turned futile in the present times but indispensable structural defenses at that time. So, isn't still hard to grant religious freedom and belief in China as other country did? If not why?
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Pope Francis blesses a child as he leaves in his papamobile after the Holy mass with the ecclesial movements for Pentecost Sunday at St. Peter's square at the Vatican on Sunday, May 19.

(AFP)

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